Colum­nist tells young daugh­ter she'll be OK

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Dana Mil­bank is syn­di­cate by The Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group. Dana Mil­bank Colum­nist

Dana Mil­bank tells what he told his sev­enth-grade daugh­ter af­ter the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

As I watched the re­turns at Don­ald Trump’s cel­e­bra­tion here early Wed­nes­day, the hardest part was try­ing to re­as­sure my sev­enth-grade daugh­ter at home, via phone and text, that she would be OK.

She had ex­pected to be cel­e­brat­ing the elec­tion of the first fe­male pres­i­dent, but in­stead, this man she had been read­ing and hear­ing hor­ri­ble things about had won, and she feared her own world could come apart.

Here is what I’m telling her.

••• My won­der­ful daugh­ter, This is a sad day for our country. I want you to know that I did ev­ery­thing I could to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing. My ef­forts and those of many oth­ers came up short.

I’ve writ­ten about the dread­ful things Trump said and did dur­ing the cam­paign, and about the still more ter­ri­ble things he could do if elected. I won’t lie: I am deeply wor­ried for the na­tion.

But I am writ­ing be­cause I want you to keep those fears in per­spec­tive. We will be fine. Your daily life won’t change. You’ll go to school, go to par­ties with friends, en­joy the same ac­tiv­i­ties and come home to a lov­ing fam­ily. Next week, we’ll cel­e­brate your bat mitz­vah.

It’s im­por­tant, on one hand, to ac­cept that Trump won, fair and square. As Amer­i­cans, we re­spect the of­fice and we salute him. Hon­or­ing elec­tions is the bedrock of democracy.

But his elec­tion, by it­self, doesn’t mean Amer­ica won’t be a safe place for im­mi­grants, black peo­ple, Lati­nos, Mus­lims, Jews, gays and les­bians, or a place where women aren’t treated fairly.

There has been a lot of talk about how the po­lit­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als mis­un­der­stood the elec­torate. But that’s not en­tirely true. Hil­lary Clin­ton, as of now, is lead­ing in the pop­u­lar vote. More Amer­i­cans wanted her to be pres­i­dent than him.

It’s pos­si­ble, as exit polls of vot­ers sug­gest, that the FBI di­rec­tor, by caus­ing the country to spend the fi­nal days of the elec­tion talk­ing about her email, handed Trump vic­tory. We’ll never know for sure, and there’s noth­ing we can do about it.

What this means for sure is that Trump has lit­tle sup­port to do the things he talked of. The exit polls show peo­ple sup­ported him be­cause they were both­ered by Clin­ton’s emails or be­cause they were wor­ried about the econ­omy and ter­ror­ists. CNN’s exit polls show that:

• Seventy per­cent of vot­ers, in­clud­ing 29 per­cent of Trump vot­ers, were both­ered by his treat­ment of women.

• Sixty-three per­cent, in­clud­ing 20 per­cent of Trump vot­ers, said he doesn’t have the tem­per­a­ment to be pres­i­dent. • Sixty-three per­cent, in­clud­ing 21 per­cent of his own vot­ers, said he’s not hon­est and trust­wor­thy.

• Fifty-seven per­cent, in­clud­ing 14 per­cent of his own vot­ers, said they would have a neg­a­tive view of Trump’s vic­tory.

• Most Amer­i­cans don’t want a bor­der wall, and only 25 per­cent of vot­ers want him to de­port illegal im­mi­grants. They don’t sup­port end­ing Oba­macare or free trade. So what do we do now? First, we must try to help Trump suc­ceed. I urge Repub­li­cans of con­science to join his ad­min­is­tra­tion, to tem­per his worst in­stincts. Six years ago, the top Repub­li­can in the Se­nate said his top po­lit­i­cal goal should be de­feat­ing Pres­i­dent Obama. I hope Democrats don’t act that way. If Trump drops the crazy talk of the cam­paign, he could eas­ily find com­pro­mises on the econ­omy and im­mi­gra­tion. Trump rein­vented him­self for this cam­paign.

He’s ca­pa­ble of re­mak­ing him­self again into a prac­ti­cal leader.

But if he doesn’t, if he gov­erns as reck­lessly and as di­vi­sively as he cam­paigned, there will be checks on his power. Stock mar­kets will crash and a re­ces­sion will come if he gets us into trade wars.

If he doesn’t change his views about for­eign pol­icy, he’ll get no sup­port from al­lies.

If he uses the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to pros­e­cute and jail his crit­ics — well, then we would have a cri­sis. If he starts round­ing up Mus­lims or in­flames the anti-Semitism he stirred up in the cam­paign, I and many oth­ers — in­clud­ing many Repub­li­cans — will fight him with ev­ery­thing we have.

Peo­ple joke about flee­ing to an­other country, but Amer­ica re­mains the great­est country on Earth.

You are rightly scared that a man who talks about women the way Trump does was elected pres­i­dent. But we all know a woman will be elected pres­i­dent some­day. Maybe it will be you.

At your bat mitz­vah next week, we will end the ser­vice, as al­ways, with a prayer for our country: “Grant our lead­ers wisdom and for­bear­ance. May they gov­ern with jus­tice and com­pas­sion.”

God bless you, my daugh­ter, and God bless Amer­ica. All my love, Dad

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