Why I Ask Parents ‘The Trump Question’

No one likes to discuss politics, or religion, or gun control, or any other hot button issue with strangers or acquaintances or extended family.

But as parents, we’re often forced into unpleasant conversations in order to care for our kids, and in 2017, there’s something new I want to know:

“Where do you stand on Trump?”

On Facebook, I recently shared a link to my “Things I Look For In Other Parents” article. On that mostly meant-to-be-funny list is “You #NeverTrump.” Someone in the comments took exception to the idea that I’d care to know whom someone had voted for. Normally, they’d be right.politics, trump, division, north carolina, america, hillary clinton, fatherhood, dads, kids, children, parenting, dad and buried, trump question, election day, #thisisnotnormal, #notmypresident
But #ThisIsNotNormal.

Maybe last November you were able to ignore the bigotry and lying and the misogyny and bullying (not to mention the corruption and ignorance) Trump displayed on the campaign trail to cast a vote for him because you believed his policies would make things better for you and for the country. But it’s been a year since election day. He’s been in office for almost ten months. Has anything improved?

Have Trump’s schoolyard provocations of the unhinged leader of nuclear-powered North Korea improved the country? Have his administration’s repeated attempts to deprive millions of healthcare improved your life? Has Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accord given you hope for the future? Have the enormous tax cuts the administration is currently attempting to grant the less-than-1% helped your family? Has the Muslim ban that has been rejected across the board as unconstitutional made anything safer?

Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, a Bernie Bro or a #MAGA Man, there isn’t a single policy-based accomplishment that can be pointed to as a success for Trump; his presidency has been a total failure. So if you’re still backing him, it stands to reason that you must agree with him on a philosophical level. (Or, in the case of the detestable, spineless Republicans still standing alongside him, rubber-stamping this abomination of a presidency, maybe you’re just greedy and soulless?)

If you’re still on Team Trump, it’s hard not to assume that you agree with the president that white supremacists are “fine people.” And that you agree that the NFL players conducting perfectly legal, dare-I-say straight-up American protests are “sons of bitches,” that you agree that Sheriff Joe Arpaio was just doing his job, that the millions of American citizens fighting to survive the natural disaster that struck Puerto Rico “want everything to be done for them,” that nearly every “mainstream media” outlet is lying when they report on his administration’s neck-deep dealings with Russia, or when they merely report the president’s own words. The list goes on and on.

These aren’t out-of-character missteps, this is who Trump is, and has always been. If it wasn’t obvious when he was running for president (newsflash: it was), it’s become more than obvious since he took office.

Is it who you are, too? If not, at what point does supporting Trump stop making sense? If you’ve come this far on the #MAGA bandwagon, I fear it never will.

I’m willing to give you a pass if you voted for him – God knows the alternatives weren’t flawless, and there were plenty of legitimate reasons to want to shake things up – but if you’re still supporting him now? After a year of an administration whose actions can only be classified as ignorant and inept at best, and dangerous, divisive, and evil at worst?

I don’t understand you. And I doubt I ever will.

Luckily, I live in Brooklyn, where having issues with diversity is anathema to the lifestyle, so I shouldn’t have many opportunities to put the question at the top of this post into practice. But over the summer I attended an event in a slightly more Trump-sympathetic region that was filled with people with whom I’m friendly but don’t know very well. By the end of the night, I’d abandoned several conversations midstream, upon learning where their political allegiances lie, partially out of bewilderment but mostly out of self-preservation.

There’s no upside to arguing with a Trump apologist. How do you argue with someone who believes a man who lies as easily as he breathes and nearly as often? How do you argue with someone who trusts Breitbart over the NY Times, who believes Obama is a Muslim and PizzaGate was real and climate change is bullshit? How do you argue against “fake news” with someone who doesn’t believe actual facts?

It may seem hypocritical to preach about acceptance and unification while denigrating Trump and his supporters, but that’s one of the problems with the current atmosphere. Not all sides are equal. When someone spouts bigotry and someone else shouts that bigotry down, those two sides are not both “fine people.” The bigot is still a bigot. And if you’re a bigot, you’re either ignorant or evil, simple as that. #Sorrynotsorry. trump, locker room talk, rape culture, victim blaming, shaming, women, gender, politics, flag, hillary, parenting, dad and buried, parenthood, president, election, locker room talk, billy bush

As a parent, I worry about my kids growing up with a president who behaves this way, and in an atmosphere in which such behavior and beliefs are acceptable. Where the lines between truth and fiction, good and bad, are willfully blurred. I don’t want my kids thinking Fox News is reliable or honest or trustworthy. I don’t want my kids anywhere near the insane, incendiary talking points of that lunatic Alex Jones. I don’t want my kids hearing someone praise Trump for “telling it like it is” when all he’s doing is insulting anyone who doesn’t agree with or outright praise him.

It’s on me to teach my children critical thinking, and to teach them to keep an open-mind, and I trust them to make their own decisions. When they’re older.

Until then, I might ask if you still support the president, because I think he’s dangerous in ways both big (foreign relations, domestic relations) and small (the behavior he models and example he sets to children as an authority figure). And the same way I want to know if you have a gun in your house before I let my kids hang out there, I also want to know if you are pro-Trump, so I can explain the other side.

The only side.

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