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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Before the truth gets drowned out and dies

December 19, 2016

I often ask parents, “What kind of people do you want your kids to grow up to be?” “Honest” is always in the top five. We don’t want our kids peddling lies and deception (not in relation to us or their teachers or their friends). Being honest is a good thing. Yeah. Glad we all agree.

But we parents have a problem. The President-elect regularly lies loudly and proudly with impunity. Face it, he won the Presidency of the United States of America, in part, by spouting crappola like “Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are co-founders of ISIS.” And “Climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” And “Hillary Clinton started the Birther Movement and I stopped it.” Since Election Day he’s continued with baseless claims like: “There was ‘serious voter fraud’ in California.” and…. never mind.

If you’re not outraged you haven’t been paying attention. But you have. I know you have. But too many folks gobble up any and all of what He says. No questions asked. Seriously?

We have veered off the trail. Maybe you wanted change. Maybe you’re cool with the fact that the truth as we know it has been left behind. Doesn’t matter if we’re cool with it or not. The truth is, all of us are now being led by a person who either doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction or cynically lies for self-aggrandizement as well as the perverse rush he gets in sowing seeds of discord to solidify his Rule by Fear.

I miss Obama already. And Michelle. And Joe Biden.

Wonder what Obama thinks of all this. Ira Glass and the team at This American Life wondered, too. They asked singer/songwriter Sara Bareillis to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about the election and Trump but can’t say publicly. Leslie Odom, Jr (Tony Award-winning actor for his role as Aaron Burr in the musical Hamilton). performs the song (with lyrics displayed) It blows me away every time I watch and listen. I try to remain hopeful. It’s hard. But we’ve got to work on it. And stay politically active. Seriously.



  1. There is always hope. Thank you for speaking out. Anyone who is really concerned should become involved in local politics and become vocal at every other level. The Tea Party was small but look at what they have accomplished. There are a lot more progressives. It’s time to act now, and not stop until the Voting Rights Act in reinstated and voter suppression reversed. Politicians, regardless of party, want reelected. Work for those who share your values.

    Comment by Lisa Conrad — December 19, 2016 @ 2:19 pm

  2. This weekend I overheard the kids talking “…you can lie when you’re the president I guess.”

    Comment by Laurie — December 19, 2016 @ 2:22 pm

  3. Hi Laurie, Yes, it’s sad and it’s also dead wrong. It’s never okay to lie. No matter who you are. It’s wrong when people do it. I hope you set the kids right in their thinking.

    Comment by Annie — December 19, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

  4. Hi Lisa, I agree. This country was started by hopeful renegades with a vision of “What if…” Local politics is the most accessible way for any of us to make our voices heard. Thanks for weighing in.

    Comment by Annie — December 19, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

  5. Right on, Annie. When I was a child, we were taught to think of the President right up there with the Pope (though I’m Methodist ;-))) in terms of whom to look up to. Now, sadly, we have a man who lies with impunity, speaks (and acts) in a vulgar manner, has no span of attention, no ideology (except money and power), thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, and reacts in a petty thoughtless manner when he doesn’t like something… all “child-like” behaviors. How are we to teach young people values and self-control when the future President acts worse than a child?

    Comment by Roxie Munro — December 20, 2016 @ 10:12 am

  6. Roxie, we teach young people the values we prioritize as we always have, by the example of how we live our own lives. That hasn’t changed. The influence of parents is much greater than the influence of any leader. Sometimes parents who are, as you say “dishonest, vulgar, petty” raise children much like themselves. And sometimes children grow up honest and responsible even though their parents were not. I tend to be an optimist. I believe a vast majority of parents are doing their best. For those parents who find fault in the President-elect’s “childish” behavior they need to make sure they walk the walk. And let’s not discount the abundance of teachable moments! Parents can help kids recognize “bad” behavior (in adults, other kids) and say to themselves “That’s not the kind of person I am. I don’t do that.”

    Comment by Annie — December 20, 2016 @ 10:31 am

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