This week, the U.S. elected a new president, and it wasn't the one people expected. When we reached out to writers to describe how they were processing the new reality of a President-Elect Donald Trump, they responded with one very clear shared concern: As a parent, how can I possibly make sense of this to my children?
Writers Manuel Gonzales, Mira Jacob, Nicole Chung and Saladin Ahmed — each of them with reason to worry that living in this country might soon become more frightening for their children — approached that question with grace and wisdom. Here's what they had to say:
"I Will Teach My Children To Survive The New America" by Manuel Gonzales
"Their lives, their survival, their successes — I need to make them understand that these things are inevitable, not because I know them to be inevitable or even because I believe the simple act of believing in your own inevitability will by itself win the day, but because being armed with my own sense of my own inevitability is how I have pushed my way through this world, not so much against the odds, but completely ignorant of the odds, and it seems that they should be also armed."
"Here is what I would tell you if you were older: This moment is like nothing else and like many things we have lived through before. It is the culmination of the last 18 months, yes, but also the flesh and blood materialization of a shadow that dogged the entire Obama presidency, a by-product of the righteous anger we’ve nurtured since 9/11, and tangible evidence — as if we needed more — that America does not yet know how to love and value its people of color, its immigrants, its Muslims, its disabled, its women. It is a gash in a building that becomes a second gash in another building that becomes a rumbling that will send you to your knees on the street."
"Though the outcome of the election was in little doubt by midnight, I stayed up until nearly 4 in the morning, reading the first postmortems alongside texts from friends and desperately trying to cobble together what to say to my older child, come daylight. What I kept coming back to, over and over, seemed too devastating to tell an innocent and hopeful 8-year-old: I thought we were better than this. I was wrong."