I’ve been silent about our country’s current political climate because I have far too many feels and they’re too much to process without feeling frustration and anxiety and anger and sadness and fear. As the mom of one very active toddler, I need to reserve most of my energy for wrangling him. But I feel that today is the right day to break my silence.
Today America gets a new president. A president that is the polar opposite of the previous president. A president that is the polar opposite of any previous president. He’s the least presidential person ever elected to the highest office in America, and he’s walking into the White House with the lowest approval ratings for an incoming president in modern history. But none of those things cause me worry. I believe that the American political system is in need of change, and I don’t think another career politician is necessarily the answer. I support the idea that fresh blood and fresh ideas in the White House can make a difference in our country. A good shake up once in awhile can be a good thing.
But here’s what does worry me. The President of the United States of America should be a person that our children can look up to and aspire to be. A person who reflects the founding principles of our nation and acts in a manner that we expect of our children and each other. A person who treats all humans with respect and dignity. The man who takes the oath of office today is not a man I would like my son to look up to as a role model. He doesn’t reflect our founding principles, and he doesn’t behave in a manner that I would ever tolerate from my son.
I know that many people have found Trump’s lack of political correctness or filter to be refreshing. And, while there are plenty of people who would say that I also lack a filter, the expectations of behavior for a president are different from those of the common American. He is the face of America to the world and should present himself with the austerity that his position requires. Many of those people also take no issue with his regular Twitter rants where he attacks anyone and everyone who disagrees with him. I believe in freedom of speech because it is granted to every American by the U.S. Constitution, and Trump is not exempt from those rights. But the President of the United States should be a person who knows the power of restraint and poise in the face of challenge and adversity. If my son were to ever use social media to demean and degrade another person, regardless of what they did to him, his punishment would be great.
Trump has gone on record many times before and during his campaign saying horrible things about women and Muslims and pretty much anyone he deems lesser. I don’t expect everyone in our country to hold the same beliefs as I do, but I do believe that it is a president’s job to protect ALL Americans, not just those with the right melanin levels or the deepest pockets. Even if one personally doesn’t approve of a lifestyle or culture, Americans are Americans regardless of their gender or religion or any other factors, and they deserve to be protected from hateful slurs and discriminatory practices. I will teach my son to be tolerant and accepting, but ultimately he will choose what he believes. But, regardless of what he believes, I will always expect him to treat his fellow humans with common decency and respect. He will be taught that words have meaning and power and that he needs to use them responsibly. Unfortunately the president of his country doesn’t feel the same way, and we’ll have to work twice as hard to reinforce what we expect of him.
The next four years will be challenging for many Americans, especially for those who are different. For those who are vulnerable. For those who live a life that is anything but perfectly mainstream. For those trying to raise young children to be respectful and tolerant Americans. But, I don’t just want my son to be tolerant and respectful. I want him to be determined and patient and resilient. I want him to stand up for what is right and to defend the defenseless, and these next four years will give me plenty of opportunities to model those traits for my son.
I hope with every fiber of my being that Trump proves himself to be a right and honorable president. I hope this election cycle goes down in history as one that surprised everyone because, despite doubts and waning support, Trump went on to be an effective and dignified man worthy of the office. I don’t want him to fail because his failure is all of our failure. But, regardless of what he does in the next four years, I will continue to raise my son with the same values and beliefs that I had yesterday. I pray that his president leads us in a way that makes that easier.