What am I going to tell my three young children? How am I going to explain to them that a man who routinely peddles sexism, racism, and xenophobia was elected to our country’s highest office? What should I say when the leader of the free world mocks the disabled or brags about assaulting women? How do I teach them to be good parents when the President of the United States suggests that parenting is women’s work? What do I say to counteract the vitriol that poisons our society, right from the very top?
What am I going to tell my children? Nothing. Instead, I am going to show them. Lucky for me, my children are young enough that my actions certainly speak louder than my words or the words of others. Every day I will continue to show them what it means to be a good and kind person. Even when we are confronted with hate and intolerance, we must maintain our decency and goodness. However, decency does not require silence. Quite the opposite. Silence in the face of injustice and hate is indecency. Thus, we won't hesitate to challenge wrong or stand up for what's right. We can and must coexist with people who hold all types of opinions and views, but we don't have to hide our beliefs and values so as not to rock the boat.
Trump’s views on topics ranging from race and economics to the environment and foreign affairs are deeply troubling and well-known, but his antiquated views about gender roles in parenting and childcare are equally devastating. Excerpts from past interviews reported in an article in Fortune are quite revealing.
Trump doesn't change diapers...
"No, I don't do that," Trump said on the Opie and Anthony show in 2005. "There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife and you know there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that... I’m really like a great father but certain things you do and certain things you don’t. It’s just not for me."
...or really do anything hands-on to care for his kids.
"I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park,” Trump said in a 2005 interview with Howard Stern. "Marla used to say, ‘I can’t believe you’re not walking Tiffany down the street,’ you know in a carriage. Right, I’m gonna be walking down Fifth Avenue with a baby in a carriage. It just didn’t work.”
And while these remarks probably wouldn’t make the top-10 list of the worst of Trump, they matter. His views of parenting are completely out of step with modern realities. There is so much more to fatherhood and masculinity than providing money. I hope that we, as a society, have moved past these outdated norms that define any type of work as men’s or women’s. However, it would seem that we still have a long way to go.
Fortunately, I have the opportunity to serve as a model of my values and beliefs for my children. As parents, we are the first line of defense against intolerance and ignorance. That is the opportunity that parenting affords. Now more than ever, it is up to all of us to make the most of that opportunity.