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home : columns : dear harriette October 23, 2020

8/29/2020 2:33:00 PM
Reader worried about polarizing election

DEAR HARRIETTE: This upcoming election is important for minorities like myself. I remember when Trump was elected president how scary it was to me. On my college campus, some students were happy, celebrating in the streets, and students like myself were filled with fear for our country. Those who were celebrating were screaming and yelling in the faces of those who displayed any type of discomfort or were saddened by the news. For myself and my friends, it was a traumatizing event. Some of our clubs created support groups to discuss our feelings. With November ahead, that day is the only thing that plays in my mind. How can I stay hopeful for the coming election and put aside the memories? -- Young Voter

DEAR YOUNG VOTER: The beauty of the American democracy is that everybody is encouraged to have an opinion and to express it. The First Amendment allows all of us the freedom of speech. As you witnessed, there were opposing views about the Trump presidency when he was elected, and they continue to this day.

Our country is frighteningly polarized right now, with extreme views and voices on both sides. Your job as a young voter is to be fully informed about the issues. This requires you to do independent research. If you simply look at the news, you will glean information shared from a particular political perspective based on the news source you choose. You need to pay attention to a healthy cross section of voices. Dig deep to learn what the presidential candidates are saying about the issues, and ask questions when you are unsure.

You should also encourage your young friends to vote. You have power in your ability to vote. Make sure that as many people as possible execute that power.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a single father with four girls. Their mother died about five years ago. Now my girls are teens and adults. One is off to college, and my oldest two are ready to move out. It will be me on my own with my youngest. I am so close with my girls, and I'm used to a full house. I really don't want my oldest to leave yet, no matter how old they get, but I won't say it to them. I know they are responsible, but I feel like they are rushing to leave because they want to. Why rush to be an adult and have bills when they can stay home with no worries? I just don't want them to take the next step right away. I cannot figure out if I am trying to protect them or protect myself. Should I tell them how I feel? -- Attached Daddy

DEAR ATTACHED DADDY: Grieving does not have a time limit. I am so sorry that you continue to feel residual grief and also that you are facing an empty nest with such trepidation. This is not an easy transition for a parent. And yet it is part of life. Please do not put the burden of your emotional state on your girls. You have to go through your process just as they have to become independent. Instead, be supportive as you let them know that the family home will always be there for them.

You may want to get grief counseling to help you sort through your feelings and set yourself on a healthy course for this new stage in your life.

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