Thursday, February 16, 2017

I am parenting Kellyanne Conway

After watching yet another clip of dear KC expertly spinning, obfuscating, and doing logical acrobatics, I realized why it felt so familiar, like the warm friendly feeling of your guts churning before a bout of diarrhea.  Then it dawned on my that my children are basically professional political operatives.

Let's go through the key skills, and I will prove their mastery:
1) Taking a frown and turning it upside down.  This is making a negative a positive.  In Kellyanne's case, it is arguing that Trump's yelling at the Australian PM is "refreshing" and reaffirms our two countries' strong friendship by showing that friends can be frank with one another.  Well, my child will see you your Australian PM and give you the "refreshing" news that, although he did pee all over himself as a result of urinary procrastination, he deserves congratulations for making it into the general vicinity of the toilet before doing so.

2) Hyperbole.  For Kellyanne, Trump is the "Babe Ruth" of debating, the preemptive arrest of two guys before they could commit a crime is a "massacre," and Trump's win, sans popular vote victory, is a "landslide."  For my children, the turkey meatloaf I made the other day was "disgusting" slop that would cause their throats to swell to the point of asphyxiation (even though every ingredient in it was something they like in another form),  my son's adorable firetruck bed is a torture chamber outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, and long sleeve shirts are straight jackets straight from the bowels of hell.

3) Playing the victim card.  KC loves to whine and complain that the media are just so mean to Trump in their unacceptable penchant to report what he actually says and does and their refusal to tout lies as facts.  Oh and everyone is sexist for not giving her mad props for getting a sociopath elected president.  We are all. so. mean.  And around this house, we are on par with Hitler for giving a child 2 fewer goldfish crackers than his sibling or 5 minutes less screen time or forcing him to eat something not containing sugar.  Practically child abuse.

4) Oh look, what's that over there??  OK, I have to give Ms. Conway her due on this one, because NO ONE does this better.  I just saw another masterful performance the other day on Jake Tapper, in which she turned a question about why Trump was spewing fake murder rate statistics into a heartfelt discussion of her passion to solve the opioid crisis.  Jack Tapper just stared forlornly into the camera with a concerned look on his face (dude's face is pretty much frozen in that position already).   I can only assume my kids are distracting me from some deeper, darker truth when they express heartfelt concern for my well being and offer to fetch me my coffee.

5) I know you are but what am I?  Kellyanne will concede that Trump relentless and bizarrely lied about his crowd size, but your quickly retracted report of a moved MLK bust is much much, much worse.  Not to mention Hillary's emails, even though she was actually not elected president and the election is in fact over. But HILLARY'S EMAILS, JAKE!!!   My kids, when telling me, NO, they didn't eat the cookies the crumbs of which are sprinkled across their lips, will immediately harp on my lack of patience and tendency to yell. "And that's just wrong, Mom."

5) Righteous indignation.  HOW DARE YOU criticize Trump for banning some of the most downtrodden, endangered people on earth who have had to produce soul x-rays before gaining admission to this country?  And HOW DARE YOU just decide what to serve for dinner tonight without consulting me?  Such injustices cannot be tolerated in a civilized society.

6) Ignore the question.  Whether you are asked if Trump really believes millions of illegal aliens voted in an election (that he won) or if you just hit your brother, just pretend it never happened and move on with your life.

6) Create your own reality.  When all else fails, simply construct an imaginary world in which you are  Jedi Knight holding back a massive wall of evil with no reasonable constraints on your choices by parents, teachers, the media, the law, or other branches of government.  It may not be a long-term solution, but it makes all the oppression bearable in the short run.

The key difference between my kids and Kellyanne, however, is that my kids cannot be dealt with by a click of the TV remote.

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