This has been an unparalleled election season. Like more than 50% of Americans, I anticipated a different outcome.
As the victor became clear, my first thoughts were of my children and my fears about how the policies of our new president would affect them in years to come. After taking time to process my own response, I composed and sent the following letter to my children on Wednesday morning, November 10. I shared it with a few close friends who urged me to post it on my blog.
I hope it is helpful.
Dear Oliver, Kalie and Quincy,
Perhaps I should have had this letter ready to go first thing this morning or even last night. However I, like many, failed to recognize the profound disillusionment and disenfranchisement experienced by so many Americans who seem to have voted for a political outsider who filled the campaign trail with rallying rhetoric and promises of a better life. I'm no political expert...and I don't fully understand what happened in this election. What I do know is that we are profoundly lucky in our lives, which makes it is easy for us to trust a system that, although flawed, has served us – or at least not betrayed us.
Democracy…so central to our freedom in this great country…requires dialogue, compromise and commitment to ideals of unity, not division. Let's work to hold our elected officials to that standard and hope that the mandate for reform will push collaboration and not obstruction. We must stand with the groups that have been victimized and marginalized by Trump on the campaign trail. As Jews, and as human beings, we cannot stand by or fail to speak up for women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, those with disabilities, immigrants, veterans and other minority groups.
As I face this new day...one I could not have imagined...one that fills me with fear...I am also thinking about tomorrow.
I have lived my life motivated and mobilized by anxiety and fear rather than paralyzed by them. That approach is intentional and reflects my values. It is a volitional choice I have made, and I have worked hard to model this to the three of you because anxiety, fear, disappointment and rejection are part of life. It is not realistic to eliminate them, but it is empowering to learn how to use them to help us grow and change. Resilience is key...and challenging times like this are tests of our grit and our resolve, and we will persevere.
This is a moment where despite my fear, despite my anxiety, and despite my profound sense of despair, I am going to find a way to mobilize and reengage and be part of the solution. I want to do whatever it will take to heal our country, because the vast divide that has been identified and highlighted by this election cycle is ultimately destructive and dangerous for America.
I encourage you today to take the time you need to grieve and to mourn. I feel your pain and wish I could hold you all in my arms. But tomorrow, I encourage you to awake with a renewed commitment to being citizens of this country and citizens of this world.
This will manifest differently for all of us. You get to decide how to use your spheres of influence...you get to choose how you can make your mark...what you will do...what you will say. There is no right way, nor is there only one way. But promise me that despair won't win the day...that apathy won't be victorious...that hate won't prevail. Find your path...continue to be engaged members of your community in whatever ways you define them.
I need you to know that I am beyond proud of the three of you. You are the greatest joys in my life. I know that you are fundamentally engaged, responsive, committed people who are going to be part of the solutions in this country.
Today we mourn. Tomorrow we recommit to Tikkun Olam...healing our world.
I love you beyond measure.