OK, middle school girls...the election is over. You can come out from behind the couch, from under your bed... um, are you actually in your locker? We know, it was a long night full of weird math and big surprises.
The confetti didn't fall. The fireworks never came. But you know what?
And while it might not have been the national milestone your social studies teacher kept promising, history was made nonetheless. This is how democracy works, girls. It's hard. Polls can be off, pundits can be wrong, parents can be speechless. But when a choice is offered and a nation speaks, that's democracy.
And if you think this election was hard-fought and divisive, flip back a few chapters in your history book and ask Abigail Adams and her founding girlfriends what they witnessed.
Because if Abigail Adams had access to Twitter today, here's what your phone might look like:
@AbbyAdams - UNbelievable. No matter how many times I said 2 #remembertheladies...never happened. No choice but 2 keep trying, girls. #WithHerSince1776
@ImSewBetsyRoss - Srsly @AbbyAdams, crazy nite! Thrilled 4 his daughters but what 2 tell ours? #HidingUndertheStars #AndStripes
@VeryFirstFLOTUS - Deep breath, ladies. This is the republic our #foundingboys built. Privilege of democracy = accepting voice of the ppl w full heart. #NoLie
@ElizaInTheSchuyler - Exctly. Tell ur girls this: Eyes forward. Chin up. We'll have a new girl in the round room someday, but we r patriots first & #UnitedWeStand
And that's the ballgame, girls. The office of the Presidency is bigger than any one person in one room...whatever shape. And a peaceful transfer of power is essential for any democracy to move ahead.
This can be hard to absorb in middle school. We get it.
For those of you on sports teams, think of it in these terms: Good sportsmanship is always admired. Players gracious in both victory and defeat are the ones you want on your side. Captains who can inspire while they lead are the ones you want to follow. You might not like the call at the plate or the score on the board, but everybody salutes the flag at the start and shakes hands at the end.
Keep that in mind in the days ahead.
You will likely hear a few more angry words from the stands...but you're in middle school now and grown up enough to separate riled-up rhetoric from truly constructive commentary. Try to express your own opinions in a thoughtful way and be respectful as others do the same. Coming into your own in an advanced democracy isn't always easy.
But you have been given a gift to grow up under this flag.
And the way you repay it is to embrace the smooth transfer of power our founders put in place and then to rise to the example they, and their wives, put forth. Keep your speech...and your tweets...forward-looking and optimistic. We were patriots before we were party members, and this nation needs your hope, your faith, your leadership and yes, your developing patriotism now more than ever.
Get out there. Make a difference. Make Abigail Adams proud.