How to Talk to Your Kids About Donald Trump

Recently my 9-year-old daughter asked, “Now why do we hate Donald Trump again?” I did the boring Responsible Thing and answered, “I don’t like the word ‘hate’. I prefer ‘strongly, strongly, strongly, dislike and don’t respect plus he’s dangerous plus infinity plus one’” and then got ready to reel off all the things that make Trump a squirrel-topped garbage mouth of a candidate but I only made it as far as “racist” and her eyes bugged out.

But let’s be honest here, being the kid of the person who wrote this and lives in Vermont surrounded by Bernie Sanders’ supporters including a friend who makes these and another friend who made these and yet another friend who made this isn’t exactly what you’d call being surrounded by unbiased opinions. Still, when she concluded, “If you take the T off of Trump you end up with ‘rump’ and that’s what he is, a butt” it was hard to disagree.

So if you’re finding yourself in similar conversations with your kids and you don’t know what to tell them that won’t lead you down the dark path of picking up a brick and repeatedly dropping it on your head over and over again in the hopes that one day you’ll be DUMB ENOUGH to understand what in the bloody hell is going on in this country right now, please, allow me:

Did you and Dad really watch The Apprentice?

Not only did we watch The Apprentice but we watched The Celebrity Apprentice too. BOOM. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Gene Simmons try to do your job. Donald Trump is a showman, and a very good one at that. And that’s where I’d like him to stay, contained within a reality show that I can turn off.

So what is there to be afraid of then?

Typically when someone you don’t agree with is elected, there are all sorts of theoretical things to be afraid of. But if Trump gets elected, the very real thing that would happen is that we’d confirm once and for all what a large swath of the globe already believes—that we’re just as Yosemite Sam and xenophobic and blinded-by-goofball-fame as they think we are.

That we, the country with a 151-foot tall woman at the entry proclaiming, 
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me”

is now more like the angry old man standing on the porch with a shotgun hollering, “!!GET OFFA MY LAWN!!”

That we no longer believe in one of the most critical passages from the Declaration of Independence: 
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So what we have to be afraid of is not just one man, but of all of the long-term damage that he could do, like a tiny wave that we send out into the world only to have it return to our shores as a tsunami. That harm could come to the most vulnerable, to those already discriminated against, and to women who, let’s be honest, haven’t had a great run of it lately. That we could alienate our allies and people around the world who still believe that this country — while deeply, incredibly flawed — is still one of the most happenin’ countries on Earth. A place that welcomes both the persecuted and the ambitious, the dreamers and the doers. A place where you would be proud to grow up.

Why doesn’t he want Muslims to come into our country?

Well, this is what his website says, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Figure out what’s going on this country, LOL. Good luck with THAT re: literally everything.

The standards for your book report at school and mine for writing on bathroom walls are more stringent than a Presidential candidate’s requirement to cite actual facts, instead mentioning “various polling data” when he goes on to say, “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that … have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” I assume that he’s talking about toddlers.

Make America hate again®

But let’s get back to the facts at hand, he’s built a Presidential platform on discriminating against an entire religious group and that’s just not what this country is about. Even the National Review didn’t agree for poop’s sake. And if you think I’m just being biased (well, I mean, I AM), just know that the UK is considering BANNING HIM because he would “not be conducive to the public good.” But by all means, let’s give him ALLLLL the free media he can choke down.

Why does he hate women so much?

“I will be the best thing that ever happened to women.” He said that. Hear me now and believe me later, if a boy or man ever says something like this to you, near you, or in your zip code, RUN as if you’re being chased by not one but two camera crews from 60 Minutes.

Look, he’d likely tell you that he actually loves women so much that he just keeps on marrying ‘em! But anyone who says that sexual assault is a given, that women succeed based on manipulation or their looks, and that women who don’t agree with him are losers, ugly or disgusting does not love (or at least respect) women. The only difference between him and a loudmouth at a bar is actually, nothing really. I know, I know, there’s the “piles of money” thing. Which only goes to show that money might buy gold-plated toilets but it doesn’t buy class. I’m sorry, was that redundant?

Seriously, what is on his head?

Frankly, I’m hesitant to even get into this with you. Trump has been in the public eye — and I mean right in our eye like a grain of sand — since the eighties. And the hair, the hair!, is always commented upon, made fun of, photographed and cartooned. People much smarter and funnier than I am have taken a crack at this one and even they can’t always land the joke.

But here’s my straight up answer — I think it’s real, it’s just one of those “looks” that gets more out of control with time, like someone who happened upon their favorite hair style in 10th grade and just. can’t. let. it. go. But over time the waves and swoops got wavier and swoopier, the color ripe to become its own character in a children’s book, and its final form is a caricature of the concept sketch it started out as.

I like to call it the Tangerine Beret of Shame.

Can he really become our President? Why is he even running?

Look, when George W. Bush ran for President we all thought he was one big laughy-laughy joke. A bunch of us were just like, “AH HA HA HA that dum-dum will NEVER get elected!” Well, guess what, that dum-dum totally got elected. Twice. I mean “elected” once and then for real elected and either way we were stuck with him for eight years and with the repercussions of those eight years right to this very day. And even given all of that, Saturday Night Live was right. In comparison, Bush is lookin’ pre-tty good right about now.

So I guess the answer is, never underestimate how dramatically American voters can impact the future of our country simply by being more against than for. Sometimes, “the lesser of two evils” becomes the actual evil.

As to why he’s running, seriously, I don’t even know. But the ego is a Hungry, Hungry Hippo and I’d say his hippo is hungrier than most.

When you say “We might move to Canada if he gets elected”, what does that mean?

Well, it’s a favorite threat of whichever side loses in a Presidential election. Which reminds me, has anyone even asked Canada if that’s okay? It’s like we all assume that Canada will leave the light on for us with a little note that says, “So happy you’re here! Here are some slippers and a cup of tea and sleep in as late as you want!” but if I was Canada I’d put 17 deadbolts on the door and smash the porch light with a hammer.

Anyway. I have to say that this time, THIS TIME, when I blather about moving to Canada if Trump gets elected, I might actually mean it.


Because it was 2015. And now it’s 2016. And we should be better than this.

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