One thing that has been fun about this election has been the children who are becoming interested in politics, sometimes because of mock elections at their school.
For example, Beldar had a conversation with his eighth-grade daughter Molly about spreading the wealth around. Our own nk tells about his six-year-old daughter’s discussion with a PTA mom who clearly favored Obama, in which nk’s daughter compellingly justifies her vote for McCain in a mock election.
My daughter Lauren, who is eight, asked me a bunch of questions the other day about the candidates, because her school was having a mock election. I discussed various issues with her, and told her that I support McCain, but that her mother supports Obama. Her mom was out of town with friends, so I had to present the arguments for both candidates, which I attempted to do without brainwashing her. I asked Mrs. P. later whether I made the right arguments, and she said I had (though she would no doubt accuse me of having more enthusiasm for the pro-McCain arguments).
We discussed all sorts of issues, including surveillance of suspected terrorists, the rule of law and philsophies of judging, a little bit on taxes, and various other issues.
Lauren ended up voting for John McCain. I’m so proud!
We just got back from voting, and I asked her tonight to write up something short about why she voted for McCain. Here’s what she said:
Hi! I’m Lauren. I voted at my school. I voted for John McCain! I voted for him ’cause I think he is better. Why do I think he is better? Here is an example. If a kid was being a brat and another kid was being super nice,but the kid that was being nice wasn’t tall enough for a ride Obama’s judges would say”You’re only a little bit to short and you’re being nice so you can go on the ride.” Then the kid might fall off and get hurt. McCain’s judges would say “Sorry, but you are to short.” That is why I voted for McCain. I hope you did too. Bye!
She typed the first several sentences herself — up to and including the words “You’re only” — but she’s a slow typist and her bedtime is approaching, so I had her write out the rest by hand, and I faithfully transcribed it. (I told her how to spell “judges.” She initially wanted to spell it “judies,” and you wouldn’t have understood what she was saying. Also, I’ll have to tell her how to spell “too” when it means “also” — but I left it as is, for the authenticity.)
This reasoning probably requires some explanation.
I told her that one of the main reasons I support McCain is because of the type of judges he would pick. I said that the difference between McCain’s judges and Obama’s judges is basically that McCain’s judges emphasize following the rules, and Obama’s judges emphasize being fair.
I gave her an example: let’s say that there is a rule that says a kid has to be four feet tall to ride a rollercoaster. There are two kids: one who has been a brat all day, but is barely tall enough to ride. Another has been really nice all day, and is half an inch too short. There is a judge — not their parent — who is supposed to decide whether they’re tall enough to ride the ride. That’s the judge’s only job.
I explained that a McCain judge would probably tell the kid who is too short: “You’re too short.” And he would tell the bratty kid that he’s tall enough.
An Obama judge would probably tell the kid who is too short: “Hey, you’re close enough.” And he might tell the bratty kid that he can’t ride, because he’s been a brat.
At first, she said that she liked Obama’s judges better. I said: my opinion is that if someone has been a brat, their parents should be the ones to decide if they can ride the ride or not — but the judge should decide only whether the kid is tall enough. If a judge lets a kid on who is too short, it’s probably not going to be a huge problem if they’re only a half-inch too short — but what if you let on a kid who is three inches too short? or six inches? or a foot? Eventually, the kid might be so short that they might fall off.
I emphasized that this was an analogy, and that Obama’s (or McCain’s) judges would not be ruling on who gets to ride a rollercoaster. But of all the issues we discussed, this is the one that seemed to stick with her.
Anyway, I have told her that Obama will probably win, and she was sad. “I don’t want Obama to be my President!” she said. I told her that McCain and Obama are both good men — and although I disagree with Obama, if he wins, we have to say: “Oh well, we tried. But he will still be my President.”
She’s still not very happy. Nor am I. But I want her to learn that no matter who wins, he’s a good man trying to do what he thinks is right for the country.