What I’m telling my sons today

I’m an academic at a private east coast university. It is no surprise that I am liberal and supported Hilary Clinton for president. I am also the father of two sons. My younger son is too young to have any idea what is going on, but throughout the campaign I’ve had to explain to my older son why one of the candidates has been mean and angry to a wide range of people.

Last night I went to bed around 9:45 when it was pretty clear NC and FL had been won by Mr. Trump. I was pretty sure that the election was over at that point. But I woke up very early this morning in part to try to think about how I was going to explain what happened to my older son. After thinking it over very carefully I settled on this.

Donald Trump won the election fair and square. People voted for him probably for a lot of reasons, but at least some of it is they think that the current people in charge don’t care about them or aren’t helping them enough. Trump said that he would do things to help them and they believed him. So more people voted for him and he is the president now.

Sometimes people who we disagree with are president. It hurts when the person you wanted didn’t win. I hope that Mr. Trump will take being president as the big responsibility it is and not do mean things to people who can’t protect themselves. I hope the he will find ways to help the people who voted for him and felt he could do that.

We can’t do anything about who won the election now. But there is something very important we can do. We can do our very best to be nice and respect everyone — no matter how different they are, how much or little power or money they have, no matter what they look like. That we can be nice to all the people we know. That we can spend our time, our advantage, our money and our effort trying to help those who have less time, advantage, money, or effort available to them. We can also work hard to keep using our voice to make it clear that we value government that is a benefit to everyone in our country and a place that other countries can respect. We shouldn’t be scared, we should be brave, and if the president or government does something we don’t like we should tell them about it and do whatever we can to change it.

And the great thing about our country is that in 4 years we can try again to elect someone who agrees more with what we think about the world and how the US should be run.

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