Our Children Are Watching


An ad released by the Clinton campaign strings together some of Donald Trump’s most controversial moments while children watch him on television.

Set to somber music, the ad entitled, “Role Models,” features clips of Donald Trump that have drawn scorn over the past year. There is Trump boasting that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing voters. There is Trump’s June 2015 campaign announcement referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” bringing crime and drugs across the border. There is also footage of Trump at a rally moving around his arms in a way critics say was meant to mock a reporter with a disability. “Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?” reads the text on the television screen.

Our children are watching, indeed!

The ad highlights potential weak spots for Donald Trump with voters – his demeanor and his character.

Now, my children are no longer children; they are adults, but this Clinton ad made me think about what kind of parents my wife and I were when those now adult males were just children.

We taught our children that consistency matters; that in this life our words and our actions matter and should align – what we say and what we do, need to have many touching points.

We taught them that all people are equal, regardless of their skin color, their race, their gender, their place of birth, their religious views, their income level, their gender identity, and their sexual orientation.

We taught them that treating people with dignity and compassion is the greatest calling of our lives.

We taught them to protect those who are bullied, to help those who are hurting, to defend those who are marginalized, and to be someone who cares about other people.

We taught them that humility, gentleness, and integrity are lost arts well worth preserving.

Now, there is no way that we could teach any of those things to our children – and then vote for Donald Trump for President.

They would call us out.

They would realize our absolute disconnect.

They would recognize our great hypocrisy.

You cannot tell your children that you are against bullying, and then vote for a world-class bully for president.

You cannot claim that racial, religious, and gender equality are important to you, and then support someone so fully committed to division, exclusion and discrimination as is Donald Trump.

You cannot impart to your children that your Christian faith matters to you, and then advocate for a man whose entire religious engagement has been a crass, thinly veiled campaign tool; a man who mocks people with genuine spiritual convictions; a man of botched Bible verses and many wives, and a business mogul who calls the Bible his favorite book, but when pressed, cannot even name his best-loved verse.

You cannot instruct your children that women are equal to men and worthy of respect, and then simultaneously cast your vote for an Olympic-level misogynist who regularly offers the crudest evaluations of women’s physical appearances, emotional stability, and intellectual capacities.

You cannot teach your children that they ought to fully value women, and then give them a national role model who has called Rosie O’Donnell “a disgusting person inside and out” and continued to say that she was a “slob” with a “fat, ugly face;” who took to Twitter to call Arianna Huffington “a dog;” who sent Gail Collins a copy of one of her previous New York Times  articles, in which she had taken a jab at his business record, with her photo circled and the words face of a dog” written beside it; who referred to Bette Midler as “grotesque” during a series of 2012 tweets about her; who tweeted out his agreement when Sex and the City star, Sarah Jessica Parker, was voted the “Unsexiest Woman Alive” by a Maxim magazine poll; and who referred to lawyer, Elizabeth Beck, as “disgusting” when she requested a break to pump breast milk for her newborn child during a deposition.

You cannot say to your children that decency and compassion are things you value, and then lift up someone to the highest office in our country who is so fully devoid of both of those principles.

If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I never have and never will support Donald Trump, for an endless number of reasons. But perhaps the most important reason is because I would not be able to look my children in the eye and tell them that they can disregard everything my wife and I have ever sewn into their lives and that none of it mattered. I will vote for Hillary Clinton so that I can stand proudly before my children and show them that I put my vote where my mouth is, and so that I can sleep at night, knowing that I did the best I could to give them the kind of future that they deserve.

What will that future look like?

What will matter in that future?

How will our children look at us on Election Day?

As parents, we know that our children are always watching us – and that includes even in the voting booth.

I guess that my wife and I must have done a pretty good job with our rearing skills, for I am happy to say that neither of our children is going to vote for Donald Trump. Certainly, not our registered liberal Democrat younger son; and not even our registered conservative Republican older son.

No way.

Not this election year.

Not ever.

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