The Donald has taken our country by storm over the past several months. Seen as a political outsider, Trump says what he thinks and doesn’t mince his words. He’s just Donald being Donald.
This sort of filter-free campaigning has created some memorable moments:
From the time he mocked a disabled reporter:
…to the time he grotesquely quested Hilary Clinton for needing to use the restroom during a debate (insinuating she had “womanly issues”…because, that’s unacceptable in a man’s world):
Or when the Megyn Kelley was too difficult on him during a debate, Donald claimed she was just PMS-ing:
Or the time he fat shamed a protester:
Sadly, I could keep going.
If there’s one thing that’s become increasingly apparent, Trump, has shown his willingness to belittle others, not based on superior ideas or through legitimate debate, but through slander and bully-tactics. The stuff we remember from our 5th grade playground.
Yet, in spit of his juvenile antics, Donald is winning. This matters on a very real level, because in America bullying has reached a crisis point. Due the the prevalence of social media, the reach of the bully is far greater than even I remember, and it is affecting our children in relentless ways.
One out of four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year.
14% of those children found bullying extended to their online world.
40% of kids with autism and 60% of students with Aspergers experienced bullying.
64% of kids were bullied based on their weight.
Nearly 82% of students who identify as LGBTQ were bullied based on their sexual orientation.
And this sort of bullying matters.
Studies have shown strong association between bullying and suicide related behaviors. Youth victimized were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to report suicidial ideation and over three times more likely to attempt suicide.
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment. Compounding this, students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.
It’s ironic that the party of pro-life, family values is the party in which Trump currently leads. Considering Trump is the candidate who so clearly demonstrates a willingness to shame, mock and outwardly embarrass those different than him.
Yes, we can be fairly certain Trump is just being Trump, and in a country led by politicians whose values are determined by a populist pollster, Trump’s candidness can be intriguing.
However, as parents and, really, as human beings, we can’t acknowledge that our country has a bullying problem, and publicly lament for those who have taken their lives resulting from years of relentless bullying, while offering our political support for our bully-culture lived out in flesh and blood.
We MUST do better. Our children’s lives count on it.