Last week, the controversy du jour for the Trump regime was its reaction to criticism by ESPN host and reporter Jemele Hill. This week, the discussion continues as Donald Trump chastised ESPN on Twitter and later moved on to retweeting a violent GIF of him assaulting Hillary Clinton.
On Saturday, the ACLU issued a statement on Trump’s use of Twitter and his abuse of official authority to quell First Amendment expression. The organization tweeted that Trump and his propaganda machine “should not be using the enormous power of their platform to bully journalists or chill dissent.”
The ACLU’s position is commendable and has been echoed across the Twitterverse since last week when Trump began his tirade against ESPN. However, it is a weak commentary on the state of America’s leadership that no one has condemned Trump loudly and publicly for the poor example he is setting for the nation’s youth. Trump’s desperate attempt to turn 200 million American sports fans against ESPN is not only an abuse of authority, but it instills morally vapid lessons and values in our country’s future leaders.
When Trump first entertained America by announcing his political aspirations, he paraded Melania Trump in front of cameras — seemingly against her will at times — to speak up against bullying. Any observer must wonder now if the bullying platform was Melania Trump’s desperate cry for help or merely another sick and twisted faux pas in the circus that is the Trump regime.
How can a nation educate and guide its children when the daily example from the White House via the media and Twitter goes against every elementary lesson of life and civics? Ten years after Trump, America will continue to suffer the negative effects of Trumpism if responsible adults and leaders do not stem the flow of vitriol gushing from the Oval Office. America’s parents and teachers have an increasingly difficult job trying to counter daily examples of abuse, misogyny, and bigotry with lessons that more accurately demonstrate our country’s devotion to equality and constitutionally protected expression.
Instead of ridiculing ESPN and demanding firings or apologies, Trump should be using the opportunity to teach the nation’s youth that criticism and debate can lead to open dialogue and resolutions. Children are impressionable and they learn by repeating what they see and hear.
When that includes Trump endorsing GIFs of himself repeatedly assaulting his one-time — because the campaign and election ended nearly a year ago — opponent, it may be funny to their young minds, but it also leaves a lasting memory that can shape their future opinions. It is a negative and violent message that no child should be exposed to.
When a person of influence demonstrates behavior to a child, they must always consider the lasting lesson their guidance may have. Donald Trump is an irresponsible and inconsiderate role model to America’s students and children. While the ACLU condemns his bullying and curtailing of First Amendment rights, the greater damage is what he is doing to children and families. He is the drunken uncle that parents wish would never come to holiday dinners.
America, do not hide your children from Uncle Don’s ignorance, but use his inappropriateness to teach our nation’s youth to be stronger and more ethical. Guide them to the reality of the Bill of Rights, of history, of the sanctity to disagree as a foundational principle of our democracy.
If we raise children who are afraid to express themselves, we will raise a new generation of Donald J. Trumps. They will grow old and bitter and will eventually find their voices in bigotry, hate, and irrational fears. They will be intolerable in the opinions of others because of their own insecurity. Strength breeds tolerance and patience, and it is obvious from Trump’s lack of both that he is not a strong or confident man.
Our children deserve a government and leaders who teach and allow them to respect differences. They deserve better than a man who condones physically abusing women and lashing out at his detractors. They deserve a man or woman who respects all people, regardless of sex, race, color, or religion. After all, how can our schools continue promoting the legend of America’s “Melting Pot” when Trump has turned it into a pot of mashed potatoes?