When I started writing 12 years ago, I promised myself I’d never compose anything political. Aside from Flyers hockey, politics is one of the few topics that get me fired up. Afraid emotions would cloud my judgment, I stayed away. The current presidential campaign goads me.
In my lifetime, most presidential campaigns hit a period pundits call “silly season”. Candidates promise the undeliverable. Mud slings. Ads bend the truth. Never in my lifetime has a campaign been described as dangerous. For now, disregard the events in Chicago. First, lets focus on one of the last GOP debates. Fox News asked their viewers to describe the debate in one word. Their answers – Disgusting. Childish. Fifth Grade level. The next day, prominent papers also used the terms schoolyard and grade school. Now this campaign has offended another group. We’ve insulted Mexicans, Japanese, Muslims, African Americans, and now grade school kids. If I was ten-years-old, I’d be pretty upset if someone pointed to Trump’s or Rubio’s behavior and said, hey you act the same way.
Are our kids really that bad? Even wild kids have downtime. Many kids have periods of acting out or bad moods, just like any adult can be moody. And a few show a pattern of misbehavior. They prove their disposition is to be irritable, combative, and mean. But are most kids like this now? With two daughters under the age of three, is this what I have to look forward to? Is grade school going to be unbearable?
Then, the other night, my wife had on MasterChef Junior. It showcased kids from all walks of life and all races in a cooking competition. As the show went on, it struck me. This group of ten-year-olds genuinely cared for one another, even though they were after the same prize. As they finished that episode’s challenges, they hugged. They cried when one of the kids was cut from the game and sent home. There was no anger. There was no hate. They recognized they were different, but they talked about how that made them interesting, not scary.
The pundits are wrong. The comparison is wrong. It would be a welcome change to see the candidates act like children.