Just after midday on Inauguration Day last Friday, Katie Rich tweeted this post:
‘Barron will be this country’s first homeschooled shooter’
The Saturday Night Live writer was referring to the 10-year-old son of Donald and Melania Trump, Barron.
Journalist and author Caitlin Moran also posted about Barron that day. ‘The expressions on Barron Trump’s face are 100% Joffrey’ – Joffrey Baratheon is a sadist from the fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Pete Blackburn, a Fox Sports writer, tweeted: ‘Baron [sic] Trump has killed no less than 100 small animals’ – killing small animals as a child is often viewed as a warning sign that the child will become violent later in life.
Some of these tweets have now been removed. Nonetheless, they were composed and put out into the ether by professional writers with large followings. Regardless of what you might think of the writers, their tweets are examples of cyber bullying – the bullying of a 10 year-old child.
I think this is unacceptable.
Many people are angry at the moment, many millions of people. And many people have a reason to be. There is a person to be angry at. But a 10-year-old boy is not that person.
Earlier today, Chelsea Clinton – someone who has arguably more reason to be angry than most – took to Facebook to post this message:
‘Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does – to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.’
Whilst she has been criticised for using Barron as ‘moral way in’ to politically digging at his father, the sentiment ‘children are off limits’ is there.
Barron was born into wealth and privilege. Is it fair that many millions of children weren’t? No. Is it Barron Trump’s fault? No.
What do we even know about the boy, other than who his parents are and what he looks like?
Melania was once quoted by parenting.com as saying:
‘He is a very strong-minded, very special, smart boy,’ she said. ‘He is independent and opinionated and knows exactly what he wants. Sometimes I call him little Donald. He is a mixture of us in looks, but his personality is why I call him ‘Little Donald”.
‘Little Donald’. It’s possible to imagine what you might be thinking. That Barron Trump is ‘Donald Trump The Second’ in the making. But how do any of us know this? Isn’t it only right we wait for the child to grow up, to see how his character develops when he comes of age, before we start throwing our metaphorical punches?
As foreboding as Melania’s words might seem, let’s forget, momentarily, who Barron’s father is and look at the boy in the light of others his age – a son trying to emulate a father he looks up to. Weren’t many of our parents once heroes to us as well – until we discovered they were human, had faults and then made up our own minds about them and their behaviour?
If Barron is as smart as his mother says he is, isn’t there a chance he might form an objective opinion about his dad by himself?
Yes, people are worried about how Barron will turn out. But if anything’s likely to make him turn out like Donald Trump, it’s this: repeatedly being told he is him already, and subjecting the boy to the same vitriol as that aimed at his father.
Let it not be forgotten that if you bully and ridicule a child, the only lesson they will learn, is themselves, to bully and ridicule.
Barron Trump, a 10-year-old boy, should be left alone.