Dear President Trump,
I did not vote for you. I find you deeply offensive, but to be fair, you probably wouldn’t like me either. My husband and I are raising two sons and one daughter, and we work tirelessly to instill in them that it’s never okay to talk about another person’s body or appearance — ever. Not even if it’s supposed to be a “joke,” or a “compliment.” It’s just bad manners, something I won’t tolerate in my house.
But here’s the thing: While we have very little in common, we do share the privilege of parenthood. Possibly your only redeeming quality is how proud you are of your children. I see how pissed off you get when sketches on “Saturday Night Live” make fun of you; I can’t imagine how you felt when you heard that comedy writer Katie Rich had mocked your 10-year-old son, Barron, on Twitter.
Why would anyone think that picking on a child is funny?
It’s happening because this type of rude, bullying behavior is being normalized, and you, our President, have perpetuated it. When we’ve watched or listened to you speak, I’ve found myself in the uncomfortable position of telling my children not to emulate the leader of the free world. Let that sink in for a moment. I have to tell my kids not to behave like the President of the United States, because he is rude. The way you’ve talked about minorities, people with disabilities, and women has opened the door for every as*hole in America to think it is acceptable to talk that way.
Mr. President, you have to do better. Perhaps if you were to change your own behavior, you could positively impact not only your son, but every bullied, marginalized, ignored, and picked on person in America. Think about how much of an influence you have with your words and actions. You are in the most powerful position to make changes for the better, not just for the economy or for jobs, but for our character as a nation.
We’re depending on you, like it or not, to set an example for the rest of us. We need you to be kind. We need you to respect others. We need you to speak out about these things, and we need you to do it now.
Barron has been the subject of much discussion on social media, where Americans seem to find it acceptable to do to your family exactly what you have been doing to other people: dissecting them, picking out every flaw, every facial expression, and every movement with the goal of turning them into a punch line. Regardless of how I may feel about you, I don’t think it’s respectful or polite to make disparaging remarks about your son, who did not choose to be thrust into the limelight, and I’m certain that you would agree.
He’s a child.
For the first time since you started down the road to the White House, Republicans and Democrats found common ground in their response to the comments about Barron. We, the American people, all stopped dead in our tracks and said NOPE. One of the most noteworthy responses came from Chelsea Clinton, who posted on her Facebook page, “Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does — to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.”
The New York Times, a publication that you’ve opposed publically, published a piece regarding the Barron Trump tweet and reaffirmed the universally-held belief that the children of presidents should be off limits. You might have a tempestuous relationship with the press, Mr. President, but they’re sticking up for your kid.
We all are.
I remember being an awkward, frizzy-haired teen at the same time that Chelsea Clinton was being made fun of for the same exact things when her father was President. Where is our sense of decency? Children need our protection, and we are all responsible to make sure they get it. Not just some children. All children.
It starts with you, Mr. President.