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Donald Trump: A Parenting Case Study

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Donald Trump, aka President Donald John Trump   is a walking advertisement for Marmite the food spread: you either love him or hate him.

Before he became the leader of the free world, Trump was an American businessman, television personality and a politician – he thought and dreamt it, we laughed at him. And now, the reality is that he is indeed the 45th President of the United States.

 

How does one explain Donald Trump to kids, particularly when we speak about his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama? Whilst there are both positive and negative feelings and opinions at the forefront of most minds. Regarding what is happening in America, there is the risk that the very mention of Trump’s name leads people to think of Armageddon, the last and completely destructive battle.

So the question remains: how do you explain Donald Trump to kids? Do we really need to explain the person? Or can we use this momentous event and Donald Trump as a teaching aid? In today’s celebrity society a lot of people believe that those in the public eye set an example to be followed. But are we parents and caregivers scapegoating and shaming those in lights without taking into account our own responsibilities? Let’s consider the journey and how we may use it to educate our kids!

Donald Trump 45th President of the United States

2016 was the year of unpredictable shocks. First there was the 5,000 to 1 outsiders Leicester City FC winning football’s 2015/2016 Premier League in the UK. Then following the referendum held on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union; with outside odds of 4 to 1 to “Leave” compared to the favourable odds of 1 to 7 to “Remain”. Then ending the year spectacularly was Donald Trump and his win over Hillary Clinton in what appeared the most unlikely of victories, with odds of 25 to 1 back in August 2015 when he first announced his campaign – and the world chuckled with such spontaneity and synchronicity causing a seismic earthquake of laughter.

Donald Trump believed: his dream – and many people’s nightmares – came true.  With his victory, Donald Trump became the only president to never have served in elected public office, the military, or government before becoming president. However, is dreaming big the goal in life? Dreaming big and Trump-ling (sorry, trampling) on others along the way cannot make the majority of mankind happy. Can it?

In winning, Donald Trump became the fifth person in US history to become president despite losing the nationwide popular vote. Hillary Clinton received almost three million more votes in the general election than her opponent. In numbers that is 65,853,625 (48.0%) to 62,985,106 (45.9%), giving Clinton a popular vote lead of more than 2% over Trump. Surely any person with the ability to self-reflect cannot be happy with that? Somehow I do not believe The Donald cares much.

Donald Trump and Morality

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Morality as:

Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

It is almost a given that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump score highly when morality is measured, based on the range of issues that persisted throughout both their campaigns. However, voters were presented with one or the other so morality became the forgotten word. This was expressed by Yoni Appelbaum in his article published in The Atlantic in October last year, titled “Trump Is No Moral Exemplar – He’s a Champion”. Here, Appelbaum said: 

 The conservative, Christian voters backing the Republican nominee are looking for someone who can defend them, not someone who embodies their values.

The fascinating insight about the US Election 2016 was that both the candidates were from either the political or society’s upper class who have socialised with each other in the past – Donald Trump was in fact a past financial supporter of Bill Clinton. However, with the most important job in the world up for the taking they were willing to go at each other with hammer and tongs. So where did morality go?

If the two candidates can lose morality so easily, then the voting US public, who after all do not know these two personally, can lose theirs. Surely after stories of misogyny, racism, dishonesty, fraudulent behaviour and sexism, good old moral values could be unearthed once again, dusted off and sent back into the minds of those voting? No is the answer, as the following insights from the voting figures show;

  • For all votes, 53% of males, all associated with either mothers, sisters or daughters voted for Donald Trump. Worryingly, 42% of mothers, sisters and daughters in the female category voted for Trump.
  • 58% of White voters, who I am sure have neighbours, work colleagues, classmates who are Mexican’s (sorry could not leave out those from the country that will be cattle-penned by 'The Wall', or those from different ethnic backgrounds voted for Trump.
  • What about the older generation who are meant to empower the younger generation with wisdom and a set of morals? 53% on average of the older generation (age groups 45-64 and 65 and over) voted for Donald Trump; the very same people responsible for teaching their children or grandchildren values.
  • On the question of a better education for children, those with a higher education were more likely not to vote for Donald Trump (41% did), compared to those of a lower education (51.5% voted for Trump).
  • Society often looks down on those from the so-called “broken homes”, upholding the belief that marriage is the unity of a family. If this is the case then what happened to the unity of knowing right from wrong? 53% of those married voted for Donald Trump compared to 38% of those not married.
  • Regardless of religious affiliation, we all believe that right is right and wrong is wrong within any religion, right? 55% of those with either Protestant, Christian or Catholic affiliation voted for Donald Trump, compared to only 26.3% from either Jewish or other religions. Morality does not exist!

The most telling insight from the voting figures is the 63% of voters that would have voted for a third person had that person existed, indicating that morality comes with conditions attached. Trump won because it came down to the situation and Hillary Clinton was the wrong opponent at the wrong time. Surely we should be teaching our kids that morality does not come with a set of conditions that fit our current train of thought: this can be the only way!

Donald Trump the Family Man

Love Donald Trump or not, he does show us all the true value of how to be a family man (yes he has been married three times, but that can happen to any of us). Trump is the fourth child to Fred Trump, who was a New York real estate tycoon.

Trump senior demonstrated the value of family by giving Donald Trump a "small" $1m loan to start his real estate empire. Not long after which he took over his dad’s business.

Donald Trump kept true to this family values as his children worked for the Trump Organization and were advisers on the US Apprentice TV Show. The next generation of Trumps played a key role in their father’s US election campaign, and in announcing his team for the White House, Donald Trump has named son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior advisor to the president, a position he has specially created to get a family member into the White House.

Even Hillary Clinton recognised how much family is central to Donald Trump’s life. When the adjudicator of the Second 2016 Presidential Debate asked:

My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?

Hillary Clinton’s response was:

Well, I certainly will, because I think that's a very fair and important question. Well, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald.

To which Trump responded:

Well, I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment, but I am proud of my children. They have done a wonderful job and they have been wonderful kids.

Donald Trump and Other Men in Power

Donald Trump was dogged by allegations from the moment he announced that he would be running for office. These have been based on his misogynistic and racist views and his p***y grabbing, not to mention his boasting arrogance. In his own words:

You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t wait. And then you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.

Which he followed up with a statement to justify his comments:

This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course - not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.

Sadly this type of view or behaviour is commonplace amongst males in power who feel that they can do whatever they want, and I am not singling men out, but you never hear of women in power behaving in such a manner.

History has shown us that men like Trump feel they can do what they like. Trump so kindly mentions Bill Clinton on the golf course but  we do not need to rely on Trump to tell us about Bill Clinton and his antics. Mr Clinton was impeached over his affair with a 21-year-old unpaid intern, Monica Lewinsky, whilst in office.

In fact, there are lots more men in high-powered positions, with money, who believe they can do as they want. History has shown us that this is commonplace with personalities such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, François Hollande, Max Mosley, Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris all demonstrating their power and their sense of entitlement.

The examples given here reflect the double standard and treatment of women, but these same guys in power have massive issues in protecting the closed network of equal-minded people, and not only have a total disregard for women, but also race, religion and sexual orientation. Hence the need to instil in our kids the right moral values and duty of care for each other.

Lessons from Donald Trump

Whilst we are in a difficult position to pass judgement on another person, Donald Trump as a man offers us many opportunities, be it positive or negative, to learn and educate ourselves to help our families. Some of the key points that can be taken out of the Donald Trump the case study are:

  • Dream big and you may just make your dreams come true.
  • Winning at anything at all costs is not the aim in life, winning whilst everybody wins must be more fulfilling.
  • Having a solid moral grounding is the key to resisting the urge of going along with what you know to be wrong rather than doing what you know is right, simply because what is right does not fit with your current beliefs or thinking.
  • Love for the family should be a strong bond; families that stay together can overcome most things in life.
  • Pay special attention to your boys; teach them the true value of life and the need to respect power, position and women. After all, history shows that our girls are getting this message loud and clear, but boys grow into men without fully understanding this, thus believing they can do as they want!

Long before I became a parent, I said to myself that I will always hold myself responsible for how my kids turn out. We do not have to look far to see parents of celebrities or sports stars enjoying the fame game, whilst their kids are misbehaving or doing things that do not have a high moral value.

So in trying to explain Donald Trump to my kids, I will stay away from the person and look to try to use the good and the bad in the topics surrounding Donald Trump to help explain morality and the duty of care.

We have become a world of consumption and are greatly concerned with what we can get for ourselves and our family; therefore perhaps it is more important now than ever that people care more about each other and the world they live in. People think about winning big at the cost of others; those in power or position care a lot about legacy rather than what is best for all.

Do not get me wrong, I am most certainly not perfect, but one thing I strive for is teaching my kids the importance of doing to others as they want others to do to them, that it should be difficult for anyone to believe that they are more important than another person. In the case of President Trump, we can use him as an example of what morality is, or isn’t, by looking at both sides of the coin. In the end, I want to give my kids the opportunity to learn from myself as well as those who are in a spotlight, however they are perceived.

Sources

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