01 March 2012

Extremely Local Politics

On Tuesdays, Boo has gymnastics. (Wednesdays Mimi has soccer, Thursdays we all have therapy. It's always something.) After gymnastics, because Tuesdays are also "kids-eat-free" days at several area restaurants, we usually go out to eat. This past Tuesday, though, I can only assume the kids were a little burned out on eating at sit-down restaurants after last week and requested McDonald's. I was too tired to argue the point, and also did not want to MAKE dinner, so we went to McDonald's.

Yesterday was also Michigan's Republican primary, and the giant flat-screen tv in the McD's dining room was tuned to CNN. The girls were paying no attention until they saw a map of Michigan appear, at which point they were all "hey! That's us! What is up with that?"

This is how I ended up explaining democracy (the Cliff notes version) over a Filet-o'-Fish.

I should have just shown them "America Rocks" instead.
I will mercifully spare you the details of my simplified and no doubt egregiously-botched explanation of political parties and why we have them, and instead just share a few choice quotes from my children.

Mimi: Well, I hope whoever the next president is, he's a nice guy.
After I explained that the next president might still be Barack Obama (knock wood) or could be someone from the other political party, but we don't know who yet, she said: "Well, they should MAKE UP THEIR MINDS. WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?"

Boo: "OH! Elections! We talked about elections at school. We are going to vote for president too! So I will tell you who is going to be president, Mom. It's Obama."

Mimi: But what about all those other people?
Me: What other people?
Mimi: You know. The other people. The ones who sit at the tables and go [banging hand on table] BOOM! Like that. You know. The GOVERNMENT.

Boo: Raise your hand if you want Obama to be president.

Mimi: Those are the guys [off shot of Romney and Santorum] that think that you shouldn't get to marry whoever you want to, right?
Boo: But you CAN, right Mom? Right? Girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys and girls can marry boys.

Boo: Why isn't there a GIRL president?
I explained that there hasn't yet been a women elected president, but that no doubt someday there will be. And even threw in the old "You could be president, you know!" 
Mimi: But, Mom, YOU should be president. You can tell people what to do.

We also had a great discussion of what politicians do, and why some people like one "guy" over another to be president, which boiled down to me telling them that a lot of it is complicated grown-up stuff, but what they should know is that some people believe certain things are good choices and some people believe OTHER things are good choices. That completely confused them, because in their world there are multiple choices, but if something IS a good choice, it is obviously good. They might not MAKE the good choice, but they don't try to argue it wasn't good in the first place. And there's really no question about what is and isn't a bad choice.

I was trying very hard not to demonize, and to be fairly neutral and not all "REPUBLICANS WANT WOMEN TO STAY HOME BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT. DON'T EVER BE A REPUBLICAN. OR DATE ONE. DO YOU WANT TO BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S HEART?" However. Is it wrong that I hope there was some poor ultra-Republican soul in an Ypsilanti-area McDonald's last night APPALLED at how I'm indoctrinating my children?


  1. I think you would be awesome as president!

  2. Nicely done. (And this from someone who hopes Obama does not get a second term.)

  3. Yeah, I have horribly failed at allowing my children to form their own opinions. They are fully indoctrinated liberal atheists. Oops. ;-)

  4. Oh man. You should have heard me trying to explain religions to Max. This crap is hard! Luckily, Max's only real interest in the elections has been whether or not they own dogs. Obama - check. I was able to explain that Romney is a...poor...pet owner, and he did not get Max's vote.

    1. Hah! Oh, religion is seriously tricky over here, too. Right now the children say they believe in God, but that it's ok if I don't. We shall see.

  5. I'd totally vote for you. Matter of fact, need a veep? I'm SO in.