Every President in my era of life (1976 til now) has been bad!
Here’s my logic: They all wove dreams from their intelligence then left us lonelier than ever. Except Bush two. He wasn’t what I’d describe as intelligent. We were all glad to see him gone. But this may be true for Obama, unfortunately.
I have only ever voted because the intelligent people that I have relationships with make it seem so important. I followed along because that was the ticket for joining the discussion even if I was apathetic. But from my perspective, casting a political vote has been like making a choice between Cats and The Lion King. Both are great shows that leave me emotionally lathered up. Then I go home to bed.
Perhaps this is the privilege of being a white, educated man. I can float for 40 unharmed years and live a good life despite poor choices and indifference to democracy.
But the wake-up call has arrived with a new President that has arrogantly usurped God with the audacity of Satan. Things I took for granted I can no longer take for granted. I am forced to get clear about my part as a conscious citizen. I have asked myself, ‘If I am in full support of taking a stand against discrimination and restriction of rights for all people, and in support of freedom of health choice, freedom of religion and gender equity, what do I do?’ The headlines scream atrocity, and for the first time in my life I actually have to determine how I feel about it.
There was time in the car on the way to school one morning when both my oldest daughter Ella and son Lucan began talking trash about Trump. One of the things I want for my children is for them to develop their own values and beliefs without feeling they must match mine or their mom’s or anyone. Their mimicked behavior arrived from exposure to adults who chose to not speak in code. It bothered me.
My best reply was that ‘I wasn’t going to be voting for him, but a lot of other people will and they have their reason.’ My worst reply was ‘Don’t believe everything you hear adults say.’
Months later, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Now, I’m okay with telling my children, ‘Yep, Trump is a bad person.’ If pressed, I’d be honest in telling it straight. ‘He hurts women. He lies. He is a name caller. He lacks empathy.’ My daughter is 8 years old. She’ll understand.
In coming to this conclusion, I have realized that my vote is for my daughters. I have learned from my life that we either learn our lessons now, or we learn them later, or we pass it on. My biggest fear is passing it on. The time has come… “Later” is “Now.” If I sit through these next four years I’ll be passing it on. No can do.
Besides already having this conversation with the mother of my children, my first action will be to hold my daughter’s hand and begin an age appropriate dialog about what is happening about *some* of the current events.
This Saturday, Ella and I (and Virginia) will attend the Planned Parenthood rally. I want Ella to understand that Planned Parenthood is essential for health care.
I won’t talk of things like birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, woman’s exams and probably a lot more I don’t know about. But I will let her know that important health care provisions that have been in place for a long time would no longer be accessible to millions of (mostly low income) people who rely on it within their communities. I will try my best to explain that folks who already face barriers for getting care, especially people of color and people in rural areas, could face even more hurdles for healthy living.
Foremost, I’ll let her know that Planned Parenthood promotes basic reproductive health care. Fundamentally, I want her to understand that Planned Parenthood is on the side of women having the final choice about their body and Trump is trying to take that away.
This weekend, Ella is going to ask a lot of questions. I want to tell her that this is what freedom is… That this is what makes our country (theoretically) great… That we have the right to take responsibility for standing up to bad people when they make choices about what they think we can and cannot do with our bodies. It’s important to me that I, as her father, bring her here because she should always have the right to decide what choices she makes for her body. No one else. I want her to know I will always support her in that right and fight for it beside her.
It’s real to me now. Up until present day, I’ve barely given a shit. But I’ve just whispered ‘I love you’ into Ella’s ears as she closes her eyes for sleep. My promise as a parent has always been, “The buck stops with me.” This Saturday we both start a new chapter.