Remember eight years ago this week, when right-wingers freaked out over President Obama’s back-to-school address to public school children? MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted at the time that the right-wing meltdown was completely irrational, since Obama said nothing offensive during the speech.
Eight years later, if Donald Trump decided to deliver a back-to-school address to America’s schoolchildren, progressive and centrist parents would be more than justified in not wanting their children to hear such a speech. There would be no guarantee that Trump wouldn’t say something blatantly or subtly offensive, wouldn’t say something to further undermine America’s cohesiveness, wouldn’t say something to make Americans hate each other.
Ask yourself: if you were a parent, would you want your child hearing a back-to-school speech from Donald Trump? Would you want your young son or daughter viewing this creep as a role model? Would you want your child influenced in any way, shape or form by this man?
Presidents are the value-setters for this nation, which is why adults must always exercise wisdom and judgment when they decide who to put into the Oval Office. It can be argued that the 62 million Americans who made the demented decision to back the bigoted billionaire last fall inflicted severe psychological harm upon America’s schoolchildren, especially children from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
Think of the schoolchildren with undocumented parents who are afraid that Trump’s ICE regime will rip their mothers and fathers away from them at any moment. Those who voted for Trump are responsible for the pain they feel.
Think of the African-American schoolchildren who fear that their parents will be harmed or killed by a bigoted member of law enforcement, only to have that individual avoid accountability because Trump’s Justice Department doesn’t think police brutality exists–and certainly doesn’t think black lives matter. Those who voted for Trump are responsible for the pain they feel.
Think of the Jewish schoolchildren who will hear cruel slurs hurled, and see crude swastikas drawn, by classmates who have learned from their pro-Trump parents–and the President those parents revere--that it’s OK to mock, demean and belittle anyone who isn’t a Christian. Those who voted for Trump are responsible for the pain they feel.
Think of the children of all colors and creeds who fear that when they go to school, they might not come back home because of nuclear war–or they might not have a home to go back to if it’s destroyed by a hurricane made more powerful by carbon pollution. Those who voted for Trump are responsible for the pain they feel.
If I were a principal at a public school, I would absolutely think twice before showing my students a Trump back-to-school speech. I’d be afraid of disrupting the school by showing such a speech; the average school day is difficult enough without adding an extra element of divisiveness. If conservative parents complained, I’d tell them that there’s nothing preventing them from showing their kids the speech as soon as they get home.
Trump’s sleazy speech to the Boy Scouts proves that the man has no sense of decorum or decency. Would you trust Trump not to attack Hillary Clinton in a back-to-school speech or suggest to white students that their Latino classmates probably have family members in MS-13? Would you trust Trump not to incite all manner and manifestation of racial and religious tensions in public schools–especially when he has already done so in public?