Love Trumps Hate
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38 Island Parent Magazine
alloween can be an anxious time for parents, who must manage kids’ high hopes for costumes and parties—and then the hard crash after a night-long sugar rush. This year added a new fright for our family: our 10-year-old son wanted to dress up as Donald Trump. And that was a scare too far. As I write, it’s just a week before the cantankerous campaign in the United States finally ends in a vote. While it’s risky to make predictions, I’m hopeful our kids will witness the inauguration of the first female U.S. president. (If I’m wrong, rather than reading this magazine, you’re likely using it to heat up an old can of beans in whatever post-apocalyptic future follows a Trump win.) Up North, we often look across our long border as though we are living next door to a brash neighbour in a monster home, with a Humvee in the driveway and a stash of hunting rifles in the attic. When they visit, we act polite and try not to talk politics. This year, the quarrelling of our American neighbours started to scare the kids. At first, Donald Trump seemed like a cartoon distraction from reality TV. Then his rants against different groups became amplified through a media megaphone and found echoes amongst angry voters. Our children didn’t need to watch the evening news or read a newspaper to learn about Trump. He became part of playground gossip. Even if he lost, psychologists have warned about a possible “Trump effect”—a coarsening of language and behavior, spread like the toxic memes shared by his online fans. American schools have felt the fallout. Highschool basketball fans chanting, “Build that wall!” at a visiting team with Latino players. Boys talking about “Trumping” their female classmates. The candidate’s caught-on-tape comments about sexual harassment and assault dismissed as “locker-room talk.” It makes a parent cringe. As a father with kids still a few years from frontiers of teenage-hood, I worry IslandParent.ca