I cannot imagine how many “election day” blogs are being written today, but I also cannot imagine an election that is as important as this one. While I’m certainly happy that K-Man is merely three years old, I do harbor a secret wish that he were just a few years older (maybe for one day only!) and able to understand the huge, historic impact of today’s election.
As I dropped him off at school today, K-Man proudly showed his classmates the “I Voted” sticker that I got for him early, early this morning. He doesn’t know what it means, but he told his friends that he “voted for Obama.” (Attempts to get him to say, “Barack on!” and “I Baracked the Vote!” and “Barack & Roll!” were met with tremendously confused three-year-old eyes. Cute as hell, but confused, nonetheless!)
The campaign for this election has obviously been going on for a long time – most of K-Man’s life. Based on the above paragraph, it’s fairly obvious where my vote went. But, that being said, whatever the politics, we all have an obligation to teach our kids not only about the process, but about something even bigger. Obviously, our personal values, beliefs and…politics will be passed along to our kids. At some point, they will have the opportunity to decide for themselves.
Although I want K-Man to grow up and carry the more left-leaning torch of his parents, I also want him to grow up and think for himself. We all have various life experiences that shape our views. And, I also think it’s natural for our experiences to play a big role in the evolution of our thought. (This is kind of like Thanksgiving – until our kids are a certain age, they will go where we go. After that? Chances are they won’t necessarily want to come home, when they can go skiing instead!)
Even still, I think that there’s a bigger issue at play. I’m glad the election is here. I’m glad the nearly two-year campaign is finally coming to a close. I’m tired of the hate. I’m tired of the negative campaigning. I’m ready for some national and international healing.
Politics, like religion, are an amazing and, in many cases, an absolutely instantly polarizing topic. People HATE others because of their politics (just like religion). What’s important is to teach that everyone has a voice. And, everyone’s voice and choices need to be respected (even if you don’t agree with them). But, I will obviously add that there are some universal truths that should be followed. I don’t think inflicting any bodily harm to get across one's views is okay. With the election finally here, let’s use the opportunity to teach about tolerance. An opportunity to teach about the gift – being understanding and without judgment. An opportunity to teach about forgiveness.
Yes, it’s crucial that we teach our kids about the right to vote. But, as we might learn today (especially here in California), we still have rights that aren’t afforded to everyone. Democracy doesn’t necessarily provide “freedom” for all. And not everyone is necessarily equal under the law (even when, perhaps, they should be). So, let’s teach our kids about voting. Let’s teach our kids to stand up for what they believe in. But let’s also use this opportunity to teach them about the bigger lessons that come with presidential elections.
Let’s vote. But, man…can’t we also work to end the hate?