Jamia Wilson is a leading voice on feminist and women's rights issues whose work and words have appeared in and on The New York Times, New York magazine, the Today show, CNN, TED, The Washington Post, and more. The views expressed here are her own.
America needs adult leadership. While Melania Trump may be comfortable with embracing retrograde “boys will be boys” rhetoric, we shouldn’t have to spend the country’s time and resources on raising a grown man. From Donald Trump’s own admission in 2015 that his campaign is “probably a little childish,” to Melania Trump’s dismissive response to the release of the offensive and vulgar Trump Tapes from 2005 on groping and kissing women without their consent (she said, “I have two boys at home — I have my young son, and I have my husband”), the Trump camp’s unapologetic immaturity diminishes the gravity of the critical issues at stake this election.
Last night, both candidates brought to life First Lady Michelle Obama’s proclamation in September that, “We need an adult in the White House…who cannot just pop off, or lash out irrationally.” While Hillary Clinton consistently demonstrated a balanced presence with fact-driven policy proposals, and her vision for the Supreme Court, reproductive justice, and education, Trump deployed juvenile antics such as referring to “bad hombres” who have come across the border without papers, talking over the moderator, and engaging in I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I name-calling, instead of taking responsibility for his actions.
We have a choice: to support a man-child with no electoral experience, or a veteran political leader with the steady maturity to unite our country. Although Trump attempted to maintain a calm and even demeanor in the first 30 minutes of the debate, he quickly unraveled — raising his voice, refusing to say whether he'd accept the outcome of the election, promoting falsehoods, and repeatedly interrupting during the second half.
This is one of the most important political contests of the century — not a playground. By behaving like a tyrannical toddler in the middle of a meltdown, Trump confirmed that he is temperamentally unfit to serve as commander in chief. While Secretary Clinton spent her debate time talking about “helping kids and families get and stay ahead” by keeping actual toddlers safe from gun violence, her infantile opponent deployed gaslighting rhetoric against sexual assault survivors, and promoted conspiracy theories to distract us from his complicity in rape culture, racism, and undermining women’s reproductive rights and health.
Instead of taking responsibility for his misdeeds, and losing credibility with voters and his party, Trump cried foul every time he was held accountable. By calling himself a repeated victim of a “rigged system,” he derailed the debate away from the critical needs of working families and the impact of America’s foreign policy on the rest of the world.
Based on what I saw last night and throughout the election cycle, I’m looking forward to casting my vote for Secretary Clinton, and watching Trump take all his toys and go home. Hillary Clinton was right when she said, “I think it’s really up to all of us to demonstrate who we are…and what we expect from our next president.” I’m voting for the candidate who said she won’t “shut the door on women and children” from Syria and beyond. If that makes me a “nasty woman” by Trump’s definition, I’m proud of it.