It's been a tough few weeks, not only do I care deeply about the Presidential race but I am passionate about all the issues that face our community, from State initiatives (Such as Prop 30 here in California to raise revenue to fund our schools to Prop 37 to help label GMO's) to the race my husband is running for School Board.
My family lives in a very red area in a very red County, Orange County, California to be exact. And my daughter learned the hard way that her mother's politics are a bit outside the norm.
She was talking about Presidential politics with some classmates and finding out who was voting for whom when she found herself in the minority in her support for President Obama. But it was what one classmate said to her that was shocking to her. A young girl told her that the President is a liar and that's why she was voting for Mitt Romney. My daughter came home to ask me if this was true. I said no. But I also told her that we don't speak ill of those we disagree with. I asked her if she had heard us speak badly of Governor Romney? She said no. I also asked her if she had heard us speak badly of the man running against her father? She also said no, she had not. Because we haven't and we will not.
I will not raise my daughter to think of the political process as one of cynicism and hate. Nor will I encourage her to think of those she disagrees with as her enemy or in a bad light. But this back and forth continued with her classmate and it is astonishing to me that a nine year old could think this way. But I was also proud of how my daughter responded.
The next conversation came about because Charlotte had obviously heard about Romney dodging questions about FEMA. She asked her classmate if it was true he refused to answer 11 questions (I am sure it was another number but that was beside he point). The young girl's response was, I am a Christian and Mitt Romney is a Christian.
Charlotte again was puzzled by this. She asked her what this had to do with being President? She wanted to know why she said this. I even had a hard time explaining this to my daughter, telling her that some people believed that Obama was a Muslim. My daughter's response? And what's wrong with that?
I told her there was nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. I left it at that.
Again, as a parent, I decided not to go into how much some people hate our President but to tell her that if Governor Romney were to be elected President we would respect the office itself, we respect the President, who is Commander in Chief and who represents our Country. My daughter told me her friend said Romney was 20 points ahead in the polls. Again, my daughter wanted to know if that was true.
I said, no that's not true either.
Of course, my daughter was confused as to why someone would lie to her. I would be too. I told her that her friend was confused and that I doubt she was being deliberately deceitful with her. Have patience with her, question everything just as she had done and that she had handled herself well. I was proud of her, she had asked rational and reasonable questions and done so without being mean nor nasty.
My daughter did make me proud. Now she is looking forward to Tuesday because she is convinced that President Obama is going to win and she can't wait to for that happen. This is the same girl at the age of 5, when she saw the cover of "The Audacity of Hope" before the election had even taken place asked, why is the President on the cover of this book? I knew then he would win. So I think Charlotte has called this one again.
I refuse to teacher her cynicism, to teacher her that we have to be mean and nasty to win at all cost. I want her to believe in the better part of who we are and that we can make the process itself better. Call me naive, I don't care, I already know that I am raising her to ask the right questions, to not take things at face value and to judge people for all the right things. To me, I've already won a lot with this election.