Guest Column by Rivkah Eidex
People are spewing so much venom toward their fellow man because of the election. I see people almost daring their friends and family to delete them, unfriend them, unfollow them, etc., on social media while telling one another how disappointed they are.
Why are so many abhorred by Hillary Clinton’s defeat? Because we wanted a woman we can admire in office, right? A woman who stands up for other women, for minorities, for children, for lesbian and gay Americans, who stands for equality and fairness.
Those traits are indeed admirable and, yes, traits I would hope to see exemplified in my own children and yours.
But how then, if these traits of moral character are so important to you, do you reconcile the temper tantrums, the degrading of others for holding different beliefs, the public shaming of your fellow, the curse words and insults, the depressing doomsday talk?
Friends can be friends only if they agree with you? Doesn’t that defeat the point of respecting diversity and human differences?
Talk about the right to choose. The people who chose Donald Trump are being bashed for it. Didn’t they have the right to make their choice? Isn’t that what voting is?
And to put them down and denigrate them — is that fairness and kindness and understanding? Acceptance? If I don’t want to be friends with (or even nice to) anyone who is different from me, there is only one word to describe me: bigot.
You might read this and say, “But this is different! I am right! He is a buffoon and a womanizer and a jerk, and I am afraid he will be a lousy president.”
For the record, I wholeheartedly agree. However, my friends, I learned a long time ago that you cannot judge another until and unless you’ve walked in his or her shoes. People have reasons for things that are personal to them, and you will never know them.
That is why it is crucial to give the benefit of the doubt. Always. Who knows why this one or that one voted for Trump? They may have a reason (or two or 10) dear to their hearts, and they have a right to that.
The election included many loaded issues, many of which are personal to different people and different families for their own reasons — reasons they have the right to defend.
“What do I say to my children today?” I saw that question numerous times on Facebook.
Maybe for starters:
• Provide a factual lesson on majority rules (and sometimes you will not like the outcome, an important life lesson right there).
• Model how to handle disappointment (and even anger) with poise and dignity.
• Get active on those issues with which you and Trump disagree. Show your child how to voice your opinion in a democracy, and be thankful for the right to do so.
• Explain to your child that the people who voted Trump into office must have their own reasons, and even though we don’t know what they are, we have no choice right now but to accept (and dare I say respect) that reality. This is known in the psychology world as “radical acceptance” — the notion that you can accept a reality even if you hate it (this concept is what enables me to get out of bed every day).
• Children are very literal. Telling them that their schoolmates are likely to be rounded up by armed guards or officers and shipped back to war-torn developing countries borders on emotional abuse of a child, in my opinion. That type of rhetoric leads to panic, and panic can lead to dangerous and destructive behaviors in a nation.
Your job is to reassure your child that a lot of government leaders collaborate with the president, and nothing is going to happen tomorrow or even the next day. (Does anything involving the government happen quickly?) You are safe, and your friends are safe. Teach your children to take deep breaths and perhaps encourage them to share this concept with their friends and schoolmates.
Many Americans — adults and children — are under the misconception that the president makes the decisions and rules and runs this great country. Ha-ha, my friends. We are one nation under — what was it again?
Only He decides things and cares for us. G-d alone knows what is in the hearts of us all and loves and accepts us unconditionally, regardless of how we voted or our gender, sexual preference, nationality, etc.
Furthermore, G-d is the only one who has the right to judge us, so let’s leave that to Him. In the meantime, let’s try to model faith-based living so that our children understand that when things don’t go your way, even if you are overcome with fear, sometimes you just have to trust in the Lord (however you define Him) and know that He is the one in charge.
With that, we have a winning ballot every time.