In these few days after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the nation has turned to President Obama for guidance and reassurance. He has offered words of encouragement to the entire country about how to make sense of this confusing time.
During an extensive sit-down interview with The New Yorker, Obama talked with writer David Remnick about how he is processing this national shift and what he told his family — specifically his daughters Sasha, 15, and Malia, 18.
When it came to speaking with the first daughters about the impending Trump presidency, Obama made sure that he explained to his girls that life is complicated.
“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama Remnick. “Societies and cultures are really complicated.... This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it's messy.”
We learn from history that progress lives on a curve that goes up and down. In order for us to get ahead, there will undoubtedly be setbacks along the way; however, the president told his daughters that obstacles should not deter compassion.
“And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding,” Obama said he continued to tell Sasha and Malia. “And you should anticipate that at any given moment there's going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn't stop. ... You don't get into a fetal position about it. You don't start worrying about apocalypse. You say, OK, where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
Although these words were said to his daughters, they are words that everyone can live by, especially those who feel betrayed, frightened, or disheartened by Trump’s victory. We all need to keep pushing forward, because as President Obama said, this is the not the apocalypse, and we must remain strong.
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)