After Donald Trump was elected president, many Americans who didn’t support him were shocked by his victory, frightened of what was to come, and mournful of the end of President Obama’s term. Parents in that position in particular have struggled with talking to their children about what a Trump presidency means.
In a sprawling new interview in The New Yorker, President Obama shared with David Remnick what he told his own daughters, Sasha and Malia, in the aftermath of Trump’s win:
“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
A pep talk for everyone.