This Is What We Tell the Kids


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I am writing this last night.

It is currently 9:30 Pacific Time. Right now Donald Trump has 244 electoral votes to Clinton's 215. It's not looking good.

But you know that, because it's tomorrow where you're reading this. And I'm betting you're waking up, bleary and in need of coffee, wondering what to tell your children who went to bed with the belief that they'd wake up with Hillary Clinton as their president-elect.

And maybe they did wake up to a Clinton victory . God, I hope they did. But it's likely they didn't. Won't. Can't.

Either way, you need to tell your kids something. I need to tell my kids something.

And this is what I'm telling them:

Our country is always moving forward. We, as Americans, are always moving forward. We may move slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, but we are always moving forward.

This path isn't a straight line, though. It is more like the shape of a lightning bolt laid on its side. Or a serpentine switchback that demands almost as many steps backwards as it grants steps forward. We move forward, we jog back, and then we move further forward again.

Our country is always growing - smarter, stronger, more inclusive, more empathetic. We, as Americans, are always growing. We grow in fits in starts, just like you. But we always grow. Just like you. Our growth, like yours, comes in cranky, bone-aching, insatiable spurts. It's ugly. It's messy. It's full of mistakes. But, ultimately, it is always growth.

Last night, we switched back. We jogged back. We retreated from our own striving. But this switch, this jog, this retreat, is temporary. Not to say that it's not painful, that it's not significant. It does hurt. It is meaningful. It is terrible. And we will move beyond it. It's what Americans do. It's what America does.

We are always growing. We are always moving forward.

Onward we go.