It was Donald Trump’s position on guns that did it. To be more specific, it was President Trump’s proposal to address violence in schools by arming schoolteachers that finally made a Democrat of my son. Until then, he’d been holding out hope for the Republican Party. But when the president decided that my son’s girlfriend — a student teacher dedicated to teaching science to inner-city public school students — should earn a bonus for carrying a deadly weapon, my son decided he’d had it.
When John McCain was running for president, my son managed to convince me to buy a stand-up cardboard cutout of McCain. Never mind the fact that both his parents are lifelong Democrats, that we met when his dad was working for Fritz Mondale and I was working for Geraldine Ferraro, that half the Democrats running for president, and the people running their campaigns, attended our wedding and sent presents when our children were born. My daughter has been a Democrat since, well — since forever. Her latest project, called Project 100, is an effort she began with friends to elect 100 progressive women to Congress by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Meanwhile, my son organized the Young Republicans club, and I paid for the pizza.
The important thing, I’ve always taught my students, and later my children, is to be involved in politics — not to agree with me.
On election night, my son and I settled in front of the television a few minutes before 8 p.m. Eastern time. “We’ll know as soon as the polls close in the East,” I told my son.
“Trump is going to win,” my son told me. I’ve been doing politics for more years than I care to count. But my son is a numbers guy; his day job is running a quantitative hedge fund he founded with a college classmate. And he and his partner had been running the numbers and looking at the analytics.
“You can’t be right,” I told him. “All my famous pollster friends are telling me Hillary has it.” So much for me and my famous friends.
But predicting Trump’s election is a far cry from supporting President Trump. In fairness to my son, it wasn’t Trump’s conservatism that appealed to him. My son, like a fair number of the president’s supporters, is basically a libertarian: Live and let live, and lower taxes would be nice, as well. He’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative; at least Trump was one for two.
Until the shooting started.
The president fancies himself a supporter of the Second Amendment. But nothing in the Second Amendment protects the right to bear assault weapons; or the right to buy a gun without a full and thorough background check; or the right to own a gun without proof that you know how to use it safely (like what we require for driving an automobile). And absolutely nothing in the Second Amendment provides for schools to be shooting ranges — or for teachers to be ready not to teach their students but to open fire.
So my son didn’t just change his mind. He did something about it. With the help of an anonymous Mexican artist, he and his partners created “The Donald Deck.” It’s a real deck of playing cards, with one key difference from a normal deck: Donald Trump is on every card. Donald Trump as a cowardly lion; Donald Trump as a Tyrannosaurus rex (with very small hands); Donald Trump as a hippo; and their favorite, Donald Trump as a crying baby. You can check it out at http://thedonalddeck.com/ks. It’s a perfect present, a good laugh and a much better idea than arming schoolteachers, any day. If a mother isn’t allowed to be proud of her son (and her daughter), what can a mother do?