When it was clear that Donald Trump would win the presidential election, CNN commentator and liberal-minded activist Van Jones asked one of the most famous questions of the night, a query that has reverberated around the minds of Hillary Clinton supporters who were devastated by the evening’s events.
“How,” Jones asked, “do I explain this to my children?”
Barack Obama, who might have some of his most important accomplishments undone by a Trump presidency, provided a pretty great answer to his own children.
In a well-reported piece in the New Yorker, David Remnick explained how Obama approached his daughters, Malia and Sasha, about the election results.
What I say to them is that people are complicated. Societies and cultures are really complicated. … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop. … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.
Even though Trump has spent much of the past four years bashing Obama and questioning his birthplace, Obama has remained calm and steady throughout the tumultuousness of the post-election U.S.
Just like a good parent should.
H/T the New Yorker