Much of the world seems intent on spreading dicketry and hate, which is another challenge on top of the usual pile of parenting bliss we all have to deal with. In some ways, we're lucky that Simon lives in a place where he's exposed to diversity. The kids he goes to school with follow different religions, have different color skin and many speak different languages. We're also careful to make sure that he's respectful of all people that he encounters, whether it's the guy selling our house or the one cutting the grass. We're trying hard to make sure that he understands the importance of kindness and giving.
Inevitably, he sees Donald Trump on TV, shouting at people or calling them names, and on one occasion even mentioned, "He's not being nice." I really started to think about this after the bizarre scene with the president and the Boy Scouts, which disturbingly looked like a white power rally. The scouts have rightfully taken a lot of heat the last few years over discriminatory policy, but they have since put their house in order. Now they're exposed to a narcissistic, partisan tirade by a sitting president instead of a pep talk about the values of leadership and contributing to the world. As the Twitterer-in-chief would say, "Sad!" And that was only one of many shit-shows this week, and it's only Thursday.
This is why Trump is different. It's hardly a secret that I was no fan of George W. Bush, because his foreign and economic policy was a disaster. That's not even my opinion, really, because the outcomes were pretty clear. But no matter how much I may have disagreed with his policy, at no time would I prevent my offspring from seeing him in person or on TV. I would have jumped at the chance to see him speak in person, and I still would. (Still haven't seen a president, but did see a VP this year, former VP Joe Biden.) Regardless, when any other president in my lifetime lined up for a group photo among world leaders, I could be sure he wouldn't push his way to the front. The problem with Trump isn't his policy, because honestly he hasn't really done anything or led the charge on any meaningful legislation. The problem is that he's a genuinely terrible person that has enabled a level of toxicity I've never seen among people. Obama, Bush, Clinton (if you can overlook him humping interns), Bush, Reagan, Carter all set an example with their words. They gave great speeches and at least tried to inspire people.
I want my kid to have heroes. As much as I want to be that to him, I'm too aware of my flaws to have that expectation. I hope that he continues to have excellent teachers, kind peers and everyday people who can fill that role. Heck, the average ride operator at Walt Disney World probably qualifies in his eyes. Unfortunately, for now, he won't have anyone to look up to in the White House. By no measure is a man who "grabs them by the pussy" or believes he could "stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody" a role model. That goes well beyond being non-presidential, it's just being a despicable human being.