I thought it would be super fun and totally unique to write this post as an “open letter to . .”
(Yes, that was sarcasm. It’s been done. Done, to death. I don’t care. My blog, my post, my 2012-ish “open letter”..)
Dear Trump, Hillary , Political Ad creators and all y’all,
I cleaned out my car tonight and I thought about you. It’s a warm night here in the Chicagoland area and while the rest of my family watched the Cubs play game 6 in the World Series, I headed for the garage.
Maybe it was the time to myself or my long day at work or the political ads on the blaring TV, in between innings that drove me to it, but either way, I headed to my car – vacuum and garbage bag in hand.
The last ad I saw from your nice campaign folks, HRC (can I call you that?) featured beautiful little children watching Trump clips and a sad little slogan about how “our children are watching” and all the guilt it was intended to produce, it did.
Yet, as I fished half empty water bottles out from under my car seats, an indignation grew. Not really a righteous indignation….but closer to a “self” righteous indignation.
As I furiously Windex-ed and wondered how long those loose M&Ms had been under the car mat, I thought of some stuff I wanted all y’all to know.
Mostly this: no, they aren’t.
My children, our children, the children of “we the people”? They aren’t really watching you. They are watching us – their parents, their people.
And, truth be told, your ad didn’t make me sad, it made me pissed off. Mostly, because of what you were insinuating. Both sides, equally, in different ads. That the children of this nation are watching, and are seeking a role model in the one who occupies the oval office.
With as much respect as I can muster, I will agree that they are watching you – just as any child would be drawn to watch a circus. They watch you bully, name call, self praise and blather on repeating insults, ad nauseum. Your antics are amusing – as were the bullying, blathering and boasting of “Tom and Jerry” cartoons to me as a child. Yet, I didn’t decide to be a mouse hater, a cat sympathizer or an advocate for Tweety Birds.
I actually turned out to be a whole lot like my own parents.
I work hard, love my family and keep my faith above all else. I believe that light overcomes dark, that blessings should be counted and people treated with respect.
As for my childhood? I saw the news coverage the day Reagan was shot and saw my mom cry. I was very young and you know what I learned? You should care about leaders and pray for them and their families. I learned that my mom could be a tender hearted mother and wife, and keep current on news and politics.
I remember being a teen in the car when my dad told me to stop singing the line in a popular Billy Joel song that said “JFK…blown away..” My dad did NOT like it. I turned off the song. I didn’t sing that line any more.
That was the day I learned that my father was alive when JFK was assassinated. I was a punk kid still and hadn’t put it all together yet. It wasn’t a story, it was a part of his story and it mattered.
But you know what mattered most? My dad. He was strong and led and was fair and fun and honest and hardworking and I knew he would love and protect me, always. I learned that good fathers matter.
It is amazing the thoughts that can flood your mind as you wonder why you have 4 tennis balls in your trunk but no sign of the current proof of insurance card you were sure you put in the glove box last week . . am I right Mrs. C? Mr.T? Surely, you get like this when you clean your own cars..never mind..
Sure, our children are watching you – in the way they watched their first Disney show – with fasination for something far removed from them and foreign.
What they are really watching is us.
The grownups in their lives.
We are their biggest influences.
We will ultimately instill in them what will become the core of their beliefs and values.
Life will change some of their views and opinions (they aren’t clones) but, fundamentally, we are always a lot more like the influential adults in our childhood than we are like our favorite tv stars. (And thank goodness because, personally? I can see, now, that the world did not need me to grown up into the next Punky Brewster)
So, no, to answer the unasked question posed by your ads: I don’t want my three sons to grow up to be like you, Donald Trump. I would not want them to bully and sell integrity for personal gain or mock others or be prideful jerks. I would like them to treat women with utter respect; in public, private and in their hearts.
But I don’t see much risk of you being their role model, Sir.
First, I would ground them until the release of iPhone 72 if I caught them acting like you Mr. Trump..and when I ungrounded them it would only be to give them back their iPhone 5c to text me, their Mama.
Secondly, most importantly, my boys come from a long line of men whom they can love, respect, know, emulate and learn the art of manhood from. Men I know they are watching; my husband, their father, their grandfathers, their pastor.
And no, Mrs. Clinton, I do not want my three neices to become devious, duplicitous, scheming, stand-by-your-man, hard, terrified of being caught, women..like you.
Not much risk there though, Hil.
First, my sister would find out. All of it. She would just know. No child of hers would be buying servers and whatnot. They don’t even post on Instagram without her consent. And cheating, lying boys are not something to tolerate or protect – that’s the trash treatment you kick to the curb.
Secondly, most importantly, my nieces come from a long line of women they can learn from.
They are watching, Madam Secretary.
Yup, watching their Mama, their Aunts, their Grandmothers, Sunday school teachers, and youth group leaders.
Real women. Women who are Moms and professionals and who love babies and art and fun and shopping and writing and books and learning and teaching and are managing businesses. Women with integrity, who demand integrity from others.
Women who command and deserve respect.
Women who won’t tolerate disloyalty and the soul sapping pain of infidelity.
You do your thing, HC and DT.
As grownups in this nation though? We, not you, are the ones who fulfil the role of role model.
And since it seems to matter so much to you both, I decided! All while I vacuumed months of fall leaves from my car floor.
I decided to be a better me for the youngest among our nation’s people.
I decided to talk less about your dumb campaigns and more about their school work, their friends, their goals and my own.
I decided for November 2016.
I decided to make sure our family is plugged in and set up to give to those who are hurting this holiday season – in a way that impacts my kids hearts and the hearts of those we give to. To make sure we are signed up, as a family, to help at our church’s food pantry.
I decided, H and D!
Not to only focus on political talk radio but on having good, authentic, honest talks with my 18 year old son..who will soon be working under the command of one of you (God help us all), as he prepares to swear in for service in the United States Army. He is mine for a little while longer, though.
Watching you? Not really.
Watching us, watch you? For certain.
Watching how mom and dad treat others, however they vote? Yes.
Watching for signs of respect for the office of the president? Indeed.
You are dismissed, candidates.
Friends? This part of the letter is to the rest of us..
Are the children watching the people they call “their people”, watching for the loved one they will call a role model? Absolutely.
So, eyes on the eyes on you.
There is a heavy call right now on all of us ..to conduct ourselves with the grace, respect and humility we want our children to grow and possess..
..because they are watching their people…us.