As parents, many of us have struggled to find ways to come to terms with a Trump presidency. We live in a new, more fearful, seemingly less just world, and so do our children. As Pantsuit Nation members have shown us again and again, our children (and I mean "our" in the most general terms - we all have young people in our lives that look to us even if we're not parents) are listening and watching. What we say, how we act, where we focus our energy, and the lens through which we choose to view this new world will shape the next generation and thus the future of our country.
For this week's Story + Action, Pantsuit Nation member Sarah Smith Rainey reports on how she has approached the task (and privilege) of parenting in the age of Trump. She is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Bowling Green State University and the Director of Religious Education at Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation. She and her partner Mike have a wonderfully wacky, modern “Brady bunch” style blended family that involves six kids, co-parents, relatives, and friends. Together, they run a Bed and Breakfast called Eight Leafed Clover in Northwest Ohio.
I turned to my community, especially other parents at my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and found similar fears and concerns. All parents said they were worried about the sense of “normalized hatred.” Parents shared that their kids were worried too. They told me that their kids were worried about nuclear war, being, literally, grabbed by the pussy by the President, they were frightened by the possibility of deportation of family members, they were worried about “the wall” Trump wants to build, and they were confused by why good people would vote for someone who seemed to do such bad things in his personal life. All the parents I talked with were worried about their kids’ abilities to rise up and fight for justice, and they are very, very concerned about their own readiness—our own ability to keep going, to keep fighting.
What is your version of Sarah's circle, Pantsuit Nation? What can we do as a (4-million-strong!) community to bring those who may not share our values into greater understanding and tolerance? What can we do to expand our own? As Sarah suggests, starting with the smallest circles - your family and community - does make a difference. Challenge yourself this week to bring (or at least invite) someone into your circle. Have a conversation or bring a meal. Bring your children along. Better yet, step into someone else's circle, outside your comfort zone. Tell us here in the comments what you find.
[Image description: A photo of a smiling woman wearing a black pantsuit standing in front of a brick wall. She has medium length rainbow-dyed and brown hair and is holding a sign that says #PantsuitNation]