Conversation at the breakfast table this morning:
“Mom, who are you voting for?”
“I haven’t made up my mind yet. Why?”
“I think you should vote for Arak Obama.”
“His name is Barak Obama. With a B. And why do you think I should vote for him?”
“Because John McCain is the one who made the gas prices go up.”
“Really. And where did you learn that?”
“Hm. Okay. Let me tell you about how political advertising works. People who run ads on TV like to say things about the other guy that aren’t necessarily true. Like they might take one little thing that someone said and turn it around to where it sounds like they said something else. They try to make themselves look good by making the other guy look bad.”
“They do. And the best way to get around that is to find out for yourself what the candidates believe. Don’t depend on someone else to tell you how to think. Smart people think for themselves. But a lot of people would just rather be told what to do.”
“And you watch too much TV.”
Aw. So adorable, my seven-year-old getting into politics. When I was in second grade I still believed in unicorns.
Back when I registered to vote for the very first time, my mother walked over to the clerk’s office with me to help me register. On the way over there she said to me, “by the way, you are a Democrat.” And that’s how I registered, because my mother said so. What did I know at 18? About as much as I do now, I think. Since I live in a primarily Democratic county, I just sort of went with the flow, but over the years I’ve come to vote my conscience rather than a party.
I don’t see this conversation repeating itself when it comes time for Spawn to register to vote. I want the kid to make that decision instead of me. This may come back to bite me in the ass someday, but I don’t think it’s critical that parents and children hold the same beliefs. I want Spawn to be an independent thinker.
That is, until the kid thinks it’s a good idea to get a tattoo or a pierced tongue.