There are those who argue that children should respect their elders just because they’re older than they are. That if someone actually needs to earn our respect, then we do not actually respect the person at all – we are only respecting their achievements, talents or attributes. That if we really respect a person then we choose to do so without regard to what they have or have not done and even without any regard whatsoever to their personality. They think that if we want people to behave well and treat others around us with kindness and gentleness then we should treat them – well, you know – “do unto others”? Here’s where I have a problem with this. Donald Trump.
Should our kids really respect this man just because he’s older than they are? Regardless of his tyranny, inhumanity, incivility, insensitivity, dishonesty, malevolence, narcissism, arrogance, intolerance, inconsideration, misogyny and hostility? Directly opposite to the qualities we try our very best to instill in our children to help them to grow into decent, happy and well-rounded adults. Not only that, but don’t we want them to challenge unfairness and injustice too? You know, not be passive bystanders? Well, I do anyway.
What scares me though is that according to some experts, people tend to vote for leaders in their own image. This means then that Mr. Trump’s personality should actually be highlighting the characteristics of the very people who support him – ergo Mr. Trump’s popularity is a strong indicator of current American culture. (Not sure all Americans would agree with that mind). Scary or what?
Now, despite Donald’s shortcomings, this is what I expect from my own son as a decent human being. I expect him not to disrespect the colour of Donald’s skin. Or his gender. Or his race. Or his religion. Or his culture. Or his sexuality. Or his socio-economic status. Or his disabilities & impairments. Where I absolutely draw the line though is expecting my son to respect Donald (and his opinions) purely because he was born before him. Do you suppose for one second that if everyone in the world did unto Donald as we would have Donald do unto us that he would suddenly start treating everyone with kindness and respect? And yet, there’s always the possibility (coz anything is possible afterall) that he’ll wake up tomorrow morning and think “I’m sure I read somewhere that whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person. Yeah, yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do from now on”. And he does. Then, then, I’ll expect my son to respect him.