Letters to My Daughters: 2016 Presidential Election

As I watched the election results unfold, I realized how different this election feels than any other election I’ve had the privilege of voting in.  To me, it felt like so much was riding on this.  All I could think about was that I have two little people that depend on me and someday they’re going to ask me about this historical election.  I wanted them to see my raw emotion and my initial reaction to this time.  What better way to do it than in words.

Dear little lady loves of my life:

You’re six and four and probably don’t realize the magnitude of the 2016 election yet, which is good.  It was hateful, disgusting, divisive, and something we shouldn’t be proud of.  In four, eight, twelve, and even sixteen years, four different terms from right now, we have no idea how this term will affect us, negatively or positively.  As an American woman who voted for Hillary Clinton, I was voting for basic human rights and equality, as she’s the candidate that I thought offered solutions, regardless of her flaws.  She was not the candidate who wanted to send illegal immigrants back to the country they left for reasons we hopefully never have to experience.  She was not the candidate who touted and bloviated racist, prejudiced, vile things about people of different races, cultures, gender or people that were just different than him.  In my opinion, she was the candidate who could finally bring us together again as an American people.  Well, kiddos, it wasn’t her time or our time.  While the election didn’t pan out the way I, along with many, many other Americans hoped, it happened for reasons I don’t know and can’t wrap my brain around at this point.  What my fellow people and I need to do is have an open mind, as hard as it may be, and not fuel the fire.

My candidate didn’t win, and for that, I’m sad.  I’m sad for the country, I’m sad for what it might mean for you, and I’m terrified of the unknown.  I am going to do my very best to go high (thanks, FLOTUS), because surprisingly, that matters more than people think.  I implore you and challenge you to do the same, and I will encourage it every chance I get.  When our candidate doesn’t win, and I promise you that it will happen, we don’t act petty, we don’t act hateful.  We need to be a part of the change.  You’ve heard me say many times that you shouldn’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.  Trust me; your actions will get more done than name-calling and mudslinging.

You may have heard of the word equality, it means people are treated equally, simple as that.  That shouldn’t be a republican or a democrat thing.  That’s being a good human being.  When you’re old enough to read and understand this, I hope inequality is a thing of the past.  Regardless of how this election ended up, I’m going to still fight for that.  I’m going to fight for you two because until this is solved, you’ll be at a disadvantage simply because you’re girlies.  We are not that far removed from women not being able to vote and in even more recent history, women being punished in the workplace for simply being pregnant.  And that’s just equality for women, if you throw in different races or cultures, it’s even more horrible.  I don’t want you to have to be a part of it.  This is why I voted the way I did.  I hope and pray that our new president-elect understands the importance of this.

As painful as it is, I’m going to try to do the right thing and give our new president-elect a chance.  I’m guessing that is going to be incredibly difficult because I can’t support his views or opinions.  I’m hoping that he proves me wrong.  For the last eight somewhat progressive years, we’ve heard, “he isn’t my president.”  Well, that isn’t true and I’ve spoken loudly about that.  Now, I must heed my own words and understand that it goes both ways.  Like I said, it’s going to hard, very hard, but there’s no sense in encouraging the divide.

This, my darlings, is how democracy works.  Sometimes you like the choice and sometimes you don’t.  Perfection will never be on the ballot.  Regardless, you move forward.  It doesn’t mean that you don’t say a word and just get in line.  If your first choice isn’t the president-elect, then you work hard to see the changes you’d like to see.

Perhaps it’s advice or perhaps it’s a version of a pep talk for myself, but here are some tips.  Stand up for what’s right.  Stand up for ALL people.  No matter what and no matter when.  It’s ok to disagree with people, still be respectful, and to be friends.

I truly hope that this letter to you beauties is just me being dramatic.  As I went to bed on election night realizing that my candidate did not win, I had some wild thoughts that I’m praying do not happen.  I hope we will not relive the bad parts of the 1960’s.  I hope we do not end up reliving or expanding the racist and sexist views of our nation’s shameful past.  I hope we have not taken a step back like it feels we have.  I hope that we will be treated as equals.  It is the unknown that scares me into stomachache.  I hope and pray that I am overreacting and being dramatic.  I am hoping for progress, but we can’t just stand by and expect it to happen.

Every ounce of my love,

Your loving mommy who stood up for what she believed in because it’s the right thing to do


Dawn Palumbo is passionate about life and the ability to love the people around her. She is the loving mother of two wonderful girls. In her spare time, you can find her making someone smile. Namely, her girls.

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