Whenever President Donald Trump does something deplorable – which is pretty much every goddamned week – there is always a portion of the outcry that asks “How do I explain to my children that it’s wrong even though the President says it?” This sentiment perturbs me to no end, and comes to a general problem I have with society believing children are no more intelligent than parrots.
The issue I take with this line of criticism is that it comes from parents who are clearly trying to teach their children to hold themselves to a high moral standard, yet at the same time believe that bad behavior can negatively influence their children to a higher degree than positive morals. President Trump treats women like things. That’s who he is. He verbally assaults women based on their physical appearance and intelligence, especially when they are objectively more intelligent than him. Now these people ask, “How can I explain to my son that this behavior is crude and demeaning?” or “How do I tell my daughter that she won’t be judged by her looks?”
How do you teach your son not to be a chauvinist pig? You explain that chauvinism is wrong using the same logic that you used to convince yourself. If you want to tell your daughter that she won’t be judged by her looks then you’re lying about the existence of pigs that will judge her by her looks. That is the way of the world, but it doesn’t have to be, it’s better than it used to be, and it will continue to get better because we teach the next generation why it is wrong.
Men like Donald Trump exist and they have power. We all know where to find people like him. Go to Wall Street, go to a Republican county, go to a Tory district, turn on Fox News – you’ll find these assholes. To profess that these people are not incredibly powerful is to shuffle children into a dream world where adults – authority figures – can do no harm. As authority figures themselves, parents have a vested interest in teaching their children not to question authority. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to question authority so that they don’t do something morally wrong just because their boss told them to. That way lies cops racially profiling, Muslim women having their burkas removed by the State, and guards openly torturing inmates.
The most patronizing thing about this parental criticism of Trump is that children already know that there are shit people. Any kid in school knows at least one other kid that is disrespectful in class. Why doesn’t this result in complete and total pandemonium? How is it that a school isn’t a hermetically sealed environment of well behaved children until that one little shit gets in and destroys the whole place? If these questions are so stupid then why do grown adults publicly ask “How do I explain to my children that the President of the United States is a massive asshole?”
Lots of people are massive assholes. Most of them aren’t also the President.
The better question is “How did we end up with this massive asshole as President?” I don’t know. I don’t think anyone really does right now. There are at least a half dozen congressional and criminal investigations trying to provide answers, which seem to be some combination of racism, populism, nationalism, sexism, treason, and “Russia.”
By all means, condemn the President when he acts like a piece of shit, but don’t act like the real tragedy of all this is that he might corrupt your children. The tragedy is that he is destroying the Office of the President and America’s standing around the world. If your children’s morals are so fragile that they can be corrupted by one powerful asshole and his friends then you’re just a shitty fucking parent.