We apologize. Deeply. Sincerely.
This isn’t what we wanted for you. This isn’t what you deserve as children of this great nation. You deserve a president you can look up to, someone of dignity and decorum, someone who exudes wisdom, integrity, and consideration for his fellow men and women.
Instead, you got Donald Trump.
What can we say... we let you down. Bigly.
Because our job is not just to keep you safe and healthy, teach you right from wrong, prepare you for a life that’s productive and meaningful. We’re obliged to do our best to construct a world in which you’re surrounded and mentored by decent people, people of character, honor, and forthrightness ― people who exemplify, prioritize, and see the value of traits like good manners and common civility.
Instead, you got Donald Trump.
How can we explain that? How do we justify it? How do we compensate for that wretched deficit in the Oval Office?
How do we ask you to show respect to the leader of our country when that leader behaves in ways undeserving of your respect? How do we expect you to be conscious, considerate, empathetic members of society when the “leader of the free world” is none of those things, is the opposite of those things? How do we hang the “president’s portrait” in your elementary schools and high schools with a presumption that you’ll look to that image with admiration and aspiration, when the person pictured is an alleged serial sexual harasser, a persistent online troller, a sexist abuser of female public figures, and a documented liar, fraud, and cheat?
We can’t. And you can’t.
We adults blew it. We let the guy we’d do everything possible to keep away from you kids waltz right through the front doors of the White House. And there’s really no good rationale for that, despite the efforts of apologists and mouthpieces to define one.
Personally, I felt so passionate about not inflicting this embodiment of the worse of men upon all of you that I wrote a piece titled “Why Donald Trump Cannot Ever Be Our President” in which I identified YOU as the main reason why that result would be folly of the highest order. Sadly, and despite my vehemence, I was outvoted. Not by actual Americans — they voted for Hillary Clinton by a majority of 3 million or more — but by Russian operatives, Wikileaks manipulators, online bots frothing reams of fake propaganda, and red state citizens who fell for the noise. And certainly by an electoral college that abdicated their job to prevent the country from electing a person who is unqualified, potentially destructive, and, as it turns out, daily shames and embarrasses his office and, by association, American citizens, including you young ones.
ALL of them threw you under the bus, sacrificed your right, as American children, to have a president to look up to and emulate. ALL of them should apologize, but they won’t, they can’t. They either don’t care, are delighted by the results (i.e., Russia, too many Republicans), or they’re still too deep in the lie... though polls tell us more and more of that faction are beginning to see the light.
Certainly those of us who hold dignity dear, who believe decorum, integrity, and grace are essential elements of the American character, hate to see you lose your civic innocence by way of a president you cannot respect, cannot look up to, should never emulate. All we can do is hope that if you see his repugnant tweets, if you pick up on his rampant sexism, if you make note of his bullying tactics, his insults, lies, and bottom-feeding behaviors, YOU’LL BE BETTER THAN THAT. You’ll be better than the current president of the United States.
Remember: he won’t be there forever. He’s a temporary holder of the office. He’s been given a four-year term but, considering his alleged and documented malfeasance, currently under FBI investigation, it’s possible that term will be truncated. For the sake of the country, for the sake of all of you, responsible adults hope that happens.
But whatever happens, please hold on to the goodness you know, what your parents taught you of humanity, honor, and ethics. Be truthful. Be respectful of others. Look out for each other. Hold your bar high. Those traits can and must sustain, even in the face of the worst offenders. Even during this anomalous, opprobrious era of Donald Trump.
We hope you’ll accept our apology.
The Sane Adults of America
Photo by Nicole Adams @ Unsplash