Dear Children of America,
Last night’s election did not go as expected, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are many strong responses to Donald Trump’s win and Hillary Clinton’s loss. Some of you have parents and grandparents who are crying in sadness about the outcome, and some of you have parents and grandparents who are celebrating and rejoicing.
It must feel confusing to see such different reactions by your grown-ups to the election, because we all live in the same country, and it’s hard to imagine that our friends and neighbors may want such different things than we do.
First, it is important for you to know that you are going to be okay. Our country is a democracy, and that means we honor the election process. Even those who do not like the candidate that won will still support a peaceful transition of power. You are safe; we will continue to keep you safe.
Some people may try to teach you to hate those who voted differently than they did. There is another path — a better path! — than making fun of those who voted for the other candidate. Here is your chance to make things better. Ask your grown-ups to teach you WHY someone might have felt so differently about the issues. The ability to see things from someone else’s point of view is called empathy, and it is the antidote to hate.
When you ask why so many people voted for the other candidate, don’t accept an answer such as, “Because they are idiots.” Instead, push back, and ask your grownups for more help in understanding what is happening in the day-to-day lives of other people.
You will see that most people simply want what is best for their families, for their children, and for their country. But the problem is that we all have very different ideas about what that means. Some people are so scared of losing what they have that they look for someone to blame when things aren’t going well. This isn’t the answer to making things better. We are stronger together, and we need to work to improve the lives of everyone equally.
If you can learn to replace hate and fear with empathy and compassion, you will be the light that leads us back together. It is hard work to run a country. It is hard work to speak for those you love as well as those you dislike, but the job of a hero is to find the light in a dark time, to avoid the pitfalls of bias and discrimination. Keep talking, keep using your voice, keep looking out for those who need your extra strength.
You are our nation’s children, and you are good people. You deserve to make up your own minds about the issues facing our country. You can do it! We grownups need to do a better job of teaching you how to evaluate your choices; how to use critical thinking in your schoolwork, so that you can use it in your lives when you grow up.
You are learning what it means to live in a democracy, where we have a new opportunity every four years. We take the long view, and we will work together to protect your rights.
You are special. You are important. You are valued. These fundamental rights of yours do not depend on your skin color, gender, size, sexual orientation, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, religion, nationality, ethnicity, financial status, or educational status. You deserve to be treated with respect.
Superheroes come in every color, every gender, every size, and every nationality. A true superhero works to protect and save all of us, and that is what YOU can do. Let’s get to work. Kids, you will move mountains.
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