If there is one thing — and it’s the only thing — about Trump’s candidacy and, barf, presidency that I am thankful for it is that it improved relations between my daughter Zoe and me. What is it they say: that the enemy of your enemy is your friend? Well, my and Zoe’s mutual disdain for Trump has brought us closer and given us some much-needed common ground.
We don’t agree on much. We love each other wholly and dearly, but she argues with me on just about everything — in a “tomayto tomahto” kind of way. Literally. She once argued that I was mispronouncing the number thirteen in Spanish. I have spoken the language for decades; she has had a class a week for less than a year. Thank goodness for our mediator, the Google.
Some of my friends dismiss this reliable opposition as a mother-daughter thang. Others (including my husband) say I have met my match in terms of stubbornness, even suggest it’s my comeuppance (my parents). One or all may be right.
But when Trump won the Republican primary, our petty arguments became fewer and further between. You see, I was mad. And righteous anger is something my 8-year old understands and relishes. She got mad with me when Trump threatened gay marriage (Her paternal grandmothers, while not married, are indeed a couple, so this hit home). She decried his treatment of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, said “hell no” to that wall, and asked constantly if her Mexican friend Nico and his family woud be okay. To this day, she doesn’t know the extent of his puss-grabbing offenses, but she knows he had shown a serious lack of respect for women. She worries he will reverse civil rights. I reassured her that there were legal protections in place to protect him from doing so, but I worry, too.
She started coming home with Trump “burn books” she authored in school. They varied in critique and subject matter and were generally of a fecal nature, but some of them attacked his proposed policies head-on.
Our newfound alliance has had its lighter moments: A friend got me a roll of Trump toilet paper and she announced that her next poop couldn’t come fast enough. She and her school friends nicknamed him “Donald Duck.” She can’t pass an eponymous Trump Tower without asking when they were tearing the Trump sign down. And for the first time ever/since, she bragged about her mother: telling all her friends that her mom was in Ohio to canvas for Hillary and dump the Trump.
So when November 8 finally rolled around, Zoe begged to stay up and watch the election results come in, to share the experience with her excitedly nervous parents; to see a smart, hardworking woman win and a bully lose. When it became dramatically less obvious that Hillary would win (and that it may go well into the night), we insisted she go to bed. She asked us to wake her up when Hillary won. When it looked like he would take it, all I could think was how am I going to explain this to her: A narcissistic bully and sex offender with no concern for other people (or OPP, for that matter) beat out an earnest, if imperfect, female candidate. So, I didn’t wake her up and cried myself to sleep while Ben, in a state of disbelief, continued watching the news we wished was fake on the living room TV.
The next morning I found her at the kitchen counter silently tearing up a picture of Trump that she had printed off the internet. My response was cancelling all social plans and aggessively hitting the Halloween candy (Next time a rabid, paranoid egomaniac runs for president, can they hold the election a little further off from Halloween? The in-house stash killed me). It’s fair to say Zoe’s response was more mature and less personally destructive than mine.
But like most things and like most 8-year-olds, she took her disappointment further: She began to discriminate against the few classmates (or, really, their parents) who came out of the closet and said they had voted for Trump. I had to warn my newfound ally to “Simma’ down nah” and show more tolerance than the man we both disdained. It seemed she listened…
I was proud to death of her. Not just because she joined me in what I truly believe was the good fight, but because she took a major disappoinment — her first of inevitably many — in stride. She turned the other cheek, and came home and watched Hillary’s graceful concession speech with me, as we exchanged knowing stares.
Come inauguration Day, she led friends in a playground “scream” at the strike of 11:30am, the time of his official swearing-in. That fateful night we mourned, together, as President Obama left our daily consciousness. We are indeed closer, for this shared mission and eventual disappointment. No one (who is sober or literate or not a member of the KKK) has praised Trump for his ability to unify people. But I gotta give him a shout out on this one. However begrudgingly.