We’re hours away from a new President, and most of us are scared. Say what you want about either of them. I’m scared of anyone in power, really. I’m scared because people in power usually abuse it, even when they’re trying not to.
But more than fear of our next leader and their moves, I am scared that over the course of this campaign, we taught our children that fear and hatred were our main political tools.
This weekend, my eleven-year old niece visited me in Iowa. We picked up her best friend, another eleven-year old, and as we drove through the leaf covered streets, we sang Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and talked about school subjects. We went to the park, where the two young gals played on the merry go-round like they were seven years younger. We played in the yard; they ran and jumped into leaf piles like my tiny toddler. They were innocence, and they were light – still.
Until we found ourselves on street filled with signage. The house on the left was voting Trump and the house on the right was proclaiming Hillary. Yards told us who was who. Who we should love. Who we should fear. Who we should hate.
I strained to hear them talking, over the music. I didn’t want to turn it down; I didn’t want them to know I was tuned into them. I wanted to hear exactly what was happening inside of them.
My ears and my heart burned, as I listened to them repeat the things we’ve all been saying for months. He’s a monster, she’s a monster, we’re all screwed.
I dropped my head, keeping my eyes straight ahead. I was too heartbroken to approach them.
Someone is going to be sworn in here soon – and that someone will be human, and possibly too powerful while still too fragile – and right and wrong – and good and bad. They will have teams of people in front of, around, and behind them. They won’t rule our country alone. Maybe we shouldn’t be so scared of them?
We should step back, though, and take a look at ourselves, as we traversed this controversial time once again. It was an odd one, for sure – often, seemed almost fake, it was so absurd. But what did we teach our children while we attacked him? Attacked her? Attacked them?
We taught them hate. We wronged each other. And in the midst of that, we wronged our children. We should be ashamed.