Saturday, August 30, 2008

Politics for Kids

A little history: My parents, especially my dad, are VERY conservative. I have a nine-year old little sister who basically only hears one perspective all the time. Apparently in the car on the way to a family dinner last night, my parents were discussing McCain's veep choice and my sister, like all little kids, is agreeing with everything her dad says. When they get to the restaurant, my mom, the pacifist, suggests leaving the conversation in the car because she doesn't want it to get ugly between my dad and I. My little sister asks why, and my mom tells her because I'm voting for Obama. My sister says, "Why is she voting for Obama?!?" My mom tells her to ask me later, in private.

So she finally gets me alone after dinner and asks me why I'm voting for Obama. And I'm thinking, "How do I explain this to a nine-year-old?!?"

I started by trying to explain the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans- more/less govn't, etc. Then I told her a couple of the reasons I am a Democrat in the simplest way possible:
1) Equal pay for equal work. I asked what she would think if my mom offered to give my brother $1.00 to do a chore, but would only give her 75 cents to do the same chore. She thought that would be unfair.I told her that McCain voted against legislation that would allow women to sue for being paid unfairly. (In other words, McCain thinks its cool for us to make .75/1.00.)
2) The rights of all Americans regardless of sexual preference. I told her I thought that if two people are in love, they should be able to get married, whether or not they are a woman and a man, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man.
3) Abortion. She asked me, "But what about abortion? Abortion is bad right?" I told her having an abortion is a tough choice, but that as long as women can get pregnant, women will have abortions, so there needs to be safe, legal abortions to prevent women's suffering and/or deaths. I wouldn't have mentioned this if she hadn't brought it up, I don't think that a nine-year old should have to think about abortion.
4) Money. Specifically Bush's tax cuts that McCain wants to make permanent. I told her it made more sense to me to give tax breaks to the poor/middle class people who need them, than to give tax breaks to people who are already very rich and just hope that it "trickles down".

She was quiet for a minute, really thinking about everything I said, her little brow furrowed. Then she said, "Okay, now I understand why you are voting for Obama." I told her that she should learn everything she can about politics and then make her own decisions and not allow her choices to be influenced by me, or anybody else.

What a smart, gutsy little girl to ask me that outright! She's gonna do big things.


Quinn said...

That's cool... if only my sister were so open minded or inquisitive.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing for your sister that she has someone to show her the other side.

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