Tag Archives: donald trump

Stop Telling Parents Not to Talk About Politics

“Stick to parenting.”
“I thought this was a parenting page, stop talking politics.”
“You make this look like a parenting page but it’s just the liberal agenda in disguise.”

I’ve gotten a lot of comments over the years far worse than the ones above, yet I’m less irritated with the threatening and hateful rhetoric than I am with the criticism that comes with running a parenting page that also talks politics.

First of all, this is free content. Facebook isn’t paying me to have a page or write things on it and I don’t host ads on my website so I’m not using that traffic to monetize my site. I do it because it’s fun (most of the time) and I gain some sense of satisfaction from it. If you were a paying customer then MAYBE you’d have some ground to stand on because you could argue you’re not getting your money’s worth, but seeing as this is free and Facebook is optional, stop your bitching.

Second, I’m not hiding anything nor am I out to trick anyone. Yes, this page is mostly about parenting. However, right there in the “About” section DIRECTLY ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE, here’s what it says:

Yup, that’s right. The same people bitching about the “liberal agenda” masquerading as a parenting page didn’t even bother to check the freaking “About” section, which would’ve told them, in no uncertain terms, I regularly write about politics.

Third, this is my page. I created it, I crafted it, and I and I alone decide what gets posted. That means the people whining about what’s on my free page that they’re under no obligation to visit, have essentially come to my virtual house where they decided to bitch about how I decorate and offer me unsolicited advice on how it can look better.

To which I say “Get bent. Screw you. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

You want to disagree with me? Fine. I love debate and I’ll gladly engage in it with you. But debate the issue. If you think Donald Trump is the best president we’ve ever had and all my criticisms are unfounded, then argue your point. Prove it. Back up the things you say with facts and supporting evidence. I promise, I’ll hear you out. I’ll disagree with you vehemently, but I’ll listen.

What I won’t listen to is you telling me what I should and shouldn’t be writing on the page I created and run all by myself.

I’ve been doing this a lot of years and 99% of the time it isn’t that people don’t want to talk politics — it’s that they don’t agree with MY politics. It’s so indicative of the ridiculously polarized environment in which we currently find ourselves. When people find their way to my page via a non-political article they enjoy but then scroll through my archives or social media and discover I’m a liberal, that’s it. After discovering they don’t share my political views, they can’t like one or two things about me — they have to dislike EVERYTHING about me. Because otherwise, they’re supporting liberals and liberals are BAD. It’s all or nothing, middle ground be damned. Even though they like the parenting and fatherhood stuff, they don’t want to hear me mix in my political views if they don’t jive with their own.

Sure, there are some people who genuinely don’t want to talk politics at all, and those people I direct to my good friends at Life of Dad. There’s something to be said for desiring a little escape from the overwhelming political mess and divisive atmosphere we’re in right now, and I’m glad there are sites out there that provide it.

But my page is not that. It was never meant to be that. It never will be that. And in fact, I feel a responsibility to talk about politics MORE, not less, as we get further into the failed experiment of the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The thing that infuriates me the most is the belief that parenting discussions should be separate from politics, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

What’s happening under Trump is unprecedented and awful and must be discussed at length. And newsflash — it not only impacts you as a parent, it affects your children as well.

The  anti-immigrant sentiment has many children worried about losing their family members and having their lives uprooted when Trump deports them. There’s been a spike in hate crimes since Donald Trump won the election, as xenophobia and fervent nationalism has caused increase violence under the “America First” umbrella — especially in the classroom where some teachers report bullying is on the rise in the name of Trump.

And just last week, Trump began the process of pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement. The man who holds the highest office our nation offers doesn’t believe in basic science, and has us joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only two  nations who won’t do their part to combat climate change.

The main goal for every parent is to leave the world a little better for their kids than they found it, yet we’re living under a presidential regime that is pro-coal, anti-science, and anti-planet. If you can’t see the importance of politics as it relates to parenting in the context of “we need to take care of the freaking planet for our kids,” then something is fundamentally wrong with you.

Think about that — we can’t even agree on saving the planet. That ain’t right.

So no, I will not stop talking about politics on my parenting page. As comforting as it may seem to bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is normal, that’s just not the case. So while all well-reasoned, intelligent, factually based arguments are welcome on my page, the one thing you aren’t allowed to do is tell me what I should and shouldn’t be writing about. Facebook is free, so if you want a parenting space without politics, start your own or scroll on by to one of the other millions of pages out there.

What’s happening in our world is worthy of discussion, especially among parents.

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How The West Wing on Netflix Got Me Through the Election

west wing cast
Bring back President Bartlet!

It’s no secret the outcome of the presidential election was not to my liking. Which is an understated way of saying I was absolutely devastated in every way, shape, and form.

And when I’m upset, I binge-watch.

Netflix may not have started with therapeutic intentions, but I’m willing to bet it’s become that for millions of customers. And after it became clear I was going to have to raise my kids under President Donald Trump, I needed a distraction in a big way.

I needed The West Wing on Netflix.

It might seem strange to immediately watch a political show when politics is the cause of my stress in the first place. But after 15 months of watching Trump say horrifically ignorant things only to be rewarded with the highest office in the land, I needed the fictional White House of my dreams.

I wanted President Josiah Barlet’s steady hand and unmatched intellect. I craved Sam Seaborn’s unrelenting idealism and deep love for doing the right thing at all costs. I longed for Toby Ziegler’s stubbornness matched only by his ability to string together perfect words to form transcendent speeches in the loftiest of moments. And I marveled at Josh Lyman’s witty arrogance combined with his heartfelt dedication to the service of his country.

I’m of the opinion intelligence should be held in the highest esteem, and Aaron Sorkin writes brilliantly smart dialogue. The banter between cast members moves at light speed with expert precision, and the result is some truly memorable scenes that will forever stand out in your memory. Like this one.

I have re-watched the whole first season of West Wing since the election. Unfortunately, I fear it’s the only recourse I’ll have if I want to see an extraordinary intellectual painstakingly weigh crucial decisions of national importance instead of firing off an ill-advised tweet that seeks to strip Americans of their Constitutionally protected rights.

In a world turned temporarily insane, Netflix is my escape and my therapy. Let’s hope there’s four years worth of entertainment to keep us all occupied.


netflix stream team logo

I was compensated for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.

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Don’t Be a Dick

dont-be-a-dick

“Dad, what do we do now?”

That was the most pressing question my 8-year-old asked me in the wake of Trumpageddon. I was focusing on how did we get here, what went wrong, and how the hell can people be this stupid? But, as usual, my oldest son directed my attention to what’s really important — the “what now?”

You see, I spent most of this election telling my son Trump wouldn’t win. I told him that because I believed in this country’s common sense and ability to sniff out an obvious con-man who threatened the very foundation upon which the United States is built. I told him bullies don’t win in the end.

But the bully did win. Ignorance, hate, and divisiveness won. There’s nothing I can do about that now, so where do we go from here and how did I answer my son’s question? After some contemplation, I looked him straight in the eye and said the following:

“Just don’t be a dick.”

I didn’t make that up, I stole it from my friend Oren Miller. It was his one guiding principle when he started a dad blogger Facebook group that has swelled to more than 1,200 members. Cancer took him from us in 2015 but his painful absence doesn’t make the advice any less pertinent. Especially now.

Unfortunately the election is lost. Donald Trump will be our next President of the United State for at least four years. A lot of us don’t like it, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. However, not being a dick is a great way to do our part to combat the dickishness in which our country is currently awash.

I told Will if he sees or hears bullies at school trashing people (especially minorities), step in and help. Because not taking action is still being a dick, and defending classmates lets them know they’re not alone.

Stumble upon some lily white morons telling kids who look different from them to go back where they came from? Breathing a sigh of relief just because they’re not picking on you is still being a dick, so put yourself in between the bullies and the bullied. I told Will as a white male, he’s got an easier time than most so he needs to make sure he’s got some skin in the game, because discrimination is never acceptable.

Hear someone telling a female classmate she can’t participate in something like science or sports just because she’s a girl? Don’t be a dick — shut that shit down immediately. Many women had hammers in hand to finally break through that glass ceiling, only to have the rug pulled out from under them at the eleventh hour. But this is not their fight, it’s our fight. All of us. You don’t need to rescue damsels in distress, you just need to stand up for what’s right and help your fellow people.

Don’t be a dick about refugees. The vast majority of refugees are not terrorists and are simply trying to keep their families alive. If that were me, I’d break every immigration rule possible if it meant keeping my family safe from the bombs raining down on them. Be empathetic and tell those who would rather build walls and deny entrance to our country based on religious discrimination that you’re not going to put up with that crap. I guarantee others will follow your lead.

Gay people just got the right to marry who they want, but now they’re facing an administration that openly hates them and is threatening to nominate Supreme Court judges who could potentially delegitimize their families. So don’t be a dick by calling people “faggots” and don’t let other people get away with slurs. You’ll be surrounded by kids who are gay but too afraid to come out, and even if they never thank you personally for standing up for them in public, they’ll feel less alone because you did. You never know what’s going to save someone from going over the edge, so be a stand-up guy instead of a dick.

And lastly, don’t listen to the people who will claim YOU are being a dick by speaking out against others. There’s a difference between basic political disagreements and standing up against racists, misogynists, and xenophobes. Trump is in the latter category and his supporters condoned those things by voting for him. Will, you can never be too intolerant of intolerance, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

This is a dark time, my boy. It’s also an exceedingly dangerous time because standards of decency are shifting. What should be unacceptable is now presidential, and normalizing our most fanatical and awful behaviors leads to the erosion of all things good and just. So don’t fall into that basket of deplorables.

Don’t be a dick, even if we just elected one.

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It’s Not About Politics

trump mocks disabled reporter

The people devastated about President-elect Donald Trump are not whining about petty politics. Because this isn’t about politics – it never has been.

I know empathy is not a trait in large supply among the largely under-educated, white, angry Trump base, but humor me in this little exercise. Your guy already won so why not, right?

Imagine just for a moment you’re a gay, married person in America right now. You have spent years trying to convince everyone your love is just as valid as everyone else’s. You have fought tirelessly, not for special treatment, but simply to be seen as equal in the eyes of the law. You have been berated by bigots, called every slur in the book, and been told your legal marriage to someone of the same sex would erode society’s values and represent an abomination in God’s eyes. But finally, through all that, you won. Love won. And now you’re free to marry who you want and enjoy all the rights that come with that.

Then you wake up on November 9 and find all of those gains threatened.

Donald Trump is against gay marriage. But even more troubling, vice president-elect Mike Pence is REALLY against it. Trump has vowed to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court, which means there is a very real possibility gay marriage could be reversed, and gay people relegated to second-class citizenship once again.

That’s not being upset about politics, that’s abject and very legitimate fear that someone is actively threatening your family.

Now imagine you’re someone with a preexisting medical condition. This isn’t hard for me, since my wife is in this category. You struggled for years because no one would insure you and you paid exorbitant prices for treatment and medication. Your health suffered immensely. Your quality of life was significantly impacted. You lived in constant pain and fear of being able to afford to live.

Then came the ACA (ObamaCare) and suddenly your prayers were answered. Health insurance companies could no longer deny you because of a preexisting condition, and suddenly millions like you had access to quality, more affordable care. Your health improved, your quality of life improved, and even your mental state improved because you weren’t constantly worried about going broke just to stay alive.

Then comes news of President Trump, and what’s his first order of business? Repealing ObamaCare. And suddenly all that fear, pain, and uncertainty comes flooding back. Yesterday, my wife frantically made phone calls to move up a surgery because as of January, there’s a very real possibility it will no longer be covered if she’s dropped by her provider. The woman on the other end of the phone said “You’re not alone, we’re flooded with calls today.”

That’s not being upset about politics, that’s legitimate fear of no longer being able to afford medical care. It is, quite literally for many people, a matter of life and death.

Now picture yourself as a woman who is pregnant. It doesn’t matter the circumstances – planned, accident, rape, incest – because for whatever reason, you don’t want the baby anymore. It’s more than a little ridiculous that women had to go to court to be able to control their own bodies, but Roe vs Wade has been the law of the land for 40+ years giving you the option of ending the pregnancy if you wish.

But suddenly the man who vowed to nominate Supreme Court justices specifically to overturn that landmark case is elected president. Now you’re afraid your own personal medical decisions will no longer be guided by you and your doctor, but white, religious male politicians who value the collection of cells inside of you more than the living, breathing person housing them.

That’s not sour grapes about politics, it’s the very real fear that the government will soon dictate your reproductive health decisions and potentially force you to give birth against your will.

What Trump supporters don’t understand is this particular election of this particular candidate is a direct attack on non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual people.

Trump was heard advocating sexual assault and “grabbing women by the pussy” just weeks before the election. But instead of his campaign faltering, he seemed to get the push he needed to cross the finish line. Think about that. A man was rewarded with the presidency after bragging about sexual assault. If you’re wondering what people mean by “rape culture,” look no further.

The message that sent to women everywhere is “this is OK.” In fact, it’s presidential.

Let’s also not forget people of color. Although Trump didn’t receive many newspaper endorsements, he did receive one notable one. The KKK’s newspaper endorsed him, and known racist David Duke campaigned hard for Trump. Trump also re-tweeted white supremacists on Twitter dozens of times over the campaign, and it’s no secret he holds Black Lives Matter in very little regard.

With a large segment of supporters wielding Confederate flags and Trump only mentioning black people in conjunction with inner cities (not to mention Trump’s history of being sued by the DOJ for not renting his property to black people), how are people of color supposed to take this other than a direct insult and threat?

I think the real reason people are heartbroken is because we woke up in America we don’t recognize. For well-intentioned people with privilege (myself included) who gave this country the benefit of the doubt and 100% believed reasonable people would plainly see the danger Trump represents, this is nothing short of shocking. And for many who aren’t minorities, it’s the first realization that hate, anger, and fear might be the majority opinion.

Don’t think for a second that liberals have any less love for America simply because we don’t deck out our vehicles in American flag decals and NRA stickers. We love America deeply and passionately, just like you do. But we truly believed our America was one where bullies lose in the end and love trumps hate.

That doesn’t appear to be the case, and that crushes us.

I can only hope Donald Trump the President does not remotely resemble Donald Trump the campaigner. As a deeply patriotic person, I have no choice but to hope he surrounds himself with competent people not on the fringe, and to remember he lost the popular vote, which means a majority of US citizens did not choose him to lead us.

But if he does continue on the path he blazed during the campaign, it’s up to all of us to fight it. To unequivocally support those who will undoubtedly be more vulnerable than ever under President Trump. To stay, fight, and advocate for what we know to be right.

We wake up today in a place that looks familiar, yet is now unrecognizable. We mourn the country we thought we knew but ultimately didn’t, and we come to grips with how to love that country despite its choice to embrace hate and divisiveness.

We don’t know exactly what’s next, but we know one thing – it’s not about politics.

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What Kind of Parent Attacks a Grieving Mother? Donald Trump

I have to believe losing a child is one of the most horrible things a human being can experience. It is something so fundamentally unspeakable as to be feared by all parents, and when it happens there is nothing but universal sympathy and empathy from anyone who has ever cared for a child as their own.

Except for Donald Trump, it seems.

Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week, criticizing Trump for his call to ban Muslims from entering the country. That’s because their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq and protecting his fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber. They had some harsh words for Trump, and offered the Republican presidential nominee a copy of the U.S. Constitution for him to read.

But instead of ignoring them or offering his sympathies and reiterating the party line about how he’s still the best choice compared to Hillary Clinton, Trump went on the war path. He decided the best defense is an overly aggressive offense, so he put two grieving parents in his crosshairs and said this:

“She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But a plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet, and it looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that.”

The message is undeniably clear — Donald Trump believes Ghazala Khan was forced into a position of subservience because she and her husband are Muslim. So, while being criticized for being anti-Muslim, Trump decided his best course of action was doubling down and taking ANOTHER shot at Muslims by suggesting the grieving mother of a fallen U.S. war hero was being intimidated by her husband and not allowed to speak.

Nevermind the fact that she has spoken out in the past (and would do so again after the fact), there is something much more despicable and troubling at work here.

Donald Trump is a father of five children. He is no stranger to parenthood and all the trials and tribulations that come with it. Yet despite sharing that common bond with the Khans, Trump made the decision to berate and belittle two parents whose son sacrificed his life for his country. I repeat, Trump, a man who hopes to one day command soldiers, doesn’t have enough respect and consideration for Gold Star parents to stop himself from lashing out and attacking them.

There is something wrong with Donald Trump. There is something wrong with any parent who can’t conjure up enough sympathy and respect for parents who have had to bury a child.

Don’t tell me this isn’t about parenting and don’t tell me I shouldn’t discuss politics on a page largely devoted to parenting issues. This is the presidential election and EVERYTHING relates back to parenting. The person we vote for will shape the world in which we live for at least the next four years. He/She will likely nominate multiple U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

It is not acceptable to attack our Gold Star parents. Just like it’s ridiculous to attack POWs who endured a hell I can’t possibly imagine while being held captive. Yet that’s where we’re at with Donald Trump.

Politics has always been nasty, but Trump has navigated us to uncharted waters. He has no empathy or sense of compassion. He thinks only of himself and is so thin-skinned he feels the need to fire back at all of his detractors. Women who disagree with him are “fat pigs,” media outlets who criticize him using his own statements and verifiable facts are banned from covering his campaign, and now Gold Star parents are apparently in play for Trump. Sen. John McCain, Speaker Paul Ryan, and even the VFW have publicly stated how horrified they are by Trump’s actions, yet Trump is undeterred and totally willing to say anything about anyone at any time.

This isn’t fighting against political correctness. There’s nothing correct about what Trump is doing by removing the last vestiges of civility from politics. This is about a lack of humanity and an inability to empathize with anyone who has a dissenting opinion. It’s an indicator of how things will work if (deity of your choosing forbid) Trump becomes President Trump. It’s disgusting and dangerous and wrong.

And it’s beneath us as Americans.

Seriously, folks. What Trump is doing and saying isn’t worthy of this country or the office he’s trying so desperately to occupy. If you’re a parent and you’re OK with the way Donald Trump has acted toward the Khans, then seek help. Immediately. Because you are broken.

When the face of the Republican party can’t even find common ground with other parents who are mourning dead children, there’s a problem. We have a problem. Let’s make sure we don’t put the problem in the Oval Office.

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