I think, for the sake of our youth, someone other than the two major candidates needs to be America's next president. Even if it's too late.
The things that have been said about Clinton and Trump, the memes that have been shared, the jokes that have been abused, are too cruel. At this point, if either one of them wins our children will have seen that winner - the next president - abused and represented in unprecedented ways.
Everyone will then have to define for themselves what that means about who we are. What that means about leadership and about America's leader. This can be done in a healthy way, even if Clinton or Trump win, but it won't be easy. And it's unlikely that we'll choose healthy, anyway.
If one of the third party candidates becomes the next president it will be easier to teach ourselves and our children valuable and healthy lessons about leadership, about ourselves, and about America. Honestly, I think it's easier to find a healthy answer to "Who's that?" when our kids and students ask about the new president than "Isn't that the one that's supposed to be locked up?" or "That's the guy that grabs vaginas, right?"
Policy matters. It does. But the message matters most. We tend to insist on policies that match the messages we have been taught or awakened to believe. We must focus on the message we're sending.
Full disclosure, I can't vote. I'm not American. So my thoughts are honestly an outsider's thoughts (albeit an outsider who has learned to love a lot of things about this country she now lives in). And of course, because I am me, my thoughts are slanted toward a parenting perspective. But the youth are the future. They are brilliant and creative and actively deciding who they are and what they want to become. They are our most valuable asset. It only makes sense to consider them most.
The message matters. We will weave reasons for how and why we choose our leadership based on who becomes the next leader. And if the next leader has been exposed as dangerous scum (whether warranted or not), well, the reasons we come up with for why they are the leader are more likely going to be dangerous, too.
I know it's likely too late. But I don't think we should let it be. It matters too much.
However, if the next president is either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, I invite all of us to work our best to create an emotionally healthy, forward thinking, connection oriented, respectful and encouraging message. It can be done, I'm completely confident that it can be done if we insist on it.
I'm exhausted and bruised from all the cruelty. My sons are, too. But it's them I worry about most because they are still deeply in that building themselves and their understanding of the world phase. Teens and young adults. Our youth needs us to step up right now.
Please, let's step up.