Cleveland, Kansas City and Chicago.
All sites of presidential candidate Donald Trump rallies and all sites of violent protests.
Let’s set aside for the moment that the civility of American politics has been usurped by crass and vulgar showmanship. Let’s remember that most of us who will vote are at least quasi-intelligent adults who can discern loud, smoke-and-mirror rhetoric from common sense.
Now, let’s look at our youth, those who may be voting for the first time this fall and those who will be voters in the coming years. What lessons do we want them to take away from the political process?
More importantly, is what is happening now what we want our young people to think is normal or the way it should be?
There have been numerous reports on social media of school children claiming they are being singled out because of the color of their skin with classmates laughing and taunting saying when Trump is president children with darker skin will be deported.
One mother in North Virginia posted on Facebook an incident like that happened in her third grade son’s classroom. The students decided to single out the “immigrants” in the classroom and laughed that those students would be “sent home” once Trump is President.
These are kids.
Those doing the taunting are surely just aping the thoughts and actions of their parents, but are learning it is OK to behave in this fashion. Kids are impressionable and trust what their adult role models say.
As for those being taunted, they are learning that the political system is not for them. They could become disenfranchised and retreat from taking part in their government.
In the immortal lyrics of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: “Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by, And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by. Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry, So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”
We will entrust our future to our youth. It is up to us to ensure they understand the best of our politics so they can create a nation that again embraces civil discourse and tolerance.