As the 2016 election draws near, politics are a frequent topic in our house. The 9-year-old and the 13-year-old are aware of the issues at stake. The 6-year-old asks questions frequently; she is trying to make sense of why there is an electric current of anxiety in the air of our nation. She asked me how people go about choosing the person they believe is best for president.
I couldn't answer how other people make their decisions, but I was happy to have the opportunity to clarify my own thoughts as I explained to her why our family is voting for Hillary Clinton. The following is a summation of my beliefs.
Let's say each family represents its own nation. We have our own rules and our own goods and services, possessions and property. We speak a language filled with inside references and jokes. We work to bring in money; we educate our young, and we defend ourselves against attacks from others. We have a vibrant culture and our own holidays, be they birthdays or anniversaries or special milestones.
Our family's particular nation is different from many others, because our beloved children don't all come from our nation. Thirteen years ago, there was another nation, and it was in distress. It was torn apart by war among its people, by poverty, by illness and mistreatment. This nation's leader sent one of its precious members to us and entrusted us to open our borders and help our new family member grow, learn and thrive. We embraced our new daughter, and she is now a citizen of our nation. She is also still a citizen of her first nation. We love each other.
Now our nation is forever connected with our child's first nation. Rather than viewing each other as threats, as enemies to hate and fear, we choose to view each other as allies. Some people do not agree with our decisions. They think we have made the wrong choices, but the truth is, they are not being harmed by us or by how we live our lives. Our decision to love this other nation shouldn't frighten them so much.
It has been many years since we partnered with this other nation. Our nations are very different in measurable ways: our members have vastly different appearances; we practice totally different religions; we eat different foods; we hold different jobs; we have different levels and types of education.
But those differences tell only part of the story.
What we have in common is our human hearts, our love for our citizens, our desire to be respected and valued. Both of our nations choose to view other nations as collaborators over competitors; we do not mock the citizens of another nation, not if they weigh 400 pounds, not if they are female, not if they are aging and infirm, not if they have a disability, not if they have hair or skin that is darker than ours, not if they were born into a nation that has fewer advantages and privileges than ours.
This election isn't about Democrat or Republican or Libertarian; it's about choosing leaders who can help us continue to be citizens of the world while growing and improving our own nation. I don't see Donald Trump as a viable Republican candidate; I know Republicans that are wonderful people with whom I'd trust my life. Trump in no way represents these Republicans.
He is a dangerous, unstable person, and he is unfit to run our country. Hilary Clinton is a competent, experienced, intelligent woman, and she sees the value of viewing other nations as allies and collaborators. She sees the value of embracing differences within our nation rather than cultivating a climate of racial tension, sexism and fear.
I choose to believe in hope. I choose to believe in diversity and kindness, in prosperity and access, in lifting others up, in relying on our actions and not our privilege to influence others. Our lives are not reality TV shows or business deals; they are infinitely more complex. May the Force Be With Our Nation This November.