09 November 2016

Fighting For What's Right Is Worth It

Dear Girlie:

Tomorrow you turn 13. No, your birthday is not ruined by the events of yesterday. Hillary's defeat is saddening, it makes us angry, it makes us scared. But we are stronger than that. Stronger together in our little family, stronger in our little town, stronger in our conviction that all people need to be lifted up, that all children deserve an education, that all people need good and affordable health care, that no one should live in poverty. That women everywhere have the right and the ability and the freedom to control their – our – bodies and make our own decisions about our health care. We will love, we will accept, we will teach and reach out to those who hurt.

And as much as we glibly say "let's move to Canada", we can't and won't do that. We need to stay here, on these shores, in these United States and work to make the country an open, compassionate haven for those fleeing oppression elsewhere and those struggling here. While it seems right now as though we have woken up in an unrecognizably racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic country, it is our job to work to continue the expansion of LGBT rights, to protect the environment, to assure access to health insurance for all, to defend marriage equality, to improve our gun laws, to uphold the First Amendment and safeguard the Fourth Estate, to codify and enforce the equal rights of women, and to offer succor.

David Remnick, who’s the editor of the The New Yorker, wrote an essay this morning. It is worth reading, and ends thusly:

"Despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do."

And that’s what we’ll do. We’ll wipe our tears, and we’ll work.


Remember what you said to me last night, at the beginning? "I want to be a social studies teacher, or a politician, or Rachel Maddow." Channel that thought - those are all good goals. Our country needs a well informed citizenry - which you get by educating children and having smart engaged journalists - and we need passionate politicians who put the best interests of the entire country first.

Martha thinks you should run for President. Of course, you can't until you're 35, which means 2040, but hey, goals!

In her speech this morning, Hillary said "This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." Those are words to live by.


Unknown said...

This loss hurts so much, and it's hard to know how to make sense of it. But my fondest hope for your daughter, and for my kids too, is that she learns resiliency and the power of well organized opposition. It's worth grieving today, or this week, or the next several weeks.

But we also need to get organized. What does she believe most in protecting, and how can she use her voice to do that?

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Listen to your mother. She is wise and will help guide you though this. It hurts because this was about much more than an election. It was about what it means to be a woman in America, and I think you already know -- acutely -- what it means to be a woman in America. But rather than looking at us how others see us, let's look at us how we know ourselves to be. We are STRONG. We are LOUD. We will roar at future elections -- local and national. We will get the hard work done.

kathy a. said...

Happy Birthday! And your mom's right; this is a horrible loss. But what we do is -- pick ourselves up, stand together, hold our chins high, and keep working for the good. xoxo

Becky said...

Printing for my daughters. And my son. And my husband. And me. Thank you.

Amanda said...

There are seasons still to come.

I am so sorry that your birthday coincides with a day like this, but if I have learned anything in my 43 years it is that the next success is built on my last "not quite."

I am grateful to be in a world with girls like you and women like Hillary Clinton, Maggie Christ is no slouch either.

Florinda said...

Your mother's words are wise, and girls like you are the ones who can change all this.

canape said...

Happy birthday, sweet girl.

Anonymous said...

This has really helped me. I love HDRC and it's hard for me too. Thank you for the positive message and happy birthday.

Cathy said...

Wonderful, wonderful letter, Maggie.

I've relayed it to a couple of friends with tween or teenage girls. One, who spent election day volunteering as a polling place worker, went from a day-long high to stunned disbelief and fear. Another reacted by ralliying high school students for an impromptu march to City Hall. Fingers crossed these amd other caring teens will continue to take positive action to express their political and social values.

edj3 said...


We need to stay here, on these shores, in these United States and work to make the country an open, compassionate haven for those fleeing oppression elsewhere and those struggling here.

So much what you said.

Parul said...

Belated birthday wishes to your girl. This is a heartfelt letter. You are right that we all (I am talking about myself and my fellow Indians) need to stand up for what's right. There will be things that will not be as we wanted but we need to keep going all long. With hope, faith and optimism.