Whatever my personal feelings or biases on the recent presidential election, barring an electoral upset, unforeseen indictment, or revolutionary uprising, Donald J. Trump is going to be the next President of the United States of America. If not the popular vote, the Electoral College is likely to seal the deal. Across our country there is a great deal of concern, unrest, vitriol, Monday Morning Quarterbacking, celebration, and what have you as to how this may have come about. I have my own theories on this matter which I will touch upon at a later time. What is occupying my thoughts at the present is the impact he will have on my three-year old son, John Adams, or as we call him Bup, or as his grandparents (for perhaps reasons of regional distinctiveness) call him Bump. I’m 45, and while any new president’s policies will impact me directly and immediately, they are certain to affect my son much longer and more viscerally.
As a child, I remember growing up under and idolizing Ronald Reagan. He was an actor turned president, so we had career kinship. He brought the hostages home from Iran. He stood up to Russia. He was the Great (charismatic) Communicator. He sang the “Song of America” very well. Children live their lives in emotional broad strokes, and whatever may be known or suspected now concerning his presidency and policies due to disclosure, time, distance, and perspective, it’s hard to shake the childhood notion that growing up under Reagan as a PA suburbanite was to live in a more hope-filled era.
In sharp contrast, I vividly recall the sense of betrayal I felt when Bill Clinton went on national television denied his illicit Oval Office affair with Monica Lewinsky, and then later infamously uttered those words that began with, “Indeed I did…” I remember being in college and feeling that his actions (again regardless of one’s political bias) dishonored the Office of the President. And I wondered whether, as a result of his actions, future generations of Americans would value the presidency less highly because he had lied to the American people. These were my examples from childhood and adolescence. If you prefer, you may fill in Nixon and Watergate, JFK and Marilyn; it makes no difference to me. Point being: how the president, any president, comports himself (for now) makes a lasting impression on the generation growing up under him. Those two men left lasting impressions on me that to date still filter, compare, and contrast with my adult perceptions and, as anyone alive knows, behavior learned in one’s youth is the hardest to change. So I’m left again wondering, how will Donald Trump’s presidency inform my son’s life and worldview?
Mother Teresa in an interview famously said that she would not march against the war in Vietnam, but if someone threw a march for peace she would be there. Likewise, rather than listing what I may be opposed to in a Trump presidency, I would rather concentrate on what I want for my son; what world I would like him to inherit. Here then is my list of “Fors” that I want for my son, my Bump. I can only hope that Trump can offer Bump something of this. Otherwise, Trump is a chump, and not worthy of my Bump.
- I am for clean air, and clean water for all.
- I am for putting an end to starvation and malnutrition.
- I am for investing in America’s roads and bridges.
- I am for Universal Healthcare and affordable medicine for all Americans.
- I am for free undergraduate college tuition for all Americans or equivalent preferred trade school programs.
- I am for stricter gun control laws, rigid background checks, appropriate waiting periods, and closing all the gun show and other loopholes.
- Except in special circumstances, I am for the restoration of full voting rights to all citizens who have served their sentences.
- I am for a minimum wage that also serves as a minimum living wage.
- I am pro business when that business demonstrates that it is both pro consumer and pro employee, and not just pro profit and pro exploitation.
- I am for regulation of Wall Street and accountability for all crimes committed there. No one, NO ONE is too big to fail or jail. Period.
- I am for strengthening our borders, and for appropriate immigration reform that does not target, deport, or inter people based on race, creed, color, or orientation.
- I am for America’s public lands and national parks.
- I am for the Endangered Species Act.
- I am for putting an end to income inequality in all forms.
- I am for gender equality and for women to have final say on their own bodies.
- I am for pro choice.
- I am for overturning Citizens United. Corporations aren’t people. Get real.
- I am for campaign finance reform.
- I am for marriage equality. Everyone has the same right to be happy or miserable in love.
- I am for distributing school taxes equally among state-run districts so that all children have a fighting chance for a quality education.
- I am for textbooks that are based in science not scripture.
- I am for a rigorously scrutinized merit-based hiring environment.
- I am for our space program and sending humanity to Mars and beyond. We have become too complacent and lost our way. It’s time to reach for the stars again.
- I am for all faiths and all religions that seek no harm to others to flourish and be honored and given equal protection under our secular Constitution.
- I am for calling out and prosecuting media bias, censorship, and spin that does not fall under First Amendment protections. Give us the facts, not lies and manipulation.
- I am for the exploration of clean technologies, and for the gradual phasing out of fuels that no longer serve the best interests of our environment.
- I am for taking the threat of Global Warming seriously.
- I am for judging people, “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Thanks MLK.
- I am pro child, pro education, pro arts, pro sciences, pro biodiversity, pro peace and pro love.
- And lastly, and most strenuously, I am pro my son.
I doubt I’ll get to see much of this come to pass, but I can only hope my son will. And that’s my vision for Bump’s America, where all are welcome to live, love, and flourish.
May it be so someday.