The as­saulter-in-chief

Are you teach­ing your kids to be like Don­ald Trump?

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Tri­cia Bishop Tri­cia Bishop is The Sun’s deputy ed­i­to­rial page editor. Her col­umn runs ev­ery other Friday. Her email is tri­cia.bishop@balt­sun.com; Twit­ter: @tri­cia­bishop.

Acou­ple 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? Don­ald Trump kisses a child dressed as him dur­ing a rally in Penn­syl­va­nia. Would you want him as your kid’s role model? 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 is 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 chests. 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.

DO­MINICK REUTER/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

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