11/09/2016 09:47 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2017

I Failed My Children By Not Preparing For A Trump Victory

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My dear daughters:

When you huddled together on the sofa last night shaking with tears, a hole opened up in my heart.

And I sat down and cried right along with you.

Because I had promised you that Hillary would win.

You are the perfect ages to learn about how government works, and so I wanted you to understand the process and get excited about it. I showed you the inspirational videos on Hillary's website, I discussed with you what it meant to devote a whole life to public service, and I played for you Hillary's strongest moments from the debates. I excitedly explained what a "glass ceiling" meant.

I outlined Hillary's resume as a champion for children, for disabled people, for LGBTQ people. I compared "STRONGER TOGETHER" with "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" and explained to you why the first slogan unifies our country while the second slogan dangerously pits us against one another.

I walked you through the polling websites, I marveled with you at Hillary's incredible odds, and yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon buying party supplies for what I assumed was Hillary's inevitable success.

I never thought that a Trump victory was possible, and so neither did you.

But what is worse, I openly voiced my disgust for Donald Trump in front of you. I felt so certain that our country would reject a candidate whose rhetoric seemed so unapologetically un-American, I quoted for you the horrific things he said about immigrants and Muslims and girls, hoping that this would be a lesson in how NOT to behave, how NOT to think. I wanted Trump to be an example of how NEVER to look at America and its beautiful diversity. How never to think about your own self.

And so when he stunningly won last night, I was without the vocabulary to explain it. And you were without the tools to understand it.

Kids, the lessons you will have to take away from this experience are the same ones that I apparently also needed to learn:

Take nothing for granted.
Never underestimate the competition.
Always choose the high road.
Don't say things about a person you wouldn't say to their face.
Look for the good in people, even when they make it hard to find.
And remember that no matter what happens, tomorrow is always a new day, with unlimited possibilities.

But this is also true: a Trump presidency does not usurp the values that our family holds dear. We must stay keenly aware of our privilege in this society as white, straight, able-bodied people, and do everything in our power to elevate those who are routinely discriminated against. We must passionately stand up to xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. We must choose optimism over fear, secure in the knowledge that the arc of history does eventually bend toward justice. Now more than ever before, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Today I let you down. Today this country let Hillary down. But we must get back up -- just like Hillary did every time! -- and move forward. Stronger, together.