‘We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world’
via Flickr user (cc) aspeninstitue-internal
Before millions of Americans went to bed Tuesday night, heartbroken after Donald Trump’s victory, they were confronted with a powerful question: What do I tell my children Wednesday morning? We raise our kids to treat others with respect, but America just rewarded Trump’s horrifying behavior with the most important job in the world. If what you permit, you teach, America’s children were just given an awful life lesson.
Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning screenwriter of the The Social Network and creator of TV’s The West Wing, wrote an emotional letter to his 15-year-old daughter, Roxy, and her mother, Julia Sorkin, explaining Trump’s victory. In the letter printed in Vanity Fair, Sorkin discusses the terrible ramifications of a Trump presidency:
And it wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope.
After outlining the grim reality of a Trump’s win, Sorkin gives his ex-wife and daughter hope for the future:
America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours.
The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.
Many who see Trump’s victory as a strike against our national character read Sorkin’s letter found it both cathartic and comforting. But the letter has caused some controversy for unapologetically calling 60 million Americans “white nationalists,” “sexists,” “racists,” “buffoons,” and “angry young white men.” Many Trump supporters see Sorkin’s letter as an example of liberal snobbery that middle America revolted against by electing Trump.
For the 60 million people who oppose Trump’s xenophobic agenda, Sorkin’s letter is a great example of how to discuss this election with our children (minus the curse words). Life in a democracy means being on the losing side of elections from year to year. But you’ve never truly lost until you’ve stopped fighting to create a more perfect union.