parenting in the age of trump

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you say. Either you roll your eyes at my crybaby liberal ways when you read this title, or you nod your head in agreement. This divide we all are in is stark and very real.

Tonight I brought my kids to a diner. Just me and the three of them, it was a reward for my older son. We sat at our booth and as soon as we settled I overheard a couple. Two old ladies were discussing our new president at top volume.

It was pretty obvious they were big fans.

I kept thinking, Ohh, wrong! Or – how can they believe that? Or wishing they’d ask me my opinion. Which of course they didn’t, wouldn’t. They were having a private conversation at such a volume you’d think they were on stage performing, but it still was private.

Besides I’m not confrontational at all.

Anyway, at one point they started talking about me, and the kids, at the same decimal level. “Ooh, look at him. Cute baby. Good baby. Quiet!”

“They are all so good so quiet”

“Wow! Amazing kids!”

I didn’t know if I should thank them, smile at them or ignore them and pretend I didn’t hear.

I gave a silent cheer when they got up to leave and approached my table to tell me to my face: “Great, great, good kids”.

On the drive home I couldn’t get the ladies out of my head, their reverence for President Trump, and their utter lack of self-consciousness on discussing their approval in such a loud volume. My older son E knows the very basics of the past year’s politics – he knows we do not support Trump – and I started to get sad thinking about growing up with someone like Trump in charge.

Because – when you think about it- what is the phrase we always tell our kids? Maybe one day you’ll be president. It’s the ultimate honor, the ultimate job title. And all kids know the leader is a strong, good person. A person deserving of praise.

Okay, this is a romantic notion, but that’s certainly how I remember my childhood presidents of Regan, HW Bush, and Clinton.

I just don’t think I can see myself, ever, telling my children anything positive about Trump. He’s rude, crass, a liar, not curious about anything intellectual, he’s sexist, racist, I mean, it goes on and on. If I were to spin a positive light on him, I’d have to say he is a hard worker and a good salesman. That’s about it. Trying to raise responsible, civically minded children is harder now considering the mess we have in charge now.

I am also aware I just need to tell my six-year-old the very basics in regards to this president. He knows we didn’t support Trump, and he knows I find Trump lacking in character, and that’s probably all he needs to know. I have a “no-lie” policy with him; I don’t encourage the Santa myth, I’ve never given a cutesy explanation on where babies come from (I get very scientific and only give the most basic details he needs). So, it’s hard for me, when he asks, “Why is Trump president? Are you ok with that” not to answer him with a straight honest opinion.

I suppose this is the problem of someone like myself, stuck in that liberal bubble I wrote about after the election. Maybe I’m making to much of this and all this drama is in my head and I should just get over it. Maybe. But maybe not. For the time, I will focus on raising good kids. I won’t let my sensitive oldest kid know the unease I feel whenever Trump is on screen.

This new era our country is in already feels so tumultuous and it’s been but three days since the inauguration. Is it the midterms yet?

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