Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kids and politics

“Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.”

― Winston Churchill

What are your thoughts on Churchill's quote?  I know that I get less Liberal each year and I see it around me as well. My grandfather (remember him?) was a Democrat (if you can believe it!) when my grandmother was alive. At least she was a Democrat and I am pretty sure that he did what she wanted him to do, but that was over a decade ago. He was still a bit cranky then (that's his game), but he didn't spend his days watching Hannity and Beck, so there was room for reasoning then. Having children made a difference because now I want policies that won't enable my children to slack off and be rewarded for mediocrity. I suppose THAT makes me conservative. I also believe that people who truly need help should get it. THAT makes me a Democrat.

My friend, Tom Jones (not the lounge singer, though that would be *insert lilty voice here* awesome!) is a staunch Republican (I think mostly because he likes to fight--no--banter--with others about politics) as were most of our friends in Virginia--and Montana come to think of it--and he always told me that the fact that I'm an Independent means that I'm too weak to make a decision. He was [kind of] joking, so don't get riled up over that. Also, he may be right.

I feel like it is the teacher in me. Teachers are constantly asked to see every part of a situation and English teachers spend their days reading and analyzing behavior. Sometimes it is the behavior of the students and sometimes it is the behavior of the characters in the reading, but looking at all points of view is required to make a final assertion. That is how I treat most things that I do and it is definitely how I approach politics. Of course, if I feel like someone is being bullied, I sometimes get cloudy vision and pull for that person to win--pulling for the underdog--how very Democratic of me, right?

So my friend posted this the other day (about her son who is...six?):

My son wants to earn some money to buy a toy. I gave him a small job to start the process. He said, "This job doesn't feel very lucky." I told him, "You are very lucky if you have a paying job. That's a good thing." He said, "Why can't you just give me the money without the job." I told him he sounded like a democrat. He said, "Don't call me that hateful word!" lol (sorry dem friends. too funny not to share)

Funny, right? It reminded me of a conversation I had with my son when he was four:

"Mommy,  why do you have to pay the doctor EVERY time you go?"

"Well, because when someone does a service of some kind for you and it is their job, then you need to pay them."

"I think that people shouldn't have to pay the doctor--I think the doctor should always make sick people feel better because that's what doctor's do."

"You should run for office."

And this one we had shortly thereafter:

"Mommy, I want to marry YOU."

"Well, that is very nice, but you can't marry me."

"But I want to--why can't I?"

"Because moms can't marry their children. It doesn't end well."

"Who says? I should be able to marry you if I want to marry you."

"Well, I don't want to marry you, so we don't need to fight about it."

"Why don't you want to marry me?

"I'm already married--trust me--it's enough for me."

"Then I want to marry (his friend--we'll call him Eliot) Eliot. Can I marry Eliot?"

" some states."

"What about here [Montana]?"

"Nope. And not in Virginia [where we used to live] either." 

"Why not? I don't want anyone telling me who I can marry!"

"Luckily we don't have to make this decision today then."

Regardless of your political agenda, isn't it funny to look at "hot topics" through a child's eyes? Do you have similar chats with your children? Do you try to avoid politics altogether or are you hoping to raise a little Alex P. Keaton (PLEASE know the reference...!)?  Will you guide your children, but ultimately let them make their political decisions on their own, or will you school them on your politics and let them know that there is no other choice?

My friend (you know--the one whose child I exploited above) is fantastic (AND a Republican--who'da thunk it, right?!) and although her child is headed in what she deems to be the right direction, I know she isn't brainwashing him into taking on her beliefs. I say that because I actually do have friends who are practically brainwashing their children and I'd like to know if this is commonplace and what your thoughts are on it. I'd also like to know if anyone else's children force them into political conversations on a regular basis...because mine does it daily and quite honestly, I don't have it in me anymore!

Maybe Churchill's quote is right--I have complained about losing pieces of my brain each time I delivered a baby (I believe they were holding onto my brain and that is why it hurt so much. Delivering a person is bad enough, but trying to expel part of your own brain--horrible!)...and I did have way too much heart when I was younger. If only I could find a balance. I'll work on that if I ever when I find my brain again.Maybe by then we will have eliminated bipartisanship altogether and we will be working as a country to fix our country. And maybe Tom Jones (yes, the lounge singer) will be my friend.


  1. Politics is a tough one! I find myself in the middle often. There are some things that I just downright oppose but then there are some things in which I feel that I see and understand both points of view.

    I agree with your comment about teachers having to see every part of the situation. Often in my job (since I teach a behavior program) I am thrown into the middle of a child in crisis..when I debrief with them, as hard as it is, I have to be an active listener and really understand what the cause was of the crisis and how that child perceived the events that led up to it. I feel that many people, when it comes to politics, do not deeply examine both stand points to make an informed decision. Instead, we jump to conclusions and bash all others who do not agree with us. Sometimes we need to be active listeners in politics too and weed through the junk to find the real point trying to be made.

    The end. :)

    1. Well said, Lenae--I completely agree!I suppose I'm just as guilty as anyone when it comes to that--if everyone just took this advice, perhaps we would all get along better!

  2. I'm a registered independent, I just can't stand to be labeled, I want to vote for who I think is the best candidate. I hope more kids grow up and continue thinking like your son...if only it was that easy, right?

    1. I know--I'm an independent as well. I wrote about it (and didn't post it yet)yesterday because I have a friend who makes fun of me for being indecisive. I just feel like I am easily convinced as long as you provide proof. It is such a shame that so many people don't even care who the candidate is--as long as they are R or D. Some people try to convince themselves otherwise, but it is usually quite evident when they start trying to justify themselves. I can only hope that OUR children will do it better than we do!

  3. I have no idea where I stand. I don't see a lot of good going on anywhere, but I do know Romney isn't it for this year for me.

  4. I got the Alex P. Keaton reference - I'm old. I love your conversations with your son. I have similar ones with my daughter, except mine wants to marry daddy (my answer? "go get your own husband, it took me too long to train this one properly, I'm not giving him up without a fight").

    1. HA! Well, my youngest thinks that kissing equals marriage, so she went on this whole kissing spree saying that she is now "...mawrie-ed to Daddy" because he kissed her. I'm just impressed that you trained yours properly! Also, I'm happy to know that I am not the only old person with children!


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