It would be so easy to skip this week. I mean, who would blame me? So many of us are digging deep for silver linings in the election hangover. I laid in bed yesterday morning, unable to move, tears spilling onto my pillow.
I am sad, mad, devastated, in shock, feeling all the feelings. I let the feelings have yesterday. While listening to Secretary Clinton’s concession speech, the sadness, the deep ache within my bones could no longer be held back. I wanted to show a stiff upper lip for our daughters, but I knew it was important for them to see me that way. For how else would they begin to understand the grave loss to our country?
I truly don’t understand how anyone could’ve listened to her speech, and not have seen the amazing, strong, capable person I saw all along. I’m guilty in my complacency. I was quiet on this site and in my professional feeds. I thought it best to keep politics away from the table.
I will never be silent again.
I will make sure my daughters are never silent.
This is what I lost last night, and the reason I cried all day. I lost a partner all over again. I was thrown into single parenting five years ago, and while many use words such as grace and strength to describe me, I often feel the exact opposite. I’m tired. Tired of carrying the weight of our daughters’ successes and setbacks all alone. Secretary Clinton’s agenda and policies gave me the hope of a true partner again. A partner in our country. I want a government that values all of me, not just the parts of my body it wants to control.
Secretary Clinton was the female figure I sought out my whole life. Strong, smart, solid in her beliefs, and courageous enough to forge forward against an unrelenting sea of illogical contempt simply because she didn’t accept a woman’s “rightful place” from the get go.
Now it’s all on me again, to wipe the tears, and be that kind of woman for our daughters. Today I’m determined to channel them into something productive to start repairing the wrong that was done to our beloved country Tuesday night.
In the weeks leading up to the election, whenever my daughters expressed fear over a Trump win, I told them we would be okay, mostly. A major setback, but we have laws, checks and balances. I have to believe that now, but loss is still loss. We need to grieve, while also keeping our eyes wide open for the cocktail of hate, sexism, and homophobia that has been unleashed. Now is not the time to fall asleep, just as they are about to take control of the steering wheel.
We have to work twice as hard.
We have to lead our children by example.
So, shut the reality television shows off, toss the gossip magazines in the trash, enough with the buzzfeed polls. Roll your sleeves up, and let’s start doing the work. There are no white nights, just people in white hats.
I’m making education reform my priority. The lack of anything meaningful happening in that realm is what got us here. Ill-informed, poorly trained, unable to adapt to changing times, those people, young and old who were left to fall through the cracks while the Trumps of the world prospered, that is where I will focus my energy. I’m not exactly sure where to start, especially since I homeschool, but sharing information is a start.
In fact, I’ve been meaning to share this article from Forbes magazine. The tab has been open in my browser for weeks now. College is seen as an end all solution, but the reality is that not every person is equipped for the rigors it requires. I’ll go even further to argue that not everything taught at college-level, or high school level for that fact, is necessary to have a successful career. It all depends on the career. Education, like life, is not one size fits all.
The most important A is not the grade on a report card. It’s about unlocking a person’s power to be adaptable, a most necessary skill for these fast changing, technological times. Manufacturing jobs have left the U.S. They are not coming back no matter what any candidate promises. Instead of false hopes and false prophets, the real answer is in training our workforce with new skills for the new world we live in. Yes, change is scary. I get it. I’ve lived it. I live it every day as a freelancer, immersed in a web of social media.
How do we teach people to become useful before their jobs become obsolete? Discourage complacency, and encourage ongoing professional development at every level of every profession.
I surely will not see the change needed while either of my kids are of school-age, but I’ll do it for their kids, and their kids’ kids, or I’ll die trying because when you realize you have nothing left to lose, that’s where the real fire to get things done begins to kindle in your mind and heart.
So, today I’m thankful for the power to heal, the power to be resilient. I’m thankful for the ability to be optimistic in the face of such deep setbacks, and the foresight to understand that it is my responsibility as an American to work towards a better world for all of us, not just my little tribe of three. And to Secretary Clinton, to First Lady Michelle Obama, thank you both for inspiring me to go high when they go low.