Dear Future Daughter,
I want to start this letter off with this – please don’t ever believe you’re not worth something you want. You are SO worth it, no matter how many people want to tell you otherwise. Keep fighting, celebrate the small victories, and above all, stick to your beliefs.
Now, for my story. Our great country did something many people did not think was going to happen – it elected Donald Trump to be our 45th president. I know you know his name and have heard about the controversy over his election, but I want to give you my personal view on the situation – my side of the story.
At this moment in time, I am young. I am pretty new to voting (I have only voted in one other presidential election), and I am trying to learn as much as I can about politics. I actually am a volunteer with the Michigan Republican Party, and they offered me a job, but I turned it down (honestly, because I was afraid I wouldn’t support Donald Trump if he was the nominee and that they’d get mad at me). I was infatuated with Donald Trump the day he announced he was running for office. He was one of many candidates on the Republican side, and since I consider myself a Republican, I was curious about the support and excitement surrounding his campaign.
I let my curiosity take me to one of his early rallies in Michigan. Actually, I originally had gone as a joke – for truly entertainment purposes. Even then, though, I clearly remember telling grandma and grandpa “and just think, if all this hype about him is real, I might be seeing the future president of the United States speak”…
It was a joke. I thought I was funny. Turns out, the joke was on me.
His rally was as expected. People who boo’ed him were kicked out, there were a lot of USA chants, and I believe I counted 5 African-Americans total out of the hundreds in the crowd. I left feeling like while these people were very passionate, there was no way he would actually get the Republican nomination.
From that point on, I immersed myself in the other options for the Republican nominee. There is a great man out of Ohio (if you can believe that) named John Kasich, and I ended up voting for him in our primaries. I wasn’t sure he would win the nomination, but I liked his views and felt he was a respectable man.
As the polls came in, many of us were in disbelief. Donald Trump ended up winning the Republican nomination. Hillary Clinton won the democratic one (over a man named Bernie Sanders. His slogan was literally “feel the Bern”. I wish I could make this stuff up).
Thus began the circus. If I could show you some of the political posts people shared on their social media accounts, I think you would laugh. Or cry. Or both. I’m still not sure which I did more of.
There was quite a bit of hate. Lots and lots of name calling. The media was scrutinized for being biased and dishonest (and I had a hard time reading a lot of publications). Trump was a “racist, sexist, bigot whose supporters were a bunch of deplorables”, and Clinton was “a liar and murderer who needed to be put behind bars”.
Like I said, a circus. I still can’t believe that these were the 2 nominees America chose to represent our amazing country. When it came to the debates, I think the only things I really learned were that Hillary has great taste in pantsuits (if you’re into that kind of thing), and that Donald is basically unbearable to listen to with the sniffles.
As the election grew closer, I began to panic. Hillary was being reviewed by the FBI for an email scandal. Donald was backtracking on comments about sexual assault. I was being told a third party vote was a waste of my time and would not make a difference in the election. I was torn between being a moderate republican (one who truly believes in many, but not ALL, of the Republican policies) who absolutely hated the person Donald Trump was and disagreeing with almost every single one of Hillary Clinton’s policies. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
At this point in time, I thought about my future. I thought about the person I was, the person I am, and the person I wanted to become. I thought about the possibility of running for office myself one day, and I thought about the exact things I would say to you, my own daughter, when explaining my decision in this election.
It was at that time that I realized I could not truly justify casting my vote for a man who not only degrades women, but spreads hate and fear throughout the lives of so many people. I couldn’t do it. Even knowing that I didn’t agree with the policy issues Hillary Clinton believed in, at least she thought of me (and you, and all the other people in the world) as real, equal human beings. That alone was enough to sway my vote. And actually, it swayed a lot of my friends, too.
On November 9th, 2016, around 2:30 a.m., they announced Donald Trump as the victor. He was going to be our new president, and I wasn’t sure how that made me feel. On the one hand, I was happy that Republicans had a chance to try and change the country. But on the other, I was devastated that so many people looked up to a man who looked down on many of them. My devastation only grew as people took to social media to share their reactions…
Again, there was hate. Again, there was name calling. There were “losers” and “winners” and people taking it way too far. Disrespect to friends, to family, to our flag and our country seemed to be everywhere. It was a whirlwind of emotions and too much to keep up with. I was exhausted, we all were, and I felt this pit in my stomach that stuck with me all day. Although my party had “won”, I somehow felt like I, myself, had lost. Not because I voted for her, but because so many people were behaving in a way that I feared.
Donald Trump’s speech was very good. Hillary Clinton’s speech was very good. They both seemed to be joining forces to try to create a more united America. That was something I appreciated, if nothing else. And I was very hopeful that the people chose correctly and that time would allow the good to overcome the bad.
If there’s anything I want you, my own daughter, and the future of this great country, to learn, it’s this:
- Always treat people with respect, even when they are not respectful to you
- Believe in yourself and stand up for your beliefs (it may be harder than it seems)
- Do not hate, do not belittle. You don’t know the struggles other people face, or every reason for why they might do or believe in something
- Above all else, be an agent of change and positivity in a world where so many people want to complain and be negative. Be the sunlight. And shine as bright as you can.
I hope that as you learn about Donald Trump’s presidency, you can share this advice with your friends and classmates. I hope you can use the 2016 presidential election as a platform for inclusion and understanding between all people. And I hope that you grow up to be a very strong, independent, and capable young woman who can stand up to those who try to bring you down.
I’ll love you forever and will always be your biggest advocate.
All my heart,