Like literally millions of people, I am in shock. You’ve watched the debates, the interviews, the news—Donald Trump is the worst of the worst and somehow, he is now going to be the leader of the free world.
I have been apolitical my whole life. I am not proud of it but I won’t deny it. I (we) live in a county that is fairly stable politically and I have always felt that my one vote would not have much (if any) effect. I am ashamed. I have been the person who does not vote but who does not complain, and somehow I justified to myself that that was OK. But now, I am woken up to the haunting reality that that is not OK. After last week’s events, I am forever changed. To be honest, I don't think Canadians would EVER let it get to a point where someone like Donald Trump would be in the running for a major political office, but I also realize that if I don't exercise my right to vote, I am not only allowing for that possibility, but I am also putting too many people (including you) at risk of letting that kind of nightmare become a reality. So I pledge to you, to my country and to myself, that I will forever vote in every election, with insight, education and a belief that my vote can make a difference.
I don't consider myself a feminist. I am a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife and a friend, but I haven’t traditionally defined myself by my gender. And like my stance on politics, I am not proud. Maybe this thinking (not thinking) has been because I have led a life where my gender has not (overtly) affected any significant life outcomes.
No more. As a mother and as a woman, it is my duty to tell you, to teach you, to show you, that women, that ALL living creatures, deserve compassion and respect. Millions of people voted for a man who devalues one gender, who devalues people of colour, who devalues certain classes of citizens (the list goes on). That is not and will never be OK.
My life’s goal is to lead by example and show you that EVERYONE deserves your utmost respect. You have the ability and unbelievably huge privilege to change peoples’ lives—don’t EVER take that for granted and please, always act with kindness and respect in your heart. There is a saying that goes something like this: “don’t be proud of your children for the marks they get but for them sitting beside the kid who is eating alone in the lunchroom.” So while I will continue to cheer on your every accomplishment, I will (proverbially) applaud louder when you treat people with compassion. That is how I will measure my worth as a parent and how you should measure yours as a human.
I hope that we can all learn from these recent events, not take our rights and situations for granted and help be leaders in our community. Be that kid who sits with the lonely kid, and be that kid who everyone says, before they talk about your brains or athletic abilities, how kind and generous you are.
Some joke that I am a “proud Jewish mother.” Today, I am not only that, I am also a “proud Canadian woman.”