After 8 years of being a parent I’ve gotten pretty good at shielding my children from content that I feel is inappropriate for them. I won’t watch Daredevil while they’re around, I won’t play Until Dawn with them in the room, or listen to music with swearing when they can hear it. One thing that I apparently wasn’t paying close enough attention to though is the evening news. I usually try and watch the news at least once a day but I’ll always change the channel if the kids are around and a story comes on that they would find disturbing or gruesome. I’ve always left it on though when they would talk about politics, and now I’m seeing that what my kids have heard about the presidential campaign is far scarier than any monster they might see on an episode of The X-Files.
I first noticed it when a story came on about Donald Trump and both of my girls got visibly upset. They yelled at the television “I wanna punch Trump in the face!” and “Kick him in the crotch!”. We had spoken about the campaign a few times around them before, but I was still surprised by the emotional reaction that they had. All of a sudden my sweet little girl transformed from Strawberry Shortcake to full on Gordon Ramsay. It became clear that not only were they paying attention to what was on the news, but it was having an effect on them too. They see the speeches on the news, they hear the rhetoric and the insults and they know what Donald Trump stands for and it scares them.
Both of my kids go to schools with a lot of diversity and when they hear about Trump wanting to send the children of immigrants back to Mexico, or the degrading comments that he makes about Muslims, they worry about their friends. They fear that their friends will be taken away and they’ll never see them again. And I don’t blame them. How do I comfort them and tell them that their friends will be okay? During the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota we took the girls down to one of the campaign headquarters to get yard signs and speak with the people fighting for equal rights. How do I explain to them that those rights could be taken away again? How do I tell my children that everything is going to be okay when I’m not convinced of that myself?
I’ve always steered clear of writing anything too political on Mega Dads for fear of alienating any readers, but what’s happening right now goes beyond politics as usual. This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. Donald Trump is as close to a real life supervillain as anything I’ve ever seen. The threat he poses to the future of this country is something that cannot be underestimated or ignored. His ideas are dangerous and ignorant, but they aren’t even what scare me the most. What is most terrifying is that Trump isn’t even the disease, he’s just the scan that shows us what we’ve always feared, that the cancer that is hate is far more widespread than we had ever feared. And his campaign tells people that the racism, sexism, homophobia and hate that they feel inside is okay. And that’s scary as hell. Even if Trump loses, the damage that he’s done may take years to repair.
The truth that I have to prepare to tell my children is that sometimes the bad guys win. Real life isn’t as awesome as it is in the video games and Donald Trump isn’t some boss fight where you can just keep shooting the red glowing spot in the middle of his massive orange head until he explodes. For as much as I tell my children that they have to work hard, tell the truth and treat others with respect, someone like Trump comes along and proves that you can ignore all of that crap and still get ahead in life. So what happens if he does win the election? What comes next when Donald Trump becomes the most powerful man in the world? It’s an almost unthinkable thought but one that we have to consider has a chance of becoming reality.
There are 3 pieces of advice that I’ll share with my daughters to try and give them hope if or when our 45th President of the United States is Donald J. Trump. 3 things that will hopefully guide them and help them bring about change.
- Educate yourself. And I don’t just mean in school. Learn the issues and learn the truth about them. Trump thrives off of the ignorance of his fans and their dismissal of those annoying things called facts. He can spread lies all day long but eventually the truth will win out.
- Love people. Not just your friends and your family, that’s the easy part. Try loving those you don’t understand, and those you don’t agree with. And maybe even most importantly, love those who might be your enemy. When you accept that everybody in this world is worthy of love and respect it shines a whole new light on things.
- And the last thing is probably the simplest. Just don’t be an asshole. You are no better than anybody else in this world, so please don’t act like it. We are all just doing our best to get through the day. Never step on anyone else to get ahead and lend a helping hand whenever possible. Not because of karma or getting into heaven or any other crap. Just because it’s the right thing to do.
If we follow these simple rules, even if our President doesn’t, things will be okay. Because love spreads faster than hate. And if that doesn’t work, try jumping on top of that disgustingly massive head of his three times in a row. Jumping on things 3 times always worked for Mario, it should work here too.