The past week is the first time in my life that the prospect of having children has terrified me.
I’ve said countless times before that one of my purposes on this Earth is to make it a better, safer and more just place for my future daughters to live. After the increasingly dismal outlook for the future of this planet that has unfolded since November 8th, 2016, I have questioned my ability – and the ability of humankind as a whole – to bring that purpose to fruition. How am I supposed to explain this world to my future daughter, the young girl I have dreamed about since I was a teenager, the one who will hopefully look to me for guidance in navigating the sexist, racist and unforgiving reality into which I will ultimately bring her?
As with many other moments in the past 10 days, I found comfort in words spoken by President Barack Obama – not words to his fellow Americans, but words he spoke to his two daughters to explain what happened:
“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.”
Thanks, Daddy-O. We all needed to hear that.