My Kids Won’t Be Watching Trump’s Inauguration. Will Yours?
On inauguration day, when our 45th president takes the oath of office, my kids will not be watching. My girls, ages 2 and 6, are too young for a complex discussion about why this election played out how it did. They are too young to fully understand the repercussions of a Trump administration. But they are just the right age to be taken in by the pomp and circumstance of an inauguration, with the parades and speeches and fancy dresses. They might think, understandably, that because this man is being honored he is honorable and worthy of their awe.
In the weeks after the election, those who voted for Donald Trump would have said this is just sour grapes. Months later, the relentless vulgarity and unethical behavior of the incoming administration make the idea of sour grapes sound quaint and laughable. I’m upset only because my candidate didn’t win? I wish life were still so simple.
To be sure, the president-elect and I have political differences. This has never stopped me from watching an inauguration before. But I would no sooner sit my 2 and 6 year old down to watch the inauguration than The Apprentice or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Reality TV and real life have merged and what we’re saddled with now is a president who is not fit for underaged viewing.
Television shows can’t survive without ratings. Ultimately, neither can Donald Trump’s presidency. In our family, we’ll be tuning out. We don’t need to focus on the Trump White House. We’ve got more important things to keep us busy.
We’ll be reading our newly purchased pocket constitutions. We’ll be marching for women’s rights. We’ll be learning about the A.C.L.U. and the N.A.A.C.P. We’ll be celebrating our family’s Jewish heritage, helping our neighbors, guarding our planet, and doing our best to stand up for those who are most vulnerable.
I don’t plan to tell my girls that he is “Not our president.” I don’t want to poison my kids’ view of the Presidency at such a young age. I still want them to trust that we elect Presidents to uphold the rights of all Americans. I want them to see the White House as a symbol of what is good and proper in our country. I want them to know that honesty and integrity still matter. I want Trump’s presidency to pass as a blip in their lives that they’ll barely remember.
For four years, I’ll be using the tried-and-true parenting technique of re-directing, something I’m used to with a toddler in the house. There are plenty of people in our country, both in government and not, who model the behavior I want my girls to emulate. These are the people who truly make America great. These are the people we will be watching.