I've seen lots of posts about how you explain the election of Donald Trump to your daughter. I'm just not sure what all the anxiety is about.
I say this as a man who didn't like Trump, who didn't vote for Trump, whose wife probably didn't vote for Trump, and whose daughter cried when told "the girl" didn't win. All three of my kids voted for Hillary Clinton in their class' mock election.
So I write this not from the Trump Train in some gloating fashion but with honest and open eyes.
How do you explain this to your daughter? First, it might help if we stopped defining every single life event as if it was the apocalypse. Not every election is the "most important one of our generation," even though someone inevitably trots that out ever stinking year. How am I explaining it? Like I would any election. As this post from Popehat.com suggests: We move on. (Seriously, read the linked article, its awesome).
Elections are won and lost for lots of reasons. I'm firmly in the camp that believes this election was lost when Clinton put half of Trump's voters in a "basket of deplorables." You can argue the truth there. Some of his supporters are certainly racist. He appears to be a misogynist. No matter. You aren't likely to rally voters to your cause by calling his names. And worst, and what I think happened, is that she gave them a badge of honor and fired them up. Its why you see the high rural area turnout. The left prides itself on empathy, but all too often its an in-group empathy. One that feels only for certain poor people, focusing on inner-city poor while mocking the rural poor. Its how you get people who would never permit name calling in other situations referring to a group as "uneducated red necks."
Coupled with low turnout for her and there you have it folks: President-Elect Trump.
That is a lot for a five-year-old to take in. I realize that. But its reality. Sometimes good people do bad things with the best intentions. Sometimes bad people do good things. Electing Hillary Clinton, who appears in her actions and need for secrecy to share lots with another former president: Richard Nixon, was no promise things would be delightful. Thomas Jefferson, arguably one of the greatest thinkers and founding fathers (and my favorite) held slaves while arguing passionately about the immorality of that practice. The same Dems who loved Bill Clinton now often blame many of his policies for the economic collapse.
But this isn't bad policy. We are talking illegal and immoral here, aren't we. Well, arguably, at best, only two of our last 5 presidents hasn't done something pretty awful on that point either. Bush II arguably lied about the need to invade Iraq. Clinton had his assorted scandals, assaults and alleged rape. Reagan had the Iran-Contra issue. Bush I comes off relatively clean, I suppose. He did have Dan Quale as VP. Obama has Syria and Lybia. You can put them in the "pretty awful" category, and they both are, but I'm not sure they rise to the level of the other scandals; all those are borderline illegal or violate the constitutional. It wasn't so long ago that we were locking up U.S. citizens in concentration camps based on their nationality during WWII.
So yes, we elected Trump; Trump the Democrat who was friends with the Clintons until he was a Republican nominee who wanted to lock her up, until he was President-Elect Trump who said we owed her a great debt for her service. Maybe he will work out, maybe he won't. Personally I think its 60-40 that he won't. But we have had awful people do awful things as president before and survived. You don't have to like the president the person. You don't even have to like him to recognize the good things he or (someday soon) she, does. We are still the country that elected Barak Obama not once but twice.
On last note that might help you explain: We have a very strong system. A system designed to weather these storms and one that has weathered worst in the past. If you think the country or life is over because we elected Trump Tuesday, then you really don't believe in that system, you believe in the cult of personality of the presidency.
So, dear Sadie, or Judy, or Emily, I may think Trump is not a nice man, but that doesn't mean he won't be a good president, or do good things. He won't do anything to you. And I know its confusing, but sometimes good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Its one reason why you can't be quick to judge people.
You celebrate the good and you fight the bad and that doesn't change regardless of who we elect. And always remember, the good old days weren't always good, and tomorrow isn't as bad as it seems.