Candidates model poor behavior, values for future generations

It seems like this year’s presidential election has been more focused on xenophobia, low blows, and “he said, she said” than any other. With Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump going at each other’s throats, we have forgotten that this is more at stake than a petty competition of who can throw the worst insults.
Since spring, 2015, the race for president has seemed like an under budget soap opera with the big, mean bully and the lying goodie-two-shoes front and center. With the front runners being the main topic discussed over dinner, people are forgetting about the children that will grow up during the campaigning and the next presidency. There couldn’t have been a more inconvenient time for parents to teach their children about right and wrong when the media is fixated on Clinton’s truthfulness or Trump’s lechery.
When I was growing up, my parents instilled strong values in me, including respect, honesty, and compassion; that’s the baseline of raising a good person. Now that’s hard enough; it’s even harder when the media is full of allegations about Trump sexually assaulting women or Clinton’s secrecy and dishonesty about her health, e-mails, and a host of other topics. Kids are impressionable and follow by example; shouldn’t the president be someone all Americans can look up to as a role model? Is it hard to imagine that when children hear their parents advocate for someone who doesn’t respect women, they will come to believe that it’s all right to touch someone without consent? Or that they will come to believe that lying is acceptable, as long as it gives them an advantage?
The presidential debates are meant to show voters where the candidates stand on the issues. However, the Clinton-Trump debates (which had the most viewers in history) have seemed more like a competition of who can deliver the best insults, rather than an informed discussion of their tax plans. The debates have featured childish outbursts, name calling, unsupported assertions, and interruptions—far from a reasoned, well-informed discussion of issues affecting the nation’s future. Children shouldn’t think that the way to confront a problem is to throw a temper tantrum, spit nasty remarks, shout down the opposition, and lie through your teeth.
The candidates are the most disliked in history; according to a poll by the Washington Post, Clinton has a disapproval rating of 56 percent, while Trump takes the lead with 63 percent. With neither of the candidates registering well, it seems inevitable that the American people won’t be happy no matter who gets elected. Whichever joker gets into the Oval Office, he or she will represent America as the figurehead of this country. Young girls and boys want to look up to the president, but when the major parties nominate two such unpopular and unsuitable candidates, children can draw the conclusion that someone doesn’t have to be a good person to lead the free world.
For those who are voting in this election, the choice may be between the lesser of two evils as to which candidate will make the best role model for the children who are maturing and forming themselves during this next presidency. According to a study done by Livescience, personality is set by the time a child reaches first grade. By the time the kids of this generation are adults, they could potentially be molded to think that this is acceptable behavior.
Which candidate would you rather have a child modeled after? A lying corporate puppet or a loose cannon? Get to the polls on Nov. 8; your vote counts. And hope the nation has better choices four years from now.
~erica gudino, editor-in-chief