As a nation we're absorbed with the sideshow that is Donald Trump. Regardless of whether or not you are a supporter, you have no doubt recognized his charismatic, no regrets rhetoric. His words are often villainous, hate-filled, and attacking. These words are resonating throughout the nation at dangerous speeds. A portion of Americans are rallying behind his message of non-tolerance and elitism.
As a mother of young children who will become adults and teenagers under this potential presidency, I am gravely concerned. Children hear, children listen, and children emulate. Imagine a world where children are living and following out Trump messaging? What are the messages children are receiving from his words?
I Should Be President Because I Am Rich:
As a young married couple with our first child in our 20's, my husband and I both worked full time jobs in order to pay for the expenses of our family. We started out very small and have worked hard for what we have achieved.
Being a middle class family, we have worked tirelessly to help our children understand that hard word, dedication, and courage will be the catalyst to success in their future career paths. We have instilled in our children the value of the dollar. We show our children that working hard is honorable and valuable.
We're constantly reminding them that happiness and success is not inherently tied to personal wealth. We are privileged to own a home, drive a car, eat fresh foods, and carry a smartphone.
There's no doubt that Mr. Trump has built a successful brand. Just ask him he'll tell you. He'll tell you how rich he is. He'll show you his gold laden apartment, but he doesn't want to discuss his failures or relate to the non 1%.
So when Mr. Trump says to America "I'm Really Rich!" what my child hears is that success and opportunity is only available to the rich. That their "American Dream" should be rooted in the desire to be monetarily prosperous in order to be valued or respected.
His words teach children that the only way to "win" is to increase their net worth. Can you imagine how a nation of children who have grown up in a Trump presidency will manage corporate enterprises, treat their families and neighbors, or give to non-profits?
I "Cherish" Women:
Donald might cherish women in the bedroom with his arguably small hands, but he certainly has not cherished them in his spoken portrayal. His attacks on women aren't new to his presidential campaign. Nor are his attacks aimed at their politics, intellect, or social standing.
Each and every time Mr. Trump speaks negatively about a woman it is a direct attack on their appearance and/or a trait that is purely feminine in nature. Rosie is fat. Bette Middler is ugly. Ariana Huffington's unattractiveness is why her husband left her.
Ivanka Trump, his own daughter, is dateable. Megyn Kelly asked tough questions because she was menstruating (implied). Most recently he said, Hilary is only leading in the democratic polls because she's using her "woman card".
As a woman, I am not only appalled by his words but I refuse to allow my daughter, a child of this great nation, to be led by its president to believe that her femininity is something to be ashamed of. Society and media already speak negativity and doubt into our daughter's lives and hearts. Now the same message from the leader of the free world?
Raising a daughter in a nation where our president freely and openly attacks women is terrifying and will cause major long reaching esteem issues in young women around the world. Now let's discuss what these behaviors teach my teenage son. Women can be objectified by their appearance, shamed for their biology, and chosen solely for their arm candy ability. He'll believe that very public attacks on the appearance of a woman are normal and accepted. He'll believe that he is entitled to use these words since they are the rhetoric of the nation's leader.
"Let's Build A Wall"
The Donald has been exceedingly clear how he feels about immigration. He's also said some very interesting and offensive things about people categorized in many ethnic groups. He uses words like rapists and criminals and even justified the attack of a black protestor at an Alabama rally. A Trump presidency would mark an even greater decline in tolerance. We're already a nation battling the race war. People are already attacking other people in the name of Donald Trump's policies. Children are already speaking out in the school system against other children because they've heard something Mr. Trump has said. People are taking up their own arms encouraged by his words. While my middle class white children may not encounter racism directed towards them, I can certainly understand the fear many families will face as they send their children off to school each morning. As if as parents we're not already fearful enough for our children.
Children are deeply affected by the words they hear and the attitudes of others. Mr. Trump, children are hearing what you are saying! My children will believe that "the blacks" and "the Muslims" and "the Mexicans" are different from them. This stark contrast in the message of tolerance and acceptance so many parents have been instilling in their children is not only terrifying, it's deadly. When we start building literal and figurative walls we teach our children that anyone who is different from you in anyway should be shut out, hated, and shamed. You tell children that it's ok to judge someone by what side of the wall they're on. This leads to an even greater rise in racial and ethnic inequality, intolerance, and violence among peers. The idea that my children could be the next generation of a nation with a declining level of tolerance is absolutely unacceptable.
Now as a parent, I will fight you Mr. Trump. I will reject every word you inherently speak to my children. I will continue to teach my children that hard work and tenacity are the only way to be successful. I will teach them that successful people are kind, generous, and humble. I will teach them that the size of their giving heart is greater than flaunting the size of their pocket book. I will shroud my daughters in messages of love and acceptance. I will teach her that your words should have no relevance to her inner thoughts. I will teach my son that women are to be honored, respected and treated as equals. I will instill in him the desire to be a man who can look beyond a woman's appearance and into her heart. I will disavow your backwards, anti-feminine rhetoric. I will encourage him see your words as villainous and antiquated. I will teach him that women are powerful, strong, and to be revered. My children will be taught to see beyond a person's flesh tone or upbringing. They will know that every family is unique. Every person is unique. Every lifestyle is unique. And that each and every human they encounter should be treated with exceeding respect and love. That is the president I want for my children. That is the message our children should be hearing. That is the way to make America great again!
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