The Darkness Inside You Can Make You Feel So Small...

Starting at 8:00 pm, as the polls started to close, my partner kept looking at me as the states each turned red. As each state turned red, his face became full of dread and shock. But, I thought to myself, the larger urban areas haven't been fully reported. The polls couldn't be this wrong.

But they were.

As I woke up early, I saw the headlines.

It's Trump.

My heart sank. I felt disillusioned. I felt grief. I felt confused. I felt scared.

I took the dogs out, fed them breakfast, and sat. And tried running through my mind how I would face my daughter--a pro-Clinton fan.

She saw how Clinton talked about families. How she talked about inclusion. Bringing people together. Respect. Women in leadership. This was a powerful narrative.

And, she heard about Trump. She overheard his comments on the news. She overheard the fear of her friends who felt their families would be separated because of their skin color.

In Clinton, she saw that she could be President some day. And, of course she still can--but we all know the importance of role models and seeing others pave the way.

As I sat next to her to wake her up, I knew what her first question was going to be. And, she opened her eyes and said

Who won?

I took a moment and said Donald Trump. She began to cry and said "why? I loved Hillary Clinton. Trump doesn't like girls." I re-assured her that she was safe and that we are lucky to live in a place where we can vote, and we'll get to do it again in four years.

I began to cry. And she gave me a hug and gently patted my shoulder.

It's okay. We can pretend like she won. It'll be okay.

Here, I recognize that my emotions are running high and it's important for me to model hopefulness and peace. But I'll also model strength, determination, and our duty to protect and represent those without a voice or those whose voice needs to be amplified.

As she walked downstairs, she asked if her friend from school was going to have to move. She asked if she needed to move to a house with a mom and a dad.

I told her she was safe, her friends were safe, that her family is beautiful, and she should feel proud of her thoughtfulness and kindheartedness. She said "next time, we should put up a sign to convince people to vote for Clinton." I agreed.

I'm feeling empowered by True Colors. The song has always been a favorite of mine and now Sophia's. We learned the chorus in ASL together.

This little girl is going to do great things. My goal over the next four years is to show her that bullying, homophobia, racism, and other dangerous attacks on underrepresented groups are unacceptable and we need to stand strong as allies.

So, don't be afraid, to let them know your true colors, true colors, true colors are shining through...

Oh, and Ruth, my friend, I need you to hang in there another four years, please.


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© 2020 by Dr. Brandon Barile

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