A Vote for Clinton Tells Kids That Honesty Doesn’t Matter

Children are closely watching who and what their parents support this election year

Lost in all the election fervor is one deceptively simple but ultimately painful truth. We are witnessing the wholesale downfall of honesty — that simple “Honest Abe” character trait that, with the election of Hillary Clinton, we would be teaching our children doesn’t matter.

All we need to know to make a decision on Nov. 8 is right in front of us: Clinton is not an honest person.

It’s that simple — and that important. At least it used to be.

Many have speculated on what drives Clinton as an individual — ambition, greed, an inflated sense of her own singular importance to the nation. But somewhere along the line she learned that dishonesty pays. It has gotten her places and it has served her well.

Today, it is as entrenched a character flaw as any we have seen in any candidate in modern times.

The little girl’s words were poignant — she lies.

Clinton seems totally incapable of simple honesty when it counts. All that calculation must be exhausting.

I was standing in line at the grocery store perusing the magazine rack earlier this week when a woman behind me with a little girl in tow struck up a conversation. She pointed at a magazine featuring Hillary Clinton on the cover and asked, “Do you think she will win?”

As I started to answer, her daughter, who had been clutching her mother’s arm with one hand and twirling her hair distractedly with the other perked up and said, “Mommy, she lies.”

The mother smiled sheepishly and shrugged as if to say, “She’s got a point there.” I was struck by both the small child’s clarity on the central problem with the Democratic candidate, and with the rather blasé way we accepted her words and moved on.

The little girl’s words were poignant — she lies. In a fast-paced world filled with shades of gray when it comes to honesty, we have become hardened.

Related: Christians and Women Have a Choice: Hypocrisy or Trump

“A basic part of teaching honesty to kids is giving them the message, ‘I expect you to tell the truth,’” instructs world-renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears on his website, “Children should not feel they have choices in this matter. Children are not intellectually ready to deal with situational ethics, which teaches: ‘You tell the truth when it’s convenient, but choose to lie when it’s not.’”

This is exactly what a country that might elect Hillary Clinton is doing — condoning both situational ethics and outright lying. That is no roadmap for raising children of character.

A construction worker in his early 60s  was working on some rotted wood on my house yesterday. He is from the generation that understood honesty as a bedrock, teachable character trait — one that good parents demanded and good children aspired to master. He had a Trump sticker on his pick-up truck, its flatbed loaded up with the tools of his trade.

Related: How This Divisive Election Season Affects Our Kids

“She’s getting away with it,” he said, his voice rising with frustration. “Everyone knows she lies, but they don’t seem to care. Meanwhile, the rest of us are out here getting angrier and wondering what the country will be like if she wins. Can we come back from that, if she is in for eight years?”

It is a critical yet vulnerable trait — honesty. It is alluringly easy to be dishonest. Our children, who understand so much more than we give them credit for, are watching us. They are watching what we will put up with — and what we cast aside in the name of politics and “winning.”

“Everyone knows she lies, but they don’t care.”

Abraham Lincoln was famously firm on the subject of honesty. His neighbors in Illinois recognized his honesty and integrity, and constantly asked him to act as judge or mediator in various arguments and contests, according to historians.

To the man who would become president, honesty was more important than power, position, or career.

His advice to potential lawyers was: “Resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.”

We need to show our children that honesty matters. We need to stand up in our homes and in the voting booth against the dishonesty of the Clinton machine — for the good character of our children, and our nation.