Friday, January 20, 2017

thanks, Obama.

I was scrolling through Facebook on my laptop this morning, and pretty much every picture was of President Obama. Rowan looked up and started asking questions. This is our conversation (I started typing it while we chatted).

Rowan: Who's that?

Me: That's President Obama.

R: Oh. Is he the good one or the bad one?

Me: [Trying not to overstate things and also trying to hold my tears back] He's the BEST one.

R: Why is he the best?

Me: Because he's the kindest and smartest president we've ever had.

R: [A pause] Not like Donald Trumpet? He's the mean one. [I didn't even know she remembered Trump's name, let alone his association with Obama.]

Me: Well, I hope that Donald Trump can change his behavior, because everybody can change their behavior. He can choose to be kind and smart.

R: Yeah! Can I make a letter? Write a letter?

Me: Yes. Do you want crayons or markers?

R: Crayons.

[I set her up next to my laptop with crayons and paper.]

Me: I was saying I hope he chooses to be kind and smart. Don't you?

R: Or bad. He can choose whatever he chooses! I bet he chooses to be bad, bad, bad. Do you think?

Me: I think he might sometimes be bad, but hopefully we can all help him choose to be kind. How do you think we can help him?

R: I thiiiink...by being kind to him like Cindy Lou Who was kind to the Grinch, so he could stop being so grouchy.

Me: [Dying inside] That sounds like a great idea. Is that what you're writing in your letter?

R: Yep! What else?

Me: Well, what else do you want to write in your letter?

R: I know what will help him! By being kind to him. To Donald Trumpet.

Me: What kinds of things can we do to be kind to him?

R: To be helpful and make lots of money.


Me: How will making lots of money help?

R: To feel better.

Me: I don't think just making money makes people feel better.

R: Why?

Me: Well, what are things that help YOU feel better?

R: Taking a deep breath. And also by having a hug to help you feel better.

Me: So maybe if we help him take a deep breath? And give him a hug? [EW FALSE]

R: Yes. Mm-hmm. I'm going to write those down from you [I think she meant "for you"] so I don't forget. [Continues writing her letter for awhile, then turns the paper over.] I'm drawing pink on this side. Because it's my faaaavorite color! In case we're ever scared and I can just look at this in my big girl room!


When Rowan's playing with her friends, I remind her of these things: If someone is doing something you don't like, tell them to stop. If they don't stop, yell NO as loud as you can. If they still don't stop, ask for help. Let's set that example for her, for all of them. If someone is doing something you don't like, tell them to stop. Then yell it. Then ask for help. Join forces and carry on the legacy of President Obama that we claim to be so proud of, the one he charged us with advancing. As he said, "The single most powerful word in our democracy is 'we.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.' Yes, we can."

Yes, we can. We care because we're good people. We're afraid because we know what's possible. But those are also the exact reasons why we'll fight: Because we're good people, and because we know what's possible. Like even the impossible - say, eight consecutive years of a Black president. I don't know what the fight will look like yet, but it starts with each of us.

Today, we grieve. Today, we fear. Today, we say good-bye.

Tomorrow we march. Tomorrow we fight.

President Obama: "I'm asking you to believe - not in my ability to create change, but in yours."

Yes, we can. Still.

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