Sheila Simmons

Sheila Simmons

His trusting, innocent eyes stretched wide. With what? Shock? Fear? Disbelief?

Upon chasing the sleep out of his eyes and brushing his teeth for school, my 13-year-old posed, “Mom, what are we going to do now?” — an indication that it was all three.

Shock, fear and uncertainty is likely what we all felt the morning after Election Day, when the idea of Donald Trump as leader of the free world leaked into our consciousness, like poison.

With shades from a set of “The Twilight Zone,” I drove that morning to his school and work, past plastic “Hillary 2016” lawn signs still lining Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a remnant of another time, a time before …

Some aren’t taking America’s vote very well. In Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, crowds are expressing their refusal to join Trump’s America, linking arms as they march up four-lane highways and bearing signs reading slogans like, “Trump: Not My President” — a fitting Third World response to a campaign season whose talk of rigged elections and refusals to concede defeat bore Third World reflections throughout.

I can’t join the protests. For me, I left it all in the voting box on Tuesday, and now yearn for some peace and forward movement. But the protests somehow soothe me and the wounds are still raw from this election. They are like a poke in the eye to a guy who proclaimed he’d only accept election results if he won, a guy who railed against the voting system and prepped the nation to question the legitimacy of whatever results the election returned.

Those of us who hoped to leave our kids a better world know this election decision does not bode well for such. Still, I find myself hoping, even more than I had hoped with Obama.

I hope that President Trump is more like the reality television show host on NBC than he is the vicious, red-meat-tossing Republican presidential candidate he exhibited on the news. I hope he’ll quickly tire of the minutiae of Washington, that he will yearn for the high life of New York and glitzy destinations of the world enough to keep his itchy fingers off anything nuclear-related or fatally provoking.

Some Trump opponents want to fight. Some want to plan — what do we do now? How do we go about it?

Others, like my son, want to move. He’s open to Canada or the Caribbean. I tell him we are not moving. I tell him we, too, are America. We’re staying for Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells and the Tuskegee Airmen. We’re staying for my grandmother and for his grandmother and for all those Blacks whose sweat and tears fortified American soil.

The reality of this nightmare will play out in the years to come, but I assure him, the ancestors didn’t bring us this far to let go now. We are approaching a new, uncertain chapter in American history. Hold on, and get ready.

Sheila Simmons is an award-winning journalist and a public relations specialist. She is the author of “Memoir of a Minnie Riperton Fan.” She can be reached at ssimmons@phillytrib.com or www.simmonssheila.com.

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