This week, America goes back to school. I’m headed to the eighth grade. Everyone knows middle school isn’t the easiest time, but I can’t help but notice that our president hasn’t grown out of typical middle school behavior.
This period in history could go down in history as America’s middle school years. Junior high notoriously is a time of going low, yet most people learn the following lessons: Don’t lie, don’t boast, don’t one-up people, don’t be addicted to social media, be prepared, take responsibility for your actions, and be a good sport.
In middle school, lying sinks your credibility or, even worse, lands you in detention. Kids learn about Honest Abe and George Washington’s honesty about chopping down the cherry tree. Donald Trump would chop down all the cherry trees and blame it on being poorly represented by Michael Cohen.
Kids who boast and take up all the oxygen in the room find themselves not invited or without someone to sit with at lunch. Once a few kids roll their eyes, you get the cue. Trump would be one of those kids who doesn’t have anyone to sit with at lunch.
Many kids are addicted to social media. Adults are constantly on us not to abuse social media. How can we be expected to listen to our parents with the Tweeter in Chief abusing social media way past bedtime?
We are taught to be prepared. When not prepared, we face consequences. Every kid learns a lesson about what happens when you’re not prepared. You let down yourself, your team and your teachers. It’s humiliating. Our president hasn’t learned this lesson yet suffers no consequences.
Trump, a grown man, hasn’t learned any of these lessons and feels proud of his childish behavior. As president, he is supposed to be a role model for kids. But by behaving like a bully, he tells us that it is okay to act like this. It’s not.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were great role models to kids everywhere when they eulogized John McCain. McCain, even in his death, was the ultimate good sport in inviting them to speak at his funeral. Even if Trump didn’t get the message, we middle schoolers did.
Adults warn that middle school is a time that nobody wants to go back to. Sadly, we all find ourselves in middle school now. There has never been so much bullying and vengeance among adults.
Adults instruct us to ignore or stand up to bullies. It’s hard to ignore the bully when he is the POTUS.
Rather than standing up to the bully, leaders of both parties have been dragged into this giant color war, red vs. blue. The Democrats’ strategy is to say, “Vote for us because we aren’t red.” The Republicans’ strategy is to stand behind Trump because he is red. And the funny thing is that he isn’t even red, he’s orange.
Both parties need to work together to stand up to Donald Trump so that America has a president who is a role model for middle schoolers all over the world once again.
Matthew Kotcher is an eighth-grader at the Latin School of Chicago.
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