November 8 was election day. November 9 was a day of protests. November 10 is the day of reflection.
As everyone comes to terms with the idea of a Donald Trump presidency, Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar-winning writer of classic films like The Social Network and A Few Good Men, but more importantly, the creator of the White House-set show The West Wing, chose to come to terms with reality in the way he knows best: He wrote – a letter to his 15-year-old daughter and his wife.
The letter, an emotional, sometimes profane piece to the ‘Sorkin girls’ was published by Vanity Fair on Wednesday.
“Well the world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from. That’s a terrible feeling for a father,” he began. “The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate.
“We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world.”
Sorkin, who is perhaps one of the best, most awarded writers working in Hollywood right now, is known for his distinct style, his rapid-fire conversational dialogue, and the passionate speeches he often writes for his characters to deliver. But here, it’s Sorkin making the speech. And like so many other messages coming out in the wake of the election results, his message too is one of hope.
“First of all, we remember that we’re not alone. A hundred million people in America and a billion more around the world feel exactly the same way we do,” he says. “We’re not powerless and we’re not voiceless.”
“We get involved. We do what we can to fight injustice anywhere we see it—whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves. Our family is fairly insulated from the effects of a Trump presidency so we fight for the families that aren’t. We fight for a woman to keep her right to choose. We fight for the First Amendment and we fight mostly for equality—not for a guarantee of equal outcomes but for equal opportunities. We stand up.”
“America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours.”
He ends by looking to the future. Not a future filled with hate, but a better future in which his daughter will be able to vote for the first time.
“And three years from now we’ll fight like hell for our candidate and we’ll win and they’ll lose and this time they’ll lose for good. Honey, it’ll be your first vote.”
“The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.