We can learn a lot from my son Tuck. Wednesday was not only the darkest day in American politics for many of us but also the final day of tryouts for Sonoma Valley High’s basketball team. My 16 year-old sophomore had been pushing hard to make the Junior Varsity team, daily practice in front of the house. Working it, 10,000 jump shots, sweating hard every day for months, I would help when he asked (I coached him at the Boys and Girls club and CYO, back when my lack of basketball skills were not so apparent) but I was proud that he was doing it for himself, learning not because a parent or coach or teacher wanted him to but because he wanted to better his skills.
“Didn’t make it dad, no big deal. I’ll work harder next year.” That was all he said as I picked him up from practice on Wednesday. I’m tearing up as I write this because that one line validated everything I stand for as a parent. Responsibility, integrity, owning it, all the stuff I write about and teach to my students on the daily, 12 simple words.
“Tuck, I’ve never been more proud of you,” I responded as we drove through town talking about training for baseball season and how he wished there were more winter sports offered. Grit is it; we fall down so that we can learn to get back up.
You are not bigoted or racist or misogynistic. You would never brag about grabbing women by the pussy, skip out on your taxes, deny science and take away health care. You would not promote hate or violence or separation. You would not mock the disabled, demean women and minorities, bully, lie and taunt your way to becoming leader of the free world. You just wouldn’t, you’re better than that.
And yet, here we are, the election happened. So, take a few days to vent and rest, talk to other intelligent, progressive people (I had Jennifer Grey and Rachel Hundley come talk to my class on Wednesday-very therapeutic), then wake up and realize that this is America where we decide on the direction we want to go in. Look at the US election map and understand that all those negative traits listed above, while they do not represent you, do represent at least half of the country.
How could 29% of the registered Hispanic voters vote Trump? Well, as legal citizens they don’t want any more benefits going to illegals and Trump promised more jobs. How could 53% of white women vote for the man? Tough one, I don’t get it but according to Susan Kolod, psychologist in New York,
“Trump comes across as a very phallic male,” Kolod says. When he brags about being able to do whatever he wants to with women, Kolod says, it creates a powerful image that resonates with some women. “There’s this sense of: He can do anything; he can get away with it. That’s the kind of guy who can protect us.”
I’m not buying it but the country sure did.
So what’s next? For Don-o a crash course in being leader of the free world and if the first meeting with Obama is any indication, there’s going to be a huge learning curve. Then there’s the federal trial for fraud over Trump University, the dozen lawsuits of alleged sexual impropriety, the investigation into his charitable foundation, releasing his taxes and bringing a country together after he very successfully ripped it apart. Are you listening president Pence?
“Didn’t make it dad, no big deal, I’ll work harder next year.” It’s time to be more like Tuck. Put on our big boy pants and move forward.
You are not Donald Trump.