Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I'm Canadian and I'm scared


We played Barbies together on Tuesday afternoon. I didn't tell her about the election specifically. She's only four and a half and it isn't even our country, so I wasn't sure she'd understand.

Instead, I made my Barbie announce she'd been elected president of her school. C was excited and made her Barbie say she was also the president of the school. The other Barbies had also won, she said. They were all presidents. Ken had celebratory cupcakes that said "I love my presidents" waiting for his daughters when they came home from school. Then they all went swimming and C laughed when one of my Barbies fell in wearing her clothes.

I watched her sleep last night. I took her picture in the darkness, knowing the shot wouldn't turn out very well.


I really and truly thought I would wake up to good news. That Hillary would win, even if it was a much closer race than I ever imagined. I was going to excitedly tell the kids that the U.S. had a new president and her name was Hillary Clinton. Then I was going to show them Barack Obama's photo and explain that he'd been the president and now it was Hillary's turn.

I wasn't going to talk about how Barack was black or Hillary was a woman -- I was just going to show them their photos and talk about how exciting it was. The kids don't know it was a big deal to have a black president and that it would be a huge deal to have a woman as president. That's how I want them to stay.

Instead, I got them dressed and didn't say a word about the election. At four and six, they have no idea there was one -- let alone that everyone is upset about the results. D might hear something in school. When I was doling out cups of cereal and orange slices at the breakfast program, I heard a few older kids talking about it.

A photo posted by Heather Laura Clarke (@hfxheather) on

All of the teachers feel the same way as me: shocked and horrified and scared. We are worried for our American friends and for ourselves, too. Are we going to have a zillion new people moving into the country to get away from him? Is the economy going to shit? Will our house values swing wildly in one direction or the other?

Most importantly, is he going to hurt people? Is he going to make rash decisions that change everything? Is he going to egg on hatred and racism and homophobia? Is he going to start wars and build walls and break up families and wreck the world?

C loves when I come up with new scenarios for the Barbies because she usually defaults to "the moms are going out and the babysitters are coming over."

I wonder if she's going to remember about the Barbies winning their school election.

I wonder if I'm going to be able to play it with her later without crying.

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