After my boys were born, I left full-time teaching in favor of a part-time role at the community preschool where I worked alongside a brilliant behaviorist.
Of all the things I gleaned from Paul, this is what I repeat most often to new parents:
“Inconsistency is the strongest reinforcer.”
Earlier this month, I watched as Trump took a question from a reporter on the topic of emboldening white nationalism.
His response revealed the two defining attributes of the 45th POTUS:
Given Trump’s lack of true allegiance to anything beyond power, he is happy to be whatever his supporters need him to be–racist, misogynist, bigoted. It doesn’t matter whether he is or isn’t these things, he holds space for them, legitimizes them, elevates them. Trump purposely sounds like his supporters so that they can find themselves in him in all the ways they couldn’t find themselves in say, the highly-educated, clear-minded, steadfast presence of Barack Obama, who above all was a man of color with the audacity to assume the highest office in the land, much like that ugly, uppity woman who failed to be hot or perfect, as all women must be (and who by her vie for Presidency, excluded Kayne, because of his father. and because of the absence of super powers lent by the red MAGA cap.)
Trump is also highly unpredictable.
(No more need be said on this account.)
His winning combination drives ratings, and ratings are something for which Trump is highly versed and as such his success relies on a segment of the population–those who feel both entitled to this country and sees its governance as a sport and those who enable both without adherence to either because they lack integrity.
Trump is like the highschool basketball player, their superstar, finally crushing the enemy.
Who cares if he says a few racist things (we’re all think them) and who cares about the rumor of raping a girl under the bleachers (she’s a skank anyway); and who cares about that small kid he stuffed into the trash can in the cafeteria–that’s tough guy culture. (Deal with it.)
Their giddy sense of victory, long denied, has turned them away from the voices of educators and artists, thought leaders and preachers, peace-making bodies and protectors, much like they turned away throughout their long-gone and longed-for adolescence.
Reclaiming prowess vicariously through Trump is better than not having it at all.
It doesn’t matter that he’s ugly which he is and has been which we first knew back in the day in Atlantic City. It doesn’t matter that he derides others–from his wife to his role as a father to the Office of the President.
“He’s real. He says what he wants,” they say, as if: “Doesn’t his shit smell great.”
Like dogs in heat, they want to get right up close to his asshole and sniff.
I don’t have pets like Trump has followers, but I bet it’s almost impossible to separate a dog who is in the act of humping another.
Perhaps it’s best to turn away like I once suggested my young son do, after he pointed across the street to two animals: “What are they doing?”
I explained it first, of course, very scientifically, and they cats who were fucking, not dogs; but then I kept on walking.
Instead of staring, let’s turn to the swelling chorus of those who care where caring is most needed, giving wings to their work instead of lending our attention to the masturbatory emissions of Trump and his wannabees.
The path of the con-artist is well worn, but so too the path of integrity, and those who walk it inspire me, which is the direction that I turned my children toward, sharing with them, this quote, particularly as they came of age:
Integrity is one of several paths. It distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path and the only one upon which you will never get lost.
My oldest son admitted that he once saw me and that quote as a threat to his happiness, thinking the integrity path a ploy; much like Trump’s “children” think of compassion in action as artifice instead of authentic, whether is espoused from their Lefty mother or Conservative father, as so many GOP voices speak out.
Like our nation, I thrive in diversity, and as a parent I strive to be consistent, just as we must strive to be consistent as citizens, no matter our party affiliation, which so many already demonstrate, upholding that which is central to our nation’s path of integrity:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident…