A letter from Charlotte’s Kirk Michie to his 11-year-old daughter, Mary Catherine. (Note: Big G is Mary Catherine’s grandfather):
It has taken me a couple of days to collect my thoughts on what happened with the election on Tuesday. I remember calling you that night and saying, “Hopefully, when you wake up tomorrow we will have the first female President.” And you responded, “Wouldn’t that be cool?” Like many things in life, it did not turn out that way, NOT cool. When you awoke, the world had changed. I must apologize to you for believing all the pollsters and pundits and prognosticators; for having faith in common sense and decency. For giving you the false sense that a woman would become President. You are not alone in your sadness and worry. This too shall pass.
The reality for me is that my life will not change at all. It’s a lesson you should learn now and understand. I am a white, educated, straight man. As much as I do not always feel as though I have advantages and freedoms others don’t, I most certainly do. I do not have to worry about someone threatening to send me back to Mexico. I do not have to fret over being discriminated against because of my religion or my sexual orientation. If I am stopped for a speeding ticket, I have no fear. I never worry about being harassed or violated. For you see, being a white, straight man gives me access to things you may never know. When people see me, they are not threatened, they do not question my race, my intentions, my heritage, my reason for being. It is simple for me to skate through this life not really having to think much about anything. It’s an unscathed ride. The world is truly my oyster.
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This may not make you feel better, BUT there is hope. I am sure when Big G was 50 years old in 1978 and someone asked him, “Do you ever think there will be a black President?’” he would reply, “Not in my lifetime.” That happened, thankfully in his lifetime. I believe a woman will one day become President. Our country is changing, and your generation will be the change agents mine and Big G’s could not be. I can’t wait to watch.
So now, what can we do? We can continue to hope. We can lead by example. We can be tolerant and respectful. We can stand up for what is right and just. Don’t be afraid, our country is bigger than one individual. We can be thankful we live in a democracy that allows political discourse and disagreements without fear of retribution; that our ancestors were wise enough to create three branches of government, a democracy for the people.
You will obviously never be a white, straight man, but you are a strong, powerful, intelligent young woman and my dream is you understand that your day will come. It is not far off. It is in my lifetime. So be proud of who you are and what you believe in and one day when you are 50 years old you will read this letter and smile. You will have arrived.
I love you,