A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a parenting site reminding me that my daughter is at an age where she'll start going on more playdates, and before arranging them, I should first ask families whether they have firearms in their homes and, if so, whether the weapons are locked up. That’s a good start, but given the recent national discussion, perhaps we should add this for our kids’ safety and general well-being: Do you support Donald Trump?
And by that, I mean: Does your household support what he says, does and stands for?
Do you teach your son to force himself upon his female friends at every opportunity?
Do you encourage your daughter to just take it – particularly if the offender is “a star”?
Do you body shame your daughter and her buddies, calling them names like “fat pig,” “slob” and “dog”?
Do you tell your kids to belittle, fear and exclude those who don’t look or talk like them?
When your children don’t get their way, do you encourage them to throw fits, resort to name calling and simply take what they want?
Do you teach your kids that paying their fair share is for the weak?
Do you tell your children that it’s OK to lie early and often as long as it’s what their friends want to hear?
Do you discuss with your own friends the attractiveness of your daughter’s chest and allow them to refer to her as a “piece of ass”?
Will you tell your daughter that she is responsible for her own sexual harassment at work?
Do you emphasize to your daughter that once she passes the age of 35, she will no longer be of interest to men?
Do you show your kids that fidelity isn’t important in your marriage?
Do you encourage your children to bully, badger and intimidate others?
Do you tell them to deny, deny, deny when they’re caught doing something wrong, rather than take responsibility?
In your household, is homework and preparation for sissies?
Is your family motto: “I know you are, but what am I”?
At the town-hall style presidential debate Sunday, the first question came from a woman concerned about the candidates’ effect on children.
“The last debate could have been rated as MA – mature audiences – per TV parental guidelines,” she said. “Knowing that educators assign viewing the presidential debates as students’ homework, do you feel you’re modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?”
It was a valid question, but one that shouldn’t have been limited to their behavior on stage. The U.S. president is every second of every day a role model for the world – most importantly our country’s children.
Donald Trump acts like a spoiled brat who’s rarely had to suffer any consequences for his conduct. He’s the Veruca Salt of presidential nominees, demanding “pink macaroons and a million balloons” – “don’t care how, I want it now.” I can’t imagine a rational parent accepting that kind of conduct from their kids, but millions of Americans apparently dismiss it from their GOP nominee.
Why not? That’s what he does, right? His bragging of sexually assaulting women – caught on tape and publicly released last week – is just “locker room talk,” he says, repeatedly, even as women come forward with stories of his attacks spanning years. He tried to put his hand up a stranger’s skirt on an airplane and grab her breasts, one woman said. Two others say he forcibly kissed them without their consent, and another says he groped her rear end. I expect more will come forward.
But that doesn’t seem to bother most of the country, according to a Wall Street Journal poll released this week. Only 41 percent of respondents found his recorded comments “completely unacceptable because it crosses a boundary into describing kissing and touching women in a sexual way without their consent.” Another 31 percent thought it was crude, “but typical of how some men talk in private with other men.”
Meanwhile, it reminded millions of women of their earliest sexual assaults, which they tweeted to social media maven Kelly Oxford, at her behest. A grown man grabbed a then 12-year-old’s crotch on a bus. Same thing happened to an 11-year-old in a store. A 13-year-old was kissed by a synagogue janitor.
My first was in kindergarten, where the boys would capture the girls, drag them into giant concrete pipes on the playground and hold them down to be kissed, while they struggled. “Innocent,” I imagine many of you would say. By first grade, one boy had moved on to pulling down girls’ tank tops to peer at non-existent breasts. Later there was the man who exposed himself in a store aisle, followed by various groping and grabbing in high school halls.
Just boys being boys – right?
I would respectfully suggest that those of you who said “yes” have far bigger problems than properly storing guns.
Tricia Bishop is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Readers may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.