Children and Politics

Yesterday I waited in line for about 20mins with my two sons to cast our vote for the next president of the United States, as well as senate and other important seats for North Carolina. While I am the only one who was actually able to vote, I say, “we,” because I have been taking them with me to the polls since they were born. They’re still very young, so I generally just use that time to tell them that as American citizens we have a right and an obligation to use our voice to pick who we think would be a great leader. That’s my generic speech and sometimes they listen and respond with questions and sometimes they don’t. I’ve never told them whether I’m a democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, but just that it’s something very important that they get to do when they become adults.

My oldest is only 4 years old so he’s just starting to ask questions about it this year. Why do we vote? How do we know who to vote for? What is their job? I try to break it down to preschool terms: For president we have to choose who we believe will keep our country safe and strong. Their job is to keep us healthy and keep us growing. We need someone to keep us safe from bad guys and make good friendships. So we need to always make sure we pick a leader who will keep our country happy, healthy, and strong. It’s good to be strong and happy, right?
“Yeah, mom! And not sick.”

While we were waiting in line, my oldest asked me who I wanted to vote for. We were in a crowded line (and my youngest was running around, swinging his arms, and getting dangerously close to accidentally punching a stranger), so I didn’t want to talk about the details right then. I didn’t really respond. I just said, “We’ll talk about it when I’m done.” Then he said, “I want Hillary Clinton to win.” “You do?” I asked. “Me too.” I couldn’t help but smile when he said that to me. He has watched the beginning of a couple of debates and has asked questions here and there. They start around his bedtime and I let him watch if he’ll let me pay attention. He has laughed a few times during those debates, which I thought was interesting because I didn’t know if he understood why he was laughing. And he’s made comments about Donald trump like, “he’s funny,” and “what is that guy doing?” And then I’ll say something like, “I don’t know, little man. That’s Donald Trump. Do you think he’d be a good president? Would he make a good leader?” And then, as he’s still laughing from whatever absurdity just happened during this unprecedented election, he says, “no!” And then I don’t say anything. I don’t have to. Even children watching Trump’s antics know that he isn’t fit to be president.
He’s also definitely heard his father and I talk freely about what’s happening this year. He knows it’s important. But no matter how he came to that conclusion, I’m glad he said it. While I was trying to just be quiet and not mention any names as we were standing in a mostly conservative polling line, he just announced it freely: I want Hillary Clinton to win. It’s a moment I’ll always remember and something I’ll be able to tell him when he comes to me 10 years down the road and asks me about this election. This is one that will be noted in history and I’m so thankful we are standing on the right side. Because no matter how the vote turns out, I will always own the fact that I voted for Clinton. And when we placed our vote yesterday, I wasn’t just voting for myself. I was voting for my children. And their friends. And strangers that we’ll probably never meet but could still use our help.

Through my support of Clinton people have said, “every candidate says they fight for children and woman and education but they don’t actually do that.” Well, Hillary Clinton has actually done just that. She’s made healthcare available to children, she pushed through the Adoptions and Safe Families Act, she created one of the first rape crisis centers in her town while living in Arkansas. The list can go on; and those are just a few things that she has already done, before ever becoming president, that helps women and children. Those are things she has already proven. She has plans set forth that will make college more affordable and possibly free for families making less than 125k/yr, she would make pre-k free and universal for all children, she wants to start cleaning up this earth that we have polluted so badly and that is a benefit to us all. Will she actually do what she has set out in her plans? I do not know. But I do know that she literally has a record for fighting for the well-being of women and children and education her entire adult life and I see no reason why she would stop now. The worst case scenario for Clinton’s presidency is leaps and bounds better than the worst case scenario of a Trump presidency. Even if (which I highly doubt but let’s play), even if the radical republican dream of Hillary going to prison comes to fruition and she is instantly impeached and placed behind bars, we will be left with Tim Kaine. And while I think he’s a little quirky, he has been a fighter for equality while using his faith as a backbone. On the flip side we have Pence who also uses his faith but more as a rule book that caters to his own personal beliefs.

So while I am not blind to her faults, I look forward to Hillary being an exceptional president. She will have to work harder than any president before her. We thought Obama’s criticisms were bad? Just wait for what is in store for Hillary. And on the off-chance that she doesn’t even make it there, and Donald Trump actually becomes our president, I’ll still be confident with the decision I made. And Donald will also have to work harder than any president before him. The American people have shown that they are fed up with the way we have been governed and their attention has been caught and they’re not letting go. I can’t even imagine Trump in such a high pressure position.

And ten years or so down the road when my sons do ask me or my husband who we voted for in the 2016 presidential election, I know they’ll be reporting back on the right side of history. While my newly 3 yr old couldn’t care less about the world around him (other than the dirt and trees), I’m glad his older brother is already paying attention. Maybe he’ll even have a vague memory of this election. And no matter what party he registers with on his 18th birthday, I know he’ll always be casting his vote for who is working toward the greater good for all of our people. That’s what this mother can hope for, anyway.

There’s only a few days left to get out and vote. If you haven’t done it yet, please do!

As the always funny (and funny because it’s true) Louis C.K. recently stated: If you vote for Hillary, you’re a grown-up, if you vote for Trump, you’re a sucker, if you don’t vote for anybody, you’re an asshole.

At the very least, don’t be an asshole.

Still believe Hillary has accomplished nothing?just click it, go ahead

One thought on “Children and Politics

  1. Well said Katie. And I know my little men will be valuable contributors to society as they grow. They have already made this world a better place to live in just by being a part of it. When it comes down to it that’s all that matters. Always grateful for my many blessings . First you and now your boys are counted among the greatest of my blessings. This election can never take that from any of us

    Liked by 1 person

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