It's Mother's Day and this election has me thinking about mothers past, present, and future -- and what I will say to my future grandchildren if they ask me what happened to our democracy and to civility in 2016.
We've been bombarded with so much disrespectful behavior from Donald Trump, the current presumptive Republican nominee, that seeing it in the news is the new normal. Trump has called so many decent people so many terrible names that we hardly even notice anymore when the next bullying remark shows up on TV.
But we notice when it shows up in our kids.
Words matter. Words set the parameters of civil behavior in our nation, which in turn, impacts how kids behave. Moms know this. Dads know this. Trump just doesn't seem to care.
Donald Trump has repeatedly bullied women he doesn't like, calling them: "Fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs," and, "disgusting animals." And when Trump didn't like how Megyn Kelly of Fox News was doing her job, he said: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her... wherever..."
Trump's also repeatedly made completely flat out racist and totally unfounded statements like that people coming from Mexico to the USA are, "Criminals, drug dealers, rapists." He also unbelievably failed to immediately disavow David Duke and the KKK. And, he has stated that there should be a "total and complete shutdown" of entire religious group, Muslims, entering our nation.
As parents know, sticks and stones can break bones, and words really do matter. Sadly, we can already see the toxic impact of Trump's discourse on our children and in our communities.
Case in point: During a basketball game between two high schools in Indiana, students at one high school chanted "Build that wall" as they raised images of Presidential candidate Donald Trump while they played an opposing team whose players and fans were heavily Hispanic. This isn't an isolated incidence, another game in a different state, Iowa this time, was interrupted by students shouting "Trump, Trump, Trump" at the players and fans from a school with a student-body that is nearly half Hispanic.
Further, in one recent study, more than two-thirds of teachers surveyed reported that students--mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims--expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.
What's happening right now in our nation is bigger than politics.
Donald Trump is wrong for our country, for our children, for women and families, for businesses, and for our communities. Moms recognize a bully. A bully is someone who divides people. A bully is someone who preys on people's worst fears and offers false solutions that just spread more pain and anger.
A bully is not a leader.
Words matter and policy matters too. And the only thing more toxic for our country and our communities than Trump's hateful and divisive rhetoric are his misguided policy prescriptions. Policies that would make it harder for women to support their families and make their own choices when it comes to healthcare and their careers.
For instance, Trump brushes off the importance of equal pay for women, saying things like, "Well, you know, the marketplace is going to make sure of it." And he once suggested family leave policies should actually be scaled back noting how pregnancy was "an inconvenience for a business." Trump even complained once that employed mothers might not give him "100 percent" at work. Trump's decades-long record of denigrating women and promoting misogyny is bad for our country, bad for business, and bad for our families.
The reality is that women, moms, and working families are struggling and this type of false narrative that Trump is spreading will only make it worse. Women now earn only 79 cents to a man's dollar as women are now half of our entire paid labor force. Moms and women of color experience even bigger wage hits. In fact, being a mom is now a greater predictor of wage and hiring discrimination than being a woman.
Study after study show that this particular type of sexism that Trump is spreading has a significant negative real-world impact: For instance, one study found that with equal resumes and job experiences, moms were offered jobs 80% less of the time than non-moms and $11,000 lower annual starting salaries. Men, on the other hand, were offered $6,000 more if they were dads. Moms are also judged more harshly in the labor force and are taken off the management track for fewer late days than non-moms.
It can't be ignored that a full 82% of women in America become moms at some point so this type of discrimination impacts most women.
All of this discrimination is happening despite the fact that studies show that the more women and moms who are in corporate leadership, the higher the corporate profits. Yes, profits. The marketplace most certainly isn't fixing the problem of unfair pay as Trump has suggested.
In fact, sexist ideas like the ones that Trump is spreading are not only harming women, but also are harming the marketplace as a whole. Studies also show that our GDP would be increased by at least 3% if women, who are the primary consumers, in our consumer-fueled economy, had pay parity.
Donald Trump is wrong for business, he's wrong for women, and he's wrong for our country. We need real solutions to lift our families and our economy, not toxic rhetoric to turn us against each other.
We need strong role models for our kids, ones that don't spread hate and division. We expect our politicians to be positive forces for change that lifts everyone in our society. On the Democratic side, this year we have candidates who have spent decades fighting to bring us together, to lift us up, and to build better nation for everyone. They each speak to and inspire our better natures.
And Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee with 3 million more votes and 285 more pledged delegates than Bernie Sanders, has spent a lifetime rolling up her sleeves as she fights for women and girls and to break down barriers for everyone.
She's rolled up her sleeves for paid family leave and childcare, two policies which studies show help lower the wage gap along with lifting families and the economy, even when the spotlight wasn't on her. About women in the workplace, Clinton has called pay equity one "of the biggest issues to come to the forefront of our political lives," along with affordable childcare and paid family leave.
This high prioritization level is necessary: Women are 50% of the entire paid labor force for the first time in history, and three-quarters of moms are now the primary or co-breadwinner, while our public policies lag behind our modern labor force in a way that hurts our global competitiveness. For instance, the US is the only industrialized nation in the world without some form of paid family leave, a policy which improves retention and productivity for businesses, cuts infant mortality by 25%, and saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.
To be clear, Hillary also walks the walk: While in the U.S. Senate she cosponsored and introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act and also cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that was enacted in 2009.
Trump has brushed off Hillary's work in this area, by saying: "Well, I think the only card she has is the woman's card!"
Hillary's response was: "If talking about equal pay and paid leave and more opportunities for women and girls is playing the gender card, then deal me in."
Deal me in too. Because on this Mother's Day, I'm standing for equality and against bullying. #ImWithHer all the way because when my future grandchildren ask me what I did in 2016 when faced with a candidate who repetitively made sexist and racist comments that divide our nation and hurt our children, I want to be able to say that I did all I could to fight hate and to support a candidate who will lift up families and our economy, a candidate who will bring people together instead of dividing them, a candidate who is proud to carry the #WomanCard because she knows women contribute so much to our nation.
This Mother's Day, join me in standing behind Hillary Clinton and in giving Donald Trump a "time out" from presidential politics.