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Donald Trump?!? What About The Children?

Last week, I reproduced the Open Letter To America from Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, expressing his decision to oppose the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, even though Trump is the presumptive nominee of Sasse’s own political party. I explained that I posted the open letter to Irregular Times because it was worth reacting to. Irregular Times readers have had the opportunity to write their reactions to Sasse’s letter. This week, I’m writing mine. Bit by bit, I’m reviewing Ben Sasse’s anti-Trump rhetoric, not to applaud what it gets right, but to point out what it gets wrong.

In the 2016 presidential election, the principle that the enemy of my enemy can be counted as a friend does not apply. Ben Sasse, as a proponent of right wing ideology, isn’t the kind of leader Americans can rally around in the spirit of unity.

But, to start out, let’s leave the policy aside, and take note of Senator Sasse’s immature model of morality. Sasse suggests that Donald Trump should not be elected President of the United States because Trump isn’t a good role model for children. Being a role model for children isn’t in the job description of the President of the United States. It would be fairly silly if the President was Role Model in chief, given that there are tens of millions of American children, and only one adult who can be elected President of the United States once every four years. The role of President isn’t one that most children should aspire to, either in a specific or a general sense. The role of President requires behavior that is unbalanced and unsustainable outside of a position of extreme power. Our society would be a mess if most of our children grew up learning to act like a President. The roles most of us occupy require something different, something more nuanced, less centered around a public show.

Neither can we fairly say that the President’s job is to set an example of moral adulthood. First of all, as the contentious nomination of Donald Trump proves, as a group, Americans don’t share much agreement about what’s moral and what isn’t. Secondly, the President of the United States is elected in order to execute the laws of the nation, not to preach at us about what’s right and wrong.

Of course we need a nation that’s a safe place for children to grow up in – just as we need the United States to be a safe place for everyone else. It would be a grave mistake to choose an executive leader as a billboard of childrens’ morality, a Mister Rogers in Chief. We need a President who has a subtle, sophisticated view of the world. We need a competent human being with extensive experience in public service.

Ben Sasse is peddling his own version of Republican ideological extremism, covered with a thin veneer of awe-shucks family values. He even ends his Facebook rant with a slather of Father Knows Best: “The sun is mostly set on the Platte River — and the kids need baths. So g’night.”

Give me a break. Senator Sasse spends most nights sleeping in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, not in a pioneer campsite alongside a river in Nebraska. We need leaders with political savvy in our nation’s Capitol not benevolent patriarchs.

Donald Trump is the wrong choice for President, but that’s because of the outrageous abuses of power he has proposed, not because he lacks an endearing paternalistic demeanor.

5 thoughts on “Donald Trump?!? What About The Children?”

  1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    Are good role models good Presidents? Are bad role models bad Presidents? Are good Presidents good role models? Are bad Presidents bad role models? History shows that the good role model versus mad role model specturm and the good President versus bad President spectrum aren’t equivalent. I won’t go as far as saying they are mutually exclusive, but saying a person is a bad role model isn’t saying they would make a bad President.

    There is a wave of bad role model politicians around the world winning.

    The anti-establishment wave, or global populism, is a phenomenon which arose between 2015 to 2016 in global politics that led to the rise of anti-establishment populist political leaders, especially in established democracies.

    This trend has led to the rise of controversial politicians such as Norbert Hofer in Austria, Marine Le Pen in France, Jimmy Morales in Guatemala, Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, and Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States.

  2. ella says:

    There are, of course, differing views on who is, or is not, the best candidate to lead the United States. It is my opinion that it would be better to address what that constitutes. What is a candidate for President really hoping to lead, and where does he/she hope to lead those people. There are major social issues in this nation that have fallen quickly to new levels of deprivation. One of those most recent issues has direct impact on the mental state of children. Possibly there is momentum gathering to reduce ‘humans’ to less than animals. Maybe there is a candidate who has an elevated level of social conscience, who is able bring Americans back from the brink of fulfilling devastation prediction of this nations total fall from morality. Maybe Donald Trump does have the right formula of knowledge, world view, and American view to do just that.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Donald Trump, the pro-torture candidate, is going to save us from a fall from morality? Are you serious?

      1. ella says:

        J. Clifford, we know that the media has taken snippets of what Donald Trump says and turned that into the absolutely worse scenario they can imagine. But he did say he supports water-boarding and worse. But he also said that he would follow the law and what the military leaders allowed under the law. So yes, even on that subject – morality. Did you look at what high school students have performed in a school play? And because of the transgender bathrooms issue? That is what is mentioned, the subject of children. Wearing adult diapers will likely become popular in some areas in order to avoid the use of mixed sex toilets.

      2. ella says:

        Here is some more ‘children’s potty training’. From the Obama’s to all children – no matter how their parents feel about it:–abc-news-topstories.html#

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