The surprise election of Donald Trump has, for one thing, brought about a much-needed debate among family members about what they perceive to be their values, their aspirations for themselves and their children and, perhaps more important, their hopes and goals for our nation.
A previous article discussed how many parents have tried to explain to their children — especially to their daughters — how a racist, sexist bully like Donald Trump could have been chosen by Americans to lead our nation for the next four years.
An update to the same article provided examples of some very touching letters by some very innocent, young children to the president-elect, encouraging him to be “kind and nice.”
Some may feel that that the “children” — albeit some in the first category are in their teens — are perhaps not mature enough to be dragged into such serious, perhaps stressful discussions and situations.
But should we not take seriously the feelings of mature women who feel at best disappointed, and at worst betrayed by their “Dads” who supported — voted for — the man these daughters feel stands for everything vile, wrong and disgusting when it comes to women and minorities?
Dads who voted for a man who, according to Lesley, 25, “openly has no respect for women or differently-abled Americans,” or according to Dana, 23, who voted for a man who “can insult and mock every cultural group but his own, and still rise to power,” or as Taylor, 23, puts it, who cast a vote “that said yes to the degradation of women and the normalization of sexual assault.”
Those are the words of three of the 21 women — ranging in age from 19 to 37 — who tell their Dads how their vote made them feel in a piece by Julie Alvin at Bustle.com.
According to Alvin:
“…in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, many distraught women had one person they couldn’t call for hope, comfort, or commiseration after Donald Trump was elected president — a person who would typically be the first one to allay their fears, to sympathize with them, to tell them that everything was going to be OK.
They couldn’t call their dads.
They couldn’t call their dads because a lot of them voted for Donald Trump, or wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Some more reactions:
Kellie, 30, “a woman of color,” says to her Dad:
“…as someone who has directly benefitted from the Affordable Care Act, as a person who has received vital reproductive health care from Planned Parenthood throughout my twenties, as an outspoken feminist and champion of the Black Lives Matter movement, it not only baffles me, but shakes me to my core to know that you are celebrating while I, along with so many others, are mourning what this presidency means for our nation’s future.”
Nancy, 23, the daughter of an immigrant eligible to vote for the first time in the U.S., tells her father, “I’m hurt that you chose not to [vote], whatever your reasons may have been. I’m scared, Dad. I hope you can begin to understand how much it all matters now, and how much of a difference you CAN make.”
Sofia, 29, also the daughter of an immigrant expresses astonishment at her Dad’s support for Trump:
“I couldn’t understand how you, an incredible father of two women and grandfather to two extraordinary girls, could back a man who so clearly has never shown respect and honor towards women. I couldn’t understand how you, also an immigrant, could agree with an immigration policy that closes its borders to so many and in turn closes us off to the world — a world you have always encouraged me to explore and be part of.”
“Dad, your vote made me feel like you’ve grown distant from our Jewish heritage and forgotten all the suffering our people went through when they were persecuted for just being who they were. It made me feel like, as a woman, you don’t actually respect my rights, the rights of others, or care whether my body is respected by other people.”
Tally, 19, the daughter of a veteran — the father of two “shockingly independent, and passionate daughters” — tells her Dad that his vote does not make any sense: “You raised us to be proud, to believe in ourselves, and to stand strong in times of hardship, but you voted for a candidate who wants us to do the complete opposite. I hope someday I will understand your decision, but for now, I cannot understand how you voted for someone who so outwardly hates women, and therefore your daughters.”
September, 21, asks her Dad:
“Dad, when I was in first grade I remember you chasing a bully down the street to tell him the way he was treating me was unacceptable. You helped me feel safe. How am I to accept the fact that you helped elect a bully into office? A bully who actively wants to take away my rights to my body and who normalizes sexual assault. I do not feel safe.”
Of course, most of these daughters still love their Dads and believe their Dads still love them. Some forgive their Dads; some may still be able “to get past this.”
For example, Lesley says, “It hurts, but please know that I still love you, and we’ll get through this, just like everything else.”
But for some it means a loss of innocence, trust and respect — a betrayal, a broken heart.
Mary Kate, 26, says. “I’ve never doubted that you love me. Your vote makes me feel like you don’t respect me.”
Rachel, 31, expresses similar feelings:
“Gary, we have never agreed on politics, but we have always had a relationship built on respect and love. Your vote for Donald Trump feels like a betrayal. I know you love me — a lifetime of coming to my plays and letting my oddball friends crash your holiday parties has shown me that you do — but I now question your respect for me, and that is truly painful.”
Kellie, the woman of color, puts it “simply”: “I feel betrayed. If protecting the rights and dignity of your own flesh and blood, your little girl, wasn’t enough to motivate you to vote against Trump, I don’t know what it would take.”
Some, like Dana, 23, just want to understand:
“I am surprised. I am confused. I am afraid to talk to you about it. But I want to understand. Am I the one being narrow minded? Am I being ignorant for having a hard time seeing things your way? I want to know what influenced your choice. I want to hear you talk about it. I’ll ask soon. But I’m not ready to hear your reasons just yet.”
Megan’s words to her Dad reflect much affliction:
“Dad, your vote for Donald Trump makes me feel like anytime I have been touched inappropriately, spoken to offensively, or talked down to, was because I am a woman and that such treatment is not only acceptable, but comes with the territory.”
Read all 21 messages here.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.