When you’re a kid, they tell you the greatest thing about this country is that absolutely anyone can grow up to be president, even someone you’d never imagine.
And then he does.
Putting politics aside for a moment because I literally can’t even, let’s ruminate on basic human character, or the atrocious lack thereof. As a parent, the election of a pompous and petulant bully into the highest office in the land sets a tricky example for the spongy, observant little pre-people we are trying to usher thoughtfully into humanity.
We fear for immigrants and minorities, our health care, our press, and our planet, yes, yes, yes. But any parent who denies also being terrified of the long-term impact this clown’s clamorous invectives and derelict appointments will have on little Logan’s and Chloe’s psyches is telling a whopper of Trumpian proportions. I mean big league. HUGE.
Because what’s the message here? That if you’re an egotistical pig who says vulgar things about your own daughter, derides prisoners of war, and mocks disabled people, then a minority of voters and a few Russian hackers will make you king and move your golden toilet and, ahem, showers into the West Wing? It’s like winning the Little League World Series on a steady diet of Slurpees and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, you guys. It’s anarchy.
But don’t fret, my quivering kid-herding brethren. With the nation’s top media outlets finally calling out BRATUS on his infantile antics, his approval rating lower than any incoming president in the last 40 years, and even C-listers refusing cash money to play at his inauguration, we have a plan: If our new president can’t be a role model for kids, he can be a shining example of what happens when you demand all of the attention in the entire world and then act like an astonishing ass. In fact, it’s looking like he’ll provide generous daily lessons for your family’s own handy How-Never-to-Conduct-Yourself-in-Life Handbook.
For example, a man whose foreign-policy strategy may well boil down to predawn Tweets of “I know you are, but what am I?” affords us a terrific opportunity to talk to our kids about handling criticism. Should you acknowledge it and thank the person for their feedback? Should you ignore it and let it roll off your back? Or should you maybe explode in a petty and poorly spelled tirade of utterly irrelevant insults that prove you’re both uninformed and unhinged? And which option is most befitting the person who commands America’s 1.5 million troops?
Here are some other great lessons gleaned from watching Trump in the last month alone:
• When you lie more often than you tell the truth, people stop believing you.
• Failing to laugh at yourself makes you even funnier to those laughing at you in the first place.
• Think before you speak — and before you Tweet. Things you say on social media never go away.
• Saying you’re not racist does not mean you’re not racist.
• Denying and deflecting wrongdoing rather than taking responsibility for your actions makes you look like an idiot. No, it reveals you to be an idiot.
• Listen to how someone sounds who’s always bragging about himself. Now look at the size of his hands. Do you think there might be a connection?
• Never vote in anger. Look what happens.
A couple of friends of mine are using the transcripts from Trump’s first press conference to teach their kids valuable lessons, like how to edit poor grammar, and why a decent vocabulary is so important.
Bit by bit, we’ll show our children that in this country, absolutely anyone can grow up to be better than the president. Then again, it’s possible our progeny will reject their new head of state as a role model — even without our help.
Said another friend: “My daughter, unprompted, saw him on TV and said, ‘I don’t like Donald Trump. He says stupid too much.’
Starshine Roshell is the author of Broad Assumptions.