Today, as President Donald Trump endangered the lives of millions of Americans for generations to come with a single pen stroke, I found myself thinking a lot about the future. However, it wasn’t my future I was worried about. It’s the future of my potential children.
I have gone back and forth a lot over the last 5 years about whether or not I would like to have children. Some days I have immense self-doubt or bouts of selfishness; on those days, I say I’m not interested. On other days, I feel like I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I didn’t have children. But since November 8, nearly every day, my thoughts about procreation are laced with an immense fear that I didn’t previously have.
Donald Trump is the greatest threat to the American (and frankly international) future we have seen in our lifetime. He has weakened our relationship with our allies, enacted policies that deepen distrust with the Middle East, launched airstrikes that make terrorism more likely, promoted rapeculture throughout our nation, encouraged violence against people of color, and endangered the planet for generations to come. The damage he has done and will continue to do will leave ripples that stretch into many decades to come. It’s hard to want to bring a child into that.
In talking to my husband about this, I’ve found that he goes back and forth, too. In the end, though, he made a really good point. The people who support Trump are having babies. They’re teaching their ignorance, their hatred, and their bigotry to these babies. They’re trashing our planet with no regard for the future of our children. If we have any intention of saving this nation (or this planet), then we must create a force to counteract that. Intelligent young people need to have children and teach them to stand directly against this oppression. Otherwise, the US will fall victim to its own stupidity and crumble from the inside out.
A good friend of mine is a millennial mother and a true inspiration to the future parent in me. She is the perfect example of exactly why we need to raise children. She is single-handedly raising a magical little girl who is ready to be a reSISTER of the future. This little warrior has called Donald Trump out for being a bully and pleaded with him to be a nicer person. She has expressed horror at the racism she sees in this world and disappointment in how much hatred is directed at the LGBTQ community. She has attended her very first protest and is ready to stand up and fight for justice for the people around her, regardless of the color of their skin, who they love, or who they worship. I want my children to stand with people like my friend’s little girl and fight for what is just and right. I want my children to be and live the change we hope for. And if I choose to have children, I want to be even just half the mother that my friend is.
All of this has landed me on the solid conclusion that to have children in a time such as this is a direct act of resistance. To raise open-minded, sure-footed warriors for social justice is to take direct action to salvage what is left of the good in this country. We need to mount a resistance against regression, hatred, and environmental ignorance in this country, and if we are going to do that effectively, we have to outnumber those who spread it. We need to raise little humans who are willing to fight with us to honor and protect this earth. So, while I am terrified of the world my children could inherit, I have to put my faith in their ability to change it, honor it, and protect it.
And I am acutely aware that we are not all ready, able or willing to start creating mini progress-pushers. That’s OK. What we can do is have the hard conversations, combat the bigotry, and stamp out the ignorance before it spreads too far. We can fight to stand firm on climate change regulations that protect our air, our water, and our lives. If we can do that, then perhaps the resistance of the future won’t be as urgent as it is now. Perhaps then, we can buy our future warriors a little time and a little peace. There will always be room for progress and there will always be a need for resistance and change. It is up to us to ensure that the people who can achieve that are ready and in place.