Editorial: 2016 election did not set a good example for today’s children


Every four years, the election provides a rare opportunity for educators at every level to explore the foundations of America, and critically look at our political process, with their students.

We’re all for being invested in the political process, especially at a young age. But this year was hardly full of teachable moments.

If a teacher was so brave to give out election-related assignments, they would have to navigate a sea of name-calling and vulgarities, but for what purpose?

What is so valuable about elections is that they draw attention to little-known policies and stances, which has been sorely missing from this past election.

And now parents, teachers and anyone else who is able to influence young children must decide between educating today’s youth on politics or exposing them to the contempt and disrespect that this election season seemed to espouse.

Theoretically, the candidates that each party presents are the best our nation has to offer. And if the supposed “best of our best” often resort to character attacks and petty accusations, what does that teach our children?

Donald Trump has made overtly racist remarks, disrespected women time and time again and expressed extremely xenophobic sentiments. And what has the American public done about it? For the most part, we forgot about it, until the next inflammatory comment was made.

Sometimes, inaction speaks louder than action. If we don’t publicly denounce these comments enough, the newest generation will not have any reason to think they’re wrong.

And that could have disastrous consequences, some of which we’re already seeing.

“Jokes” are made toward Latino people, saying “Build that Wall!”; politically themed costumes that breach the border of offense.

And what of Hillary Clinton? A classic career  politician who, despite being the epitomization of untrustworthiness, is likely to be the next president.

Don’t you think it’s kind of problematic that Clinton is the first one to break the presidential glass ceiling? It implies that women can only reach such a level by lying and manipulating, which is already a stereotype for women to overcome. It’s great that we are on the cusp of naming our first female president, but the fact that it is Clinton might do more harm than good when it comes to young girls’ self-esteem.

This election has been one for the history books. But hopefully it’s not making too much of an influence on history classrooms.