Roxanne Beckford Hoge
Donald J. Trump is now President Elect of the United States. Across the country, people reacted by asking, "what should I tell my children?"
Tuesday night was the 45th time America elected a brand new president. Partly due to the insular nature of our life in Los Angeles (and now for you, C, in another blue state), the election of Donald Trump was shocking and unimaginable. For you, I understand. The vast majority of people ages 18-25 voted for Hillary Clinton, as did the vast majority of people we live near and with. You (and/or your friends) may be sad, anxious, worried, thinking something is wrong. Adults have taken to social media to pen missives to their children, so I suppose it’s my duty to do the same.
First of all, your sisters, who are in 6th grade, know as much as any elementary kid should know – our country has elections for President every four years (senators every 6 and congressmen every 2) and there are two main parties who each field a candidate and at the end of the day, in our representative republic, one of those people and parties wins. One loses. Then we have a peaceful transfer of power. That’s all young kids should know. My job as a parent is not to visit my fears – any of them, no matter how real they may be to me or my friends – upon them. You are old enough to understand more. Here are the ten most important things to know about this election:
1. It’s over.
Weeping people are circulating petitions to encourage electors to abandon their duty and vote instead for Hillary Clinton, who they keep pointing out, “won the popular vote”! Well, as of this hour, she is ahead in the yet-to-be-completed count. By 500,000 votes. Out of 120,000,000 – do the math. It’s not a big number. (For perspective, Gary Johnson got 4,042,291 votes.) America has an electoral college partly to escape the tyranny of the majority. By the way, in the recently completed World Series (of baseball), both teams scored the same amount of runs. But the Cubs won in the way that counts. So did Donald Trump. Changing the rules after the game has been won is, well, tacky. Even a bastion of the left, Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times, says, “accept the inevitable.”
“Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” – President Obama to House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, January 23, 2009. Tis true.
2. Some people are conservative.
The wrongly-attributed-to-Churchill quote is apt here, “If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.” But our American political system (and many others) has two sides – one is left, or liberal, and the other is right, or conservative. There are good arguments on both sides. The simplest reduction of their philosophies is that the left believes a central government is the answer to all problems, and that the right believes that the less government involved, the better. Conservatives believe in constitutional government (one which does the tasks enumerated for it in the founding docs, and all others being reserved for the states), the rule of law, national security and unfettering our economy. The people who voted for Donald Trump voted for those things. By the way, we have a secret ballot in this country. Don’t assume the people around you voted your way. Be polite.
3. Only Hitler is Hitler.
Guess what? Every Republican president has been called Hitler since, well, Hitler. Remember the boy who cried wolf? Hitler was a National Socialist (not right wing) and exterminated millions of people. You can think your political opponents are a**holes, but to equate them to evil incarnate is to lessen the chance that you’ll be taken seriously. Note that the even people who despise Hillary Clinton and think Obama has been a destructive force don’t call them Hitler. Corollary – Tuesday’s election was not even close to 9/11, and people who can’t differentiate their reactions to the two are fundamentally unserious, disturbed souls.
4. White people are people too.
The reason I’m fundamentally opposed to segregation and identity politics (where everyone gets put in a box – LGBT, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Women, etc) is not only that the goal of life should be togetherness and not separation, but because then life becomes a battle between the groups for scraps doled out to the loudest, angriest or most powerful. And if The Group is all that matters, it was just a matter of time before white people noticed that they were the only group not allowed to think of their self interest. Even that, however, is false. Want to talk demographics? It’s pretty racist to scream about Trump winning 59% of the white vote when every other group is expected to vote in lockstep, and does. It’s almost like only whites are allowed to think independently. Isn’t it strange that African Americans aren’t allowed to be pro-choice with their politics?
Check this out -- “… the white vote represented 72 percent of the vote in 2012, compared with just 70 percent in 2016; the black vote represented 12 percent in 2016, down from 13 percent in 2012; the Latino vote inched up to 11 percent of the electorate from 10 percent in 2012. Trump did better than Romney among Latinos (he lost them 65-29, compared with 71-27 for Romney) and blacks (lost 88-8, compared with 93-7 for Romney) and young people (lost 54-37, compared with 60-37).” And “Clinton held an 80-point advantage among blacks (88% to 8%) compared with Obama’s 87-point edge four years ago (93% to 6%). In 2008, Obama had a 91-point advantage among blacks.”
The United States is about 70% white – Obama needed whites to win too, because there are more of them in America than anyone else. By the way, lots of the electoral votes that Obama won, Clinton didn’t. Those places didn’t get Sudden Onset Racism. And people screaming that their loss is the “fault” of white people are racist demagogues. Which brings me to my next point.
5. Hillary Clinton sucked as a candidate.
There’s no polite way to say it. I can get the wailing and gnashing of teeth over losing the championship when you’re the 2016 Warriors, say. But to put up the 2016 Lakers against Lebron and go down in flames shouldn’t lead to much more than a shrug of the shoulders and resolve to find someone without a predisposition towards criminality to run next time. Hillary lost 10 million votes compared to Obama. She lost as much as Trump won. The article linked above, by a supporter of her politics, calls her inauthentic, untrustworthy, insincere, robotic, and more. That’s before it gets to the tactical errors her campaign made. It’s a failure of the media to let us know about the enthusiasm for Trump that has led to the shock so many felt Tuesday night. Be mad at them and at Hillary first.
6. Donald Trump isn’t racist, and neither is this country.
Yes, there are individual racists in this world. They can, by the way, be any colour. Newsflash – Koreans and Japanese people can hate each other with the heat of a thousand suns. Cubans have no lost love for Mexicans. There are still pockets of KKK in America. The Klan, by the way, were the bedfellows of the Democrat party. Martin Luther King was a Republican, and so was Abraham Lincoln. The giant of the Senate that the Clintons loved so dearly, Robert Byrd, was a Grand Poo Bah or Wizard or whatever the heck they call themselves. Let’s stipulate that 5% of the US population is raving racists of whatever stripe. That’s not enough to elect anyone. It wasn’t enough to stop President Obama. I’m also struck by the fact that there’s no actual evidence for DJT’s racism – the guy built a country club that specifically allowed members who were black and Jewish. Lots of our crying friends in LA belong to clubs where I don’t see a lot of black faces. Interesting. I don’t care what others think of the colour of my skin – it’s their actions that matter. By the way, look up the things Joe Biden and Bill Clinton said about Barack Obama and his colour if you want some cringe-worthy statements.
How can I say that this country isn’t racist? Because it’s the worst charge you can level at an American in public or private. Not to mention, I find it’s pretty racist of people to say that being against illegal immigration is racist. First of all, they’re equating illegality with a race. Second of all, it seems rather condescending to not believe that Latino people are capable of getting to US embassy to fill out the paperwork to enter the United States legally.
Speaking of racism, isn’t it curious that all those celebrities and others who pledged to leave the country if Trump was elected said their new home would be Canada? A country that’s even more white than the United States. How come they aren’t planning a move to Mexico?
7. Gay people have nothing to worry about.
You're worried about homophobia? The guy is socially liberal; he was a Democrat until last week. By the way, he was the first GOP candidate to talk gay rights on the convention stage. At the Comedy Store tonight, I heard a ton of jokes about people’s fears, including that he would take away gay marriage. Openly gay backer Peter Thiel, had lots to say about his support and how intolerant people can be. Oh, you’re going to say that Veep-elect Mike Pence is for electroshock therapy for homosexuality? Ouch! Except, even snopes says not so much.
8. There aren’t going to be internment camps.
The only ones in our history were created by a Democrat – FDR.
9. Women can be leaders.
Much has been said about Trump and women. Back in May, the NY Times ran a huge article detailing all the sordid past they could find – and it was kind of a snoozer, actually making the point that he was often first to put women into huge positions of responsibility in male-dominated fields. He hired Kellyanne Conway as the first woman to run and win a presidential campaign. Now, look up Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, Indira Ghandi, Angela Merkel, Corazon Aquino and you’ll find amazing, hard-working leaders who didn’t ask anyone to vote for them because of their gender. Now one of my daughters can get to be the first American president! ;)
10. Always go to source material.
Let’s not horriblize (my invented word) all that we are scared a President Trump will do. Let’s read his plan. It’s your job as a citizen to read party platforms before you vote, and to not accept allegations as truth without going to the horse’s mouth. “Thinking is not a team sport. It is not a group project. Deciding what you think is not a collaborative project to undertake with 1000 of your Very Bestest Fake Internet Friends on Twitter.” – Ace, a cool blogger I know. Okay, a cool blogger I read.
Since I got to 10, I’ll leave you with those. But remember this about all the protesters we are seeing on streets. They are being organized and paid for (note the printed signs and the ads appearing on Craigslist and elsewhere). Those responsible are preying on sad emotional people. Who is doing the preying? Google George Soros. The correct response when something – a game, a relationship, a class, a job interview, an election – doesn’t go your way is to mourn for a minute, then put your shoulder to the grindstone and do better next time. We don’t have time for tantrums.
The very last thing I will leave you with is Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If. Our goal as parents for you is that you can keep your heads while all about you are losing theirs. (I know it ends with the exhortation to be a man; replace it with grown up and it works for daughters.)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
actor . entrepreneur . fighter