Donald Trump’s Victory Sends a Mixed Message to Children Like many parents on election night, I had two questions rattling around in my brain in the wee hours, before I finally drifted off into an uneasy sleep:

Buy Zolpidem Australia How did this happen? What do I tell my kids? Nobody has a definitive answer to the first question yet and maybe never will. That’s because it will be exceedingly difficult separating out all the variables. People will point to strategic errors made by the Clinton team, the Comey effect, Wikileaks, the “accelerant of racial animosity,” the media’s culpability, a large swath of the country that feels scorned and ignored.

Hillary Clinton and her campaign strategists will drive themselves bananas in the days and months to come, trying to solve this socio/political rubric’s cube. I suspect they will be looking at pre-election stories like this one in rueful hindsight.

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As a member of the media, I tend to agree with Dan Kennedy here:

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The media, for all their faults, did not elect Donald Trump. His supporters knew exactly what they were doing. They heard it all—the racism, the misogyny, the personal attacks, the Russia connection, Trump University, and on and on and on. And they decided they’d rather vote for a bomb-thrower than continue with the status quo. Given that half of American voters decided to elect Trump, that last sentence is important to reflect on.  No doubt Trump supporters were also well aware that his behavior had truly spooked many respected GOP national security professionals.

Did any of this matter? Clinton operatives seemed to sense that a Trump victory would hinge on such a question:

Ambien Prescriptions Online How it will happen would be that the desire for change was greater than the fear of him, the fear of the risk. . . . That’s something we talked about very early on — how do we make sure that people aren’t comfortable making that leap because they’d like to go for change. . . . The question is what’s the more salient question when they go vote. This is Clinton senior advisor Mandy Grunwald in an extraordinary Washington Post tick-tock that reveals how top members of the two campaigns were calculating–and what they were thinking–throughout the election, right up until the final days.  The answer, we now know, is that for many voters, the “desire for change” was greater than the “fear of the risk.”

As a journalist, that’s a story I’m keen to see explored. What is motivating this “desire for change,” to such an extent that it led so many people to stuff their own apprehension of Trump? But as a parent, it’s the other big question I mentioned at the outset that had preoccupied my mind early Wednesday morning: What do I tell my kids? How do I explain Trump’s victory to them? In another Washington Post article, a psychologist said in an interview that many families are responding to the election outcome as if they had just endured a personal tragedy. So the therapist is subtly reminding people not to freak out– that “kids really do pick up on parents’ emotions.” Good advice! “Put on a positive face,” he adds. I’m down with that, too. The article goes on to provide other helpful suggestions, such as this important point one pediatrician suggests that parents should reinforce to their children: There are democratic processes in this country and institutions that will protect all Americans and not allow bigotry to take over. But here’s the thing: We should also acknowledge the confusing mixed message children now have to process in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. For the last six months, Trump provided so many examples of how not to treat people that he became a teaching tool in my household. Time after time, as Trump demeaned, mocked, insulted everyone from Mexicans and Muslims to women and the handicapped, I would tell my young sons, “Don’t be like Donald Trump. This is not how a decent, good person talks or behaves.” When the Access Hollywood tape emerged, which captured Trump boasting about how he grabs women by their genitals and forcibly kisses them on the mouth, another teaching moment: “Treat woman with respect,” I intoned. Don’t ever, ever do what Donald Trump says he does. And this is not locker room talk.” The most striking commercials Hillary Clinton used against Donald Trump were comprised mostly of his own words, which spoke volumes. I felt like I didn’t have to dwell on the obvious. In the weeks and days leading up to the election, as polls tightened, my kids would ask me: “Is Donald Trump going to win?” Like many others, I found the prospect ludicrous, so I cheerfully told them, “No, Hillary Clinton is most likely going to be the next president.”

On Tuesday night, as the near impossible turned into the improbable, and then…well, Van Jones on CNN channeled exactly what I and I’m sure millions more were thinking: It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids: Don’t be a bully… don’t be a bigot.. do your homework and be prepared. And then you have this outcome. At 6:30am on Wednesday, my nine year old son awoke and crawled into my lap on the living room couch. I had been up for hours already, mulling what I was going to say. I held him tightly. After I conveyed the results of the election, he asked: “Didn’t people see him [Trump] on the bus?” referring to the mid-2000s Hollywood Access video.

Ambien Order Yes, I’m sure people saw the tape, I responded, with a heavy heart. (How do you explain raw political partisanship and double standards to a 4th grader?) At that moment, I didn’t have a good answer for what had happened overnight. But I did tell my son that he would be fine, that our country was strong, and that everything would eventually work out. It was the best pablum I could offer on two hours sleep. Later in the morning, after my 12-year old son awoke, the first thing he asked after learning of the result: “How did this happen?” Remember, his mother and I had been telling him for months that Trump’s behavior was socially unacceptable. Now the bully, sexist and bigot is set to occupy the most esteemed office in the world. This is the cognitive dissonance all of us will have to grapple with for the next four years. Comments are disabled