As we walked to school in the horrible British drizzle this morning, my daughter abandoned the topic of wanting to own her own toy shop, so that she could tell me this:
“Mummy, I’m scared. You know that Trump man? What if he comes here and takes over our country too?”
I made a point of shielding my daughter from the US election coverage. We didn’t even watch TV while it was going on, because of the frequent snippets between programmes. We stuck to DVDs. I didn’t want my young, impressionable daughter to hear any of the nonsense that man was spewing, and politics aren’t exactly child friendly anyway.
However, when Donald Trump won the election, nobody could stop talking about it. I was in court that day (regarding my daughter’s care order being discharged) and even the Judge passed comment on the election result. Apparently, this was the day when my daughter became aware of “That Trump Man” and the fact that nobody seemed to like him very much. Other children had not been shielded from the coverage; if anything they seemed to know a lot about it, and they had talked about it so much that the teacher had to discuss it with the class so as to get them all on the same page.
This morning I reassured my daughter. I told her that nobody is allowed to run two countries because it would be too much work. She asked me why we don’t like Donald Trump, and with only five minutes before the bell and no better answer, I told her that Donald Trump believes that girls can’t do the same jobs as boys. Sprog was outraged. She asked me what would happen if he decided he didn’t want to be in charge of America, and swapped it for the UK. I told her he isn’t allowed to do that either, because he doesn’t live here. Very quietly, she replied, “I live here…” and I told her the most empowering thing I could think of at the time: “You do live here. And if you want to run the country, you absolutely can. But Donald Trump can’t.”
Between us grown ups, though, I am scared too. Donald Trump scares me, because he de-humanizes people like me. Because he doesn’t believe in things he doesn’t want to be responsible for, like global warming, or sexual assault. My daughter cried this morning, because she doesn’t think it is fair that a “nasty man with carpet hair” is in charge of America. She said it made her sad for them. Is Donald Trump capable of empathy on that level?