Ever since she was little, I have tried hard to make sure that Grace makes her own mind up about people – the ones who are directly involved with her, the ones who might influence her life and those extending into positions of power. I have never forced my opinion on her and made sure that I asked her open questions so that she could explore things for herself.
With all this in mind, however, what I have done is make sure that she knows right from wrong. That racism is wrong despite the American election result today. That sexism is wrong despite the fact that the now President of the USA is clearly misogynistic. That homophobia is wrong despite Trump’s opposition to marriage equality. That insulting people with disabilities is wrong despite the fact that Trump makes fun of them. That sexual assault comes in many forms and is wrong, despite the fact that it has been clearly overlooked in the result of this election that the now ‘leader of the free world’ has done it without any shame. And, finally, getting away with it is wrong, despite the fact that this poor excuse for a man seems to have done just that.
People like this shouldn’t be rewarded. Yet, Trump has been by being given the most powerful position in the world. I don’t care whether or not he has an amazing business acumen – from what I have seen most of that is because of his father. I don’t care that he has billions of dollars. Why should people like this get away with it?
Grace was genuinely concerned yesterday when she saw that he could win. ‘He’d better not,’ she said ‘I will be SO angry’. True to her word, there she was on the sofa at breakfast this morning, watching Trump speak, and she had a face like thunder. All I could imagine, as I saw Trump walk to the podium, was the Imperial March from Star Wars.
Grace is one of those people who will stand up for what she believes in and not necessarily follow the crowd. When a child at school got called ‘nit girl’ she defended them. When one of her friends told her that she was worried about being bullied for being fat, she helped them. When there are children who appear sad because no one is playing with them, she will include them. When she sees that the most popular girl in class is spiteful, she won’t follow suit.
What we need to make sure of is that our children are the change we want to see in the world. That it is not OK to be mean and nasty and use power to get what they want. That kindness, understanding and firmly standing your ground with a strong opinion is the best way forward.
Yes, we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. But to what extent? I am very much a ‘live and let live’ person. I, for one, will try my best to use what has happened today as a teaching tool for my daughter. To help and guide her. Whilst I remain angry and shocked at today, I hope that history will either prove me wrong or it will learn from this mistake. I just hope it doesn’t come at too high a cost.