I know I’m not the only one who has had to explain Donald Trump to children.


Photo copyright 2016 Erin Kotecki Vest

Yes, it’s been an interesting year for politics, to say the least, and more and more my own kids want to talk about what they are seeing and hearing. My elder child explained to me there are kids walk around recess yelling ‘VOTE FOR TRUMP’ while any mention of Hillary Clinton gets immediate curse words or a ‘my Dad said she’s a bitch.’ Lovely.

In light of this chaos we’ve been talking more and more as a family about the voting process and the candidates. Needless to say they’ve asked whom I am voting for and why. So when I told them Hillary Clinton, I was met with more questions. Is it true she’s going to jail? (no, it’s not true and whomever told you this is a moron.) Is it true she has a bad husband? (tough question, let me tell you what he did with this woman named Monica Lewinsky and you can decide if he’s bad or not, but she decided to forgive him and keep their marriage together. He was also a two-term president and governor of Arkansas.)

I’m all for telling my children the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable, and allowing them to form their own opinions. I then explained that Hillary has spent almost her entire life in politics and she’s been a champion for women and girls and has accomplished so much good you really should be in awe of her. I told them she used to be the First Lady, then she went on to become a two-term Senator and then Secretary of State.

They asked me why Bernie Sanders wasn’t being nice to Hillary Clinton. Weren’t they on the same team? Amazing how quickly kids pick up on this sort of thing. I did the best I could to explain that Bernie and Hillary agreed on issues 93% of the time and Bernie has lost the nomination and normally the loser would endorse the winner and work hard to get her elected. Since there has been nothing normal about this campaign season I went on to explain that Senator Sanders seems to be taking his ideas to the convention in Philadelphia (my children attended the last DNC convention in Charlotte, NC.) and is calling for his supporters to defeat Donald Trump instead of endorsing Secretary Clinton. ‘Well what’s the difference?’ Smart kids. Nothing gets past them.

They are also well aware that if elected, Senator Clinton would become our first female president. While this isn’t my reason for voting for her, it is a pretty big deal and I’m very excited. My daughter is hugely annoyed by this point. She can’t believe we’ve never had a woman president and is highly ticked off. I’m with ya sister.

I also told the kids I’ve admired Secretary Clinton since she was First Lady. I was in high school and I wrote to the White House. I received a letter back with the First Lady’s signature. I remember how bad ass she was, taking on Republicans and trying to push universal health care through. This was a First Lady that was doing more than redecorating. I was 17 and she was the most fierce feminist I knew.

I’m not leaving out the bad with the kids, so don’t start with me. During the primaries against President Obama I was furious with the Clinton campaign. I thought they were employing bullying and racist tactics against Obama and employing an ‘anything to win’ style campaign. While I still think their campaign messed up in ’08, I’ve moved on. Clinton did a fantastic job as Obama’s Secretary of State and this campaign she’s hired new blood and has yet to employ any of those tactics. Changing her ways and moving on. At first I wasn’t ready to forgive, but I have to admit this campaign is not being run the same as the last and this campaign is most certainly taking the high road in several situations, including the one with Bernie.

Even after all of that my kids aren’t satisfied. They want to know who is going to win. Well, I tell them, in every poll Secretary Clinton is ahead of Trump. Good, they say. Good. But then I have to explain not all polls are correct and really anything could happen. This displeases them both. But such is life and politics.