By Mini Timmaraju
Every day I walk into Hillary Clinton’s campaign HQ, sit down at my desk with the women’s vote team and turn on the TV. And each morning as I watch the cable news headlines flash by I have the same thought — there is a lot at stake in this election. There is a lot at stake for women, that’s for sure, but the stakes are high for everyone who is concerned about the future of our country. At a time when Americans are looking for a president who can bring people together, Donald Trump continues to do nothing but divide us, tearing people down with hateful rhetoric, bigoted policy proposals and bullying and demeaning anyone who disagrees with him.
From openly praising dictators like Saddam Hussein to repeatedly encouraging violence at his rallies, to reaping profits from bankrupt and fraudulent ventures and forcing working people and small business owners to pick up the check, to espousing racist and sexist rhetoric — Donald Trump’s behavior is getting more offensive and more alarming by the day. Far from acceptable for any public figure and certainly not what our country is looking for in a President.
One of the questions all of this raises is — as the leader of the free world, what kind of example would a President Donald Trump set for our children? There are already signs that Donald Trump’s hateful campaign rhetoric has made its way into playgrounds and classrooms. The Guardian reported that Trump’s divisive rhetoric has “normalized” racist teasing and name-calling (“You’ll get deported,” “You weren’t born here”), to such an extent that Muslim and Latino students in particular are made to feel scared and unwelcome.
Children take cues from those around them, particularly those in the media and in positions of power who they see as role models. We try to teach our children to be honest and accepting, to play by the rules and work together with those who are different from them; to value themselves and their own uniqueness, to feel safe and accepted in their communities. What’s the message a Trump Presidency would send to our kids?
Our daughters are already plagued by negative messages about their bodies and abilities in the media. Trump has called breastfeeding “disgusting,” though is still apparently comfortable rating women based on their anatomy. Trump refers to women as “fat pigs” and “dogs.” He’s a man who openly mocked a reporter with a disability and has made a habit of enforcing derogatory stereotypes about more groups than I can count. When it comes to promoting the example we want to set for our children, the contrast between the two candidates in this election could not be more stark.
From working at the Children’s Defense Fund, to jumpstarting an early childhood education program in Arkansas, helping achieve healthcare for 8 million low-income children as First Lady, Hillary Clinton has always been driven by a passion to ensure that every child in this country is given the chance to be healthy and successful. As she said as First Lady, “All of us, whether or not we are parents, have to be their voice… because we know our primary responsibility is to the next generation.”
And further, Hillary understands that children cannot succeed in a country where they feel excluded, where they are made to feel different based on their race, religion, gender identity, or disability. She knows that our country is great not despite, but because of, our diversity.
Hillary Clinton believes we are stronger together and I agree. Let’s help her by standing up to Donald Trump together. Our children are watching what we do in this election- let’s make them proud.
Want to join us? Follow the campaign on Twitter at @HillaryClinton and @TheBriefing2016. Sign up to volunteer here and if you want to join our growing movement of women leaders who want to push back on Trump’s divisive candidacy, join us!
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