Danger, Will Robinson!

WAKE UP, AMERICA. Donald Trump is Dangerous.

A year ago the idea of Donald Trump running for president and people finding him to be a refreshing voice amongst the doublespeak of many career politicians was vaguely amusing to me. As in, it was kind of a joke. That I could laugh at. Around the time the primaries were coming up in my state, I researched how I could change my party so that I could vote in the primary for the sole purpose of voting against Trump as the Republican nominee.  I wasn’t laughing anymore. People really believed this man was fit to be president. People I know and interact with on a regular basis. People in my community. Friends. FAMILY.

I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton. She has some ideas I agree with and many I don’t. The email thing bugged me. I mean, come on! Classified information on an unsecured server? Ridiculous. She totally knew better. I don’t have a high level of trust in her. But then, I don’t have a high level of trust in any politician. Although Bernie seemed pretty straightforward about his positions and not likely to sell the American people up the river,  I didn’t agree with all of his plans either. It’s not likely that there will ever be a candidate that is 100% compatible with anyone’s individual ideas and values, right? So we have to choose who is most in line with what is most important to us.

Here is what is important to me: raising my boys to be strong in character; I want them to be surrounded by people who value kindness, intelligence, good-humor, hard work, honesty and love. I want them to see these values in their community. I want them to look up to their teachers, coaches, local police, business owners and government as leaders and see these ethics present and at work all around them. I know they will encounter many people who don’t have the same ideals and philosophies and that’s OK. But what is NOT OK, NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT is having the PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY espouse HATRED at every turn.

I’m angry. This latest ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s is kind of like the proverbial straw. Maybe it is because it touched on one of my biggest fears–no matter what I teach and model at home, my sons are going out into this world without me and when they do they are going to be in locker rooms and parties with drunk people and groups of men and they may get the message that women are objects, that women who drink at parties and smile and flirt with you are yours to push up against a wall in the bathroom and grab by the pussy, and that boasting about who you’d fuck with a bunch of men is EXPECTED AND ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR!

Seriously, what the hell is going on in this world? Rapists are being set free with a slap on the wrist because male judges wouldn’t want to ruin a “young man’s future”. And now we have the potential NEXT PRESIDENT of the United States brushing off his repugnant remarks against women by essentially saying that “boys will be boys”! And people are shrugging their shoulders and saying that Hillary is untrustworthy and that her husband had an affair and she stood by him and bad-mouthed the women so all is really even-steven in this race and  women shouldn’t be all up in arms because Trump engaged in some “locker room banter” ten years ago?!

Is this really OK, America? This is where we are? In 2016? Women are still being shamed and blamed and objectified and seen as walking vaginas?

I want to scream.

And of course it isn’t just the RAMPANT MISOGYNY I object to. The hateful remarks he has made about pretty much everyone who isn’t a rich, white male deeply offend me. I do not care if the man could stop every job from leaving the U.S. or cut everyone’s taxes and somehow balance our budget (which he can’t), he is not fit to be the leader of this country.

I was going to let my sons watch this second debate since they don’t have school on Monday and can stay up a little later. Now I feel like I can’t. They won’t learn anything about the real issues facing our country and how the candidates intend to handle them. They are going to see a rude, hateful bully who has been given a MICROPHONE to spread his hate on the world’s stage. What are they going to learn from that??? Nothing I want them to learn for sure.

This has all gone too far. Are we going to let our country be run by someone whose audio we need to shield from our children? Are we going to allow someone who has basically condoned using their celebrity and power to sexually assault women to choose judges? Are we going to continue to defend his ignorant, racist, hateful remarks and say we need to overlook his personal flaws because he is better for our country than an experienced politician or one of the third-party candidates who “can’t win” anyway? Are we going to elect someone whose morals are so vastly different from our own?

Or wait. Are these morals not vastly different from your own?

Are you raising your children with a different set of values? Are you teaching your children that not all men and women are created equal? That we aren’t all afforded the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and safety? That we shouldn’t help our fellow humans when we can? That we should be lazy and dishonest and mean? That power and money should be obtained at any cost? That the only person who matters is yourself? That it’s is OK to be rude and disrespectful to people?

I’m no saint or paragon of virtue, let me be clear on that. But I try damn hard to be a good person and instill my core values and morals in my sons so that they may be good citizens of this world. And I think this might be the part that scares me the most: votes will be cast for Donald Trump. And each one represents a person whose moral compass points in the opposite direction from the one I’m trying to hold for my sons. And if it doesn’t point in a different direction, if your morals and values are the same as mine but you’re a “Republican” or a “Conservative” or “hate Hillary” or “third-party candidates can’t win” or one of the many other reasons I’ve heard GOOD PEOPLE use to defend their vote, I beg you to use your conscience and intelligence and figure out a way to reconcile all those things and DON’T VOTE FOR TRUMP.

For the love of the game

People ask me what I do in the winter when there is no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. – Rogers Hornsby

There are 93 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. However, our Little League is way ahead of the game. We had our first team meeting and from what I understand other teams have actually had a practice. It may seem a bit ambitious. A touch over-the-top. But that’s how they roll and I guess we will roll with it.

I’ve always enjoyed baseball. I don’t understand every rule and I’ve been known to switch my allegiance to teams based on the city I am living in, but there is nothing better than sitting in the warm sunshine watching a ballgame. I love the sound of the ball hitting the bat. I love the excitement of a great catch or play in the field. I love the sights and smells of a ballpark. How I love the boys of summer.

I bought the boys their first Spiderman bat and ball when they were about 2 1/2. I remember a colleague asking me what I had planned for the weekend and I said batting practice. “Too soon?” I joked.

Aiming for the fence since age 3

Aiming for the fence since age 3

Luckily, the boys have developed a love of baseball, too, as well as having natural talent (which they didn’t get from me or their father so that’s a genetic mystery). Watching them play has been a true joy for me. But here’s the thing…

There are actual politics in Little League baseball. And parents that take things WAY too seriously. And the need for signs like this on ball fields:

290We’ve been really lucky for the last few years. The boys have had teams filled with great kids and parents. Wonderful coaches who have been firm, but kind; who always seem to give a little extra to my boys, perhaps because I’m a single mom, but mostly I think because my boys are pretty great.

Last year, they had the chance to try out to “play up”. I declined that opportunity for them because they were only 8 and I really felt like they needed another year learning in their 7/8 division. Why go be a little fish in a big pond when you can be the big fish for a change? It was a good decision. They played on a great team, learned and honed their skills, and went on to win the championship.

But now it’s a whole new ballgame (see what I did there?). And I listen to the parents talking amongst themselves about the coaches and managers and administration and the drafts and how it all works. It seems to strongly favor those kids who have connections to the league and my kids are just never going to be those kids.

I’m a competitive person. My boys have inherited that trait. We play to win. But we also play to have fun. And at this age, it should mostly be about fun. We would also like to believe that when we play hard, we will be rewarded. Unfortunately, it sounds like regardless of how hard we may play, some players are just going to be rewarded for being the Coach’s son or for knowing the right people.

And as much as I hate to admit it–this is life, too. It’s not always what you know, but who you know. In fact, a lot of the time it’s like this. I guess it is a life lesson that is best not put off forever, but I wish I could shield my boys from it for a little while longer. Especially since they won’t ever be the Coach’s son.

On the other hand, my boys do have some pretty big advantages; talent, drive, spirit, and a mama who will make sure they are always supported. I will make sure that they continue to know that as long as they do their best, it is good enough. And regardless of winning or losing, regardless of which team they get picked for or if they get picked at all, that there is something to be said for playing for the sheer love of the game.

If they get that and nothing more out of the season, I will consider it a success.