How to Talk About Trump to Children

How do we speak to small children about Trump? The question used to be about sex, or death, and now it is Trump -- at least in my family. The soon-to-be 8 year old twins stopped by for a visit yesterday and the Trump question arose. "Gramps, what do you think of Trump?" Z asked me. I hesitated and said, "I try not to."
05/05/2016 09:49 am ET Updated May 06, 2017

How do we speak to small children about Trump? The question used to be about sex, or death, and now it is Trump -- at least in my family. The soon-to-be 8 year old twins stopped by for a visit yesterday and the Trump question arose. "Gramps, what do you think of Trump?" Z asked me. I hesitated and said, "I try not to." I was being pretty evasive, only offering her my easy "he would make a very poor President and I will not vote for him" And I came to the conclusion that the answer to the Trump question is "Don't!" No words will suffice for a small child -- change the subject if you can, there are some catastrophes and complexities that small children should be spared. There are no birds and bees to cover Trump talk -- just swamps and mosquitoes. If you are for Clinton or Sanders it is best to steer the conversation in their direction -- speaking about all the good that they can do if elected. The bogey-man has had an honorable, long standing, and awful place in the lives of small children and to replace him with Trump would be a disservice to children and chimeras everywhere. I refer to the fire-breathing monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail so beloved in Greek mythology. Trump will not do for a smear of horror lurking in a closet or under the bed or replace a mythological beast - he is the smear of horror lurking on the TV -- a horror for the modern age.

If you must continue the Trump talk -- reassure the child that he, Trump, can be shut off. The old bogey-man comes when the lights are off. Trump is only there when the bright lights are on. But of course, I am being facetious, and it is a necessary conversation if the child is old enough to ask the question. You will be obliged to bore them a bit with some talk about the freedoms we enjoy that his candidacy threatens -- cling fast to the American Constitution which for all its faults is the rock on which we stand -- and how some people would threaten those freedoms -- so it is our duty to oppose these people by voting against them. By this time you have bored the curious child into asking about the age of the stuffed toy panda that lies on the floor -- and we decide that it is time for a birthday for the panda to be celebrated with jello and whipped cream -- and the hell with any more Trump talk for this visit. But, alas, Trump is with us -- at least until November -- when the curtain will hopefully open and this Wizard of Ooze will be revealed as a cheap magician selling patent medicine poisons to the unwary -- and we will then have to deal with the eternal questions about life and death.