Down with Name Calling: What My Daughter and Our Nation's First Child Can Teach Us

A while back I had a dialogue with my oldest daughter about name-calling, and how this form of bullying and humiliation is typically associated with children and youth -- yet it's adults who are by far the worst culprits, and if their younger counterparts eventually join the name-calling bandwagon, it's because of them.

My daughter Cali, for one, takes me and anyone else in her orbit to task for even the most ostensibly gentle name-calling; in her book, it's more deliberate than meets the eye. Sad to say, in my case, she's right. I'm far more sensitive and away of my real intentions now when it comes to name calling, and that there likely is more 'bite' to my words than I realize -- and far, far more aware of the impact it has on my children and others.

Thank you, Cali.

Katie Rich of Saturday Night Live (or formerly of Saturday Night Live, given that the writer's name is no longer in the show credits) was recently castigated far and wide for her absolutely senseless Twitter post about President Trump's son Barron.

That Ms. Rich actually was egotistical and 'blind' enough to believe that her post -"Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter," she posted -- was in any way shape or form 'funny,' speaks to just how low some of us adults have sunk.

Katie Rich's remark wasn't just, as she put it in her mea culpa, "insensitive;" it was cruel, vile, beyond malicious -- and directed at a kid who by all indications seems as natural and genuine and warm a kid as you might hope to find; something even more admirable given that his father seems to lack all such qualities.

Ms. Rich's animosity towards 'The Donald' clearly knows no bounds -- so much so that she doesn't realize just how much like him she is. And so it goes that many tend to despise those whom they are most alike....

Chelsea Clinton, who lived under the White House glare, was one of the first to come to Barron's Trump's defense, sort of.

On her own Twitter page, Chelsea wrote, "Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does -- to be a kid."

I wish she'd been far more forceful.

Chelsea added on the same post, "Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids." Why she felt she had to add this calculated politically correct statement to the post is disappointing to me; she could've saved that for another day. It should have been all about coming to the succor of Barron.

In this age of off-the-charts incivility, deliberate and almost sociopathic maliciousness, and the extreme polarization that ensues from this, the best that Katie Rich could muster when she was made to realize (likely only she was bombarded, even by political allies, with condemnation) that what she did was wrong was issue this Twitter statement: "I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry."

In this age of extraordinary divisiveness, the one things Americans seem to still agree on is that we do not do not do not ever allow derision of the children of our Presidents. Never. It is off limits, we all agree.

Or nearly all of us except those adults in positions of some authority and considerable media access who never appear to learn this lesson, and pay a great price.

When President Obama's children were thoughtlessly taken to task about their style of dress, the GOP staffer who did this all too smarmy adultish act had little choice but to resign.

Sadly, when Rush Limbaugh mocked Chelsea Clinton's looks when she was First Daughter, he got away with it; Rush seems to get away with anything, just as The Donald does when he mocks a disabled reporter, when he makes misogynistic remarks about women, when he boasts about being a serial groper -- and rarely has the basic human decency to own up to what he did.

So little surprise, perhaps, that people like Katie Rich who likewise feel they have carte blanche 'right' to issue the cruelest taunts feel empowered by their sick name-calling and bullying and taunting predecessors, Rush and the Donald, who have a free pass in virtually area of deliberate dehumanization they might choose to exercise.

Thankfully, kids do not seem to take their marching orders in name-calling in this regard from adults. I've not read a single article about kids making fun of our nation's First Children.
Thankfully, kids like Barron Trump and my own daughter Cali listen to their own inner drummer, and are sensitive and empathetic to the core in this regard.

If only we adults would observe and emulate them. Because we do not start out our lives with such a pathetic whimper in which it is programmed in our DNA to behave so badly. Rather, we are innately hard-wired to be empathetic.

Some if not most of us who are parents are tempted surely to wonder: Who raised Katie Rich, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, to think bullying and traumatically damaging name-calling was okay?

Or did they somehow manage to 'learn' such despicable behavior on their own, energized by their adult followers perhaps?

How can they and her like 'unlearn' such behavior?'

My answer -- from kids. From Barron. From my Cali. From most others who have not yet been infected by adults to model name-calling.

In this case, kids know best - until and unless they come to 'unknow' this from their thoughtless and bullying adult 'betters' -- or are really adult 'worsers.'