Advice To My Sons: Love America, Especially Now

Perhaps it is self-absorbed to focus on personal concerns in the midst of the most cataclysmic political event of our lives, but, for me, the hardest task last night was providing comfort to my sons, Jeremy and Owen, who were badly shaken by the election and struggling to understand its meaning.

As we watched one state after another tilt to Trump, I tried to adopt a tone of soothing, fatherly confidence, but, in truth, I was just as shaken as they were. Still am. And maybe my words were meant as much for me as for them - a plea for inner strength in the days ahead. Here, roughly, is what I said:

It is okay to be deeply upset about what has happened, because many lives will be made more difficult by this result and the future of many things is uncertain. It is okay to feel sadness for the candidate you supported, who worked so hard to win and who represented so much. Be proud that we care enough to cry.

But it is not okay to be frightened. It is not okay to lose faith in your beliefs. And it is not okay to give up on your country. This is when the things we value become more important, because if our government and leaders are unable to act with decency and kindness, then we have a greater responsibility to be decent and kind ourselves.

This is when we must love America. Now. Even when - especially when - that love is hard to give.

And remember that things in politics are never as good or as bad as they seem; there is always a next chapter to be written.