Last night the kids were talking parties.
Not birthday parties or halloween parties.
Noooooo...my children ages 5, 7 & 10 were talking POLITICAL parties.
Scholast*c News published an edition about the candidates. It had McCain and Obama answering questions like: 'what's your favorite food' and 'what's your favorite children's book' and 'what's your favorite activity'.
My second grader read it thoroughly and decided she would not be voting for McCain because his favorite food was Mexican. (she also thought it would be fine to scribble doodles on McCain's face, which I had to tell her was not very nice and I don't want to see that behavior again - although the goatee she gave him did make me laugh)
Trev, the all-knowing fifth grader decided to jump in and give his two cents and proclaim that Obama shouldn't be president because if he is elected "we'll live like they do in China because he'll tell us what to do all the time".
Wow! Where's the parenting manual when you need it?!
I'm not one to normally jump on the political bandwagon and wave my big elephant or donkey flag around, partially because I don't vote a straight ticket either way, but last night's discussion was one I thought I'd share.
Clearly Trev had been getting pumped with so info from a die-hard Republican.
So I set out to clear the air.
I shared that, first of all, the U.S. will never be like China because we are not a communist country and no matter how much we like or dislike the person who is our President, he doesn't have total power. Period. The term 'communist' had my 5 year old looking bug-eyed so I explained it in Disney terms.
'Remember when Emperor Kuzco told Pacha that he would have to leave his home because it was the place the Emperor wanted to build his giant castle with a pool? That wasn't fair, was it? Well, when one person has all that power and there's no one to tell him when he's being unfair or to stop him from doing something wrong, that is what adults call 'communism'. (refer to the movie 'Emperor's New Groove' for further political issues)
Then I briefly explained that there are a lot of people who are in Washington D.C. who will work to make sure that whoever the President is that he is being as fair as can be. We adults can say all we want about the YUCK that goes down in the govt. but in all honesty it's the real truth. They're here for our own good and it's a bonus that we get to vote for them.
If you can believe it the kids kept asking questions. They wanted to know more and more. I tried to tell them about how BOTH parties feel about things but in a few cases I caught glimpses of future Democrats/Republicans before my eyes.
Kids have opinions and when left to make INFORMED decisions they really are genius!
Our conversation eventually went on to touch issues such as the NRA (Aladdin), gay-marriage (Fantasia), abortion rights (The Little Mermaid), the importance of the First Lady and Vice President(Pocahontas and Tarzan), and we even talked about how Obama has a dad who is dark-skinned and a mom who is white-skinned (as opposed to the blue skin of Yzma, tan skin of Lilo, fur of Ratatoullie, etc.).
We were speaking in Disney terms much of the time - as you can see.
We were able to keep things relatively light and thank goodness for the movies and characters that were able to help put things into perspective!
I also mentioned that both McCain and Obama have their problems, like we all do. But they also both have things they would like to make happen that are good. I shared my disappointment in the fact that during their first Presidential debate neither candidate could follow the one rule: to keep it to 2 minutes and stop talking when their time was up. The kids asked me why the candidates didn't get in trouble for breaking the rule and I had to tell them I didn't know, because I thought they should. The kids agreed. How sad that two grown men can't follow one simple rule.
The last thing I shared with the kids is that no matter who they want to vote for when they get older, their Dad and I will always love them. That's when my 5 year old asked 'So kids don't have to vote the same as their parents?' and I said 'No, you get to make up your own mind'. 'Cool!' was her response.
Yes, it is cool.
I think while preparing for the next election I will read Scholastic News.
Maybe I'll watch a few Disney movies and remind myself NOT to draw on the candidates pictures.
No matter WHO you vote for....Vote November 4th!!!