My daughter jumped in the car today after school, her hair whipping around in the fall wind that swooshed in as she opened the door, threw her backpack on the seat next to her, closed the door, and fastened her seatbelt. As we moved out of the pickup line, she began to talk with an intensity usually reserved for trying to arrange a sleepover or to convince me to give up the last ear of corn-on-the-cob.

Miss Ten: Mom, is it true that Mitt Romney once held a boy down and cut off his hair because the boy was gay?

Me: I don't know at all if the boy in question was gay, but yes, Romney and some other boys did do that. It was during the time when long hair on boys was seen by some people as antisocial and wrong.

M10: What does that matter?? It's a terrible thing to do!

Me: Yes, it is.

M10: Is it true too that he used to pretend he was a policeman?

Me: Yes.

M10: What???? Isn't that illegal?

Me: Oh, yes, it certainly is.

M10: Mom! What kind of person does things like this?? Why?

Me: I think...I think it tells you something about that person's character, how they were raised, how they think.

M10: Why didn't he ever get in trouble? Why didn't he go to jail?

Me: (sighing) Sometimes...things aren't fair.

M10: He was a bully. That's a bully.

Me: Yes.

M10: Oh, Mom.

Me: I know.

M10: I feel like crying.

Me: Don't! Remember, no matter what happens today or any other day, there are good, fair, and honest people who will always be working as hard as they can to do the right things. All we can do is try our best to be kind, and call out bullies when we see them. It's just something we have to do all our lives. It's part of our responsibility to ourselves and the rest of the world.

M10: Don't you ever get sad?

Me: Sure. But I've been through a lot of elections now, and some where I felt really terrible about who won. I just can tell you that there's always a chance for us to make things better, at some point.

She went silent for the rest of the trip home, jumped out of the car when we got home, and turned on the TV to watch the election results. I looked at her and saw myself 40 years ago, laying on my stomach in front of the TV, never thinking for a minute "my" candidate wouldn't win.

The journey uphill never ends, but I'll walk with her as far as I can go.