As a Father, I'm Glad My Daughters Will Barely Remember President Trump | Opinion

On a long November night in Austin, Texas four years ago, I watched my mom collapse into tears in her kitchen. As the results of the presidential election became clear, I wondered how can I look my daughters in the eyes in the morning, knowing that the country they call home just elected a man like Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. In the end, I wrote a Facebook post about how "I'll still tell my daughters they can do anything they want to do when they grow up," and braced for what was to follow.

Four years later, watching Pennsylvania put Biden over the top for good, a different thought came to mind—my daughters, now 6 and 4, might be young enough that they will hardly remember who President Trump was at all.

It's horrifying to picture the alternative.

On Tuesday night, when it became clear that Trump would win Florida—and because of Dade County of all places—waves of despair were tinged by the realization that a second Trump term would carry through until my daughters' 10th and 8th birthdays. He would be an indelible part of their childhood years, and they would be old enough to remember him well, and to absorb the ways in which his politics, personality, and movement have poisoned so much about our lives.

It reminded me of how for people my age, 8 years of Ronald Reagan was synonymous with growing up in the 80s. Our entire 20s were defined by the Bush years, 9/11, the Iraq war and the war on Terror, and our 30s by Obama.

But this seemed so different, no matter your politics. It was the realization that the most powerful person in the world is an example of all of the things that we try to teach our children to steer clear of. He is a bully, cruel, self-centered, vain, and shallow. He accepts no responsibility at any time, and can not handle defeat or not getting his way. And his presence permeated everything, corrupting our everyday lives every bit as much as it did the presidency and the country.

But while our daughters may still be too young to have really gotten to know this man, he has had a profound effect on us as the parents of young children.

Trump's trip down the golden escalator in 2015 was only a year after I first became a parent, and he has been the most famous person on Earth for nearly the entire time I've had small children, and he has never not been at the podium. A writer on Twitter described Trump's time in politics as akin to the episode of the Simpsons when they added a new character, Poochie, to the Itchy and Scratchy show. Walking into the writers' room, Homer says he has some ideas for the new character, including that "Whenever Poochie's not on screen, all the other characters should be asking, "Where's Poochie?"

And so it has been for the past four years with this man. Never in my lifetime has there been a politician, celebrity, or outlaw (or a combination of the three) who has managed to suck up all the oxygen in the room whether he's even on screen or not. He has captivated so much of our minds while we have been parents of young children, and he has been the cause of frustration, anger, and despair that I am certain our children have noticed on us, even as we stare in horror at Twitter on our phones.

Trump's victory in 2016 came about a year before the #metoo movement became a national - and to a lesser extent global - phenomenon. It was a movement and a generational news story that affected me as a man and as a father of girls (though up until now, I have avoided ever having written "as a father of girls" before making a point on the internet.) Like countless men, it made me reexamine the things I internalized about masculinity, as well as how I treat people today. Mainly, it has made me concerned for my daughters, and more aware of my responsibility to better prepare them for a world that may not see them as completely equal.

But how does one do that when Trump is president? What weight do your words have when a misogynist and confessed sex pest is the most powerful person on Earth, and completely above the law?

Trump was by no means the first powerful sexist man and alleged abuser, and he obviously won't be the last. But seeing him rejected—resoundingly—feels like the first victory in a long, long time. And at least this particular sexist man won't be a constant presence in my daughter's lives; he'll be just another character in history books and on TV.

Ben Hartman is an American-Israeli writer who worked as a journalist for many years in Israel. He now writes about cannabis for, and you can find him on twitter at @BenHartman.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.