Ok, it's no surprise that Evanston is otherwise known as Obamaland.
Don't be fooled by the photo. George and I are voting for Senator Obama.
But what does a parent do when their kid, while trick or treating, walks up to a door, and refuses to knock on that door because it is sporting a McCain/Palin sticker, and thus turns, and leaves the property?
I don't need a parent manual to tell me that this is not good.
I told Zane he needed to be bipartisan and march up to that door. He was rewarded with a Milky Way. Too bad for you, Harper.
Yes, Harper has been learning about both candidates in school and has registered to vote in her classroom on election day. She, and her classmates, have also written letters to whomever will be our next President.
And while we have also discussed the election in the house, we have told Harper that she needs to read the informational brochures on each candidate, (child friendly material), and vote for the candidate of her choice.
"Yeah, I already know I'm voting for Obama because McCain stinks!"
Um, wait a minute.
"Where did you hear that"?
She shared that a few students in her class had mentioned that McCain was no good and stunk. My heart broke. Broke. I have failed. No awards for Mom in this house today.
"Harper, speaking about Senator McCain that way is completely disrespectful", said the mother who dissed Palin verbally early on . . . I've redeemed myself . . . "and I hope you understand that both Obama and McCain love this country and want to do the best job as President. They just disagree on how to do so."
We then discussed the issues in her handouts. As much as one can actually discuss the issues with a 7 year old. I was surprised, however, by her questions, and her conclusions as they pertained to each issue highlighted in the brochure.
"Mom, why are we in a war with Iraq"?
I stumbled through explaining 9-11 (having previously touched upon the events of that day after reading a book from before 2001 which still showed the towers standing, two skyscrapers which Harper mentioned interest in visiting one day) and how after the attacks we believed that Iraq was possibly protecting terrorists, like the ones who hurt and killed many Americans on 9-11, by allowing them to stay in that country, and that Iraq also had really bad weapons, or RBW's, that could threaten us. I then shared that these weapons were never found.
"So why are we still fighting with them?"
"Harper, I do not know."
"Did they find the people who hurt our country when I was a baby?"
"No. But they think the person who planned the attack is in a country called Afghanistan." I told her his name. (Updated on November 2: I really didn't want to explain suicide missions to my daughter and thus, I told her that the people hadn't been found.)
"So, why don't we go there and get him?"
"Well, Harper, it's difficult."
"Well, I think that if we keep sending Americans to Iraq then the war will just keep getting bigger and go on longer. So I disagree with it."
We talked about education. Harper didn't like the word "compete" when it came to schools competing for the best teachers. In her young 7 year old mind, she took this to mean,
"So will all the best teachers only be in a few schools, then? What about all the other schools?"
I realize that all this is watered down and that Harper can't possibly comprehend the entire scope of the issues, but she came to these conclusions on her own - at least she is beginning the process of thinking critically.
She also decided that "all children should be able to go to the doctor".
Now, I know that she can't really make an informed choice at 7 years old, and that she is completely influenced by the fact that Obama signs have become yard ornaments around here, but I am really glad that we are talking about the election. I'm glad that there is material out there for parents to use when discussing the candidates with their children.
I do hope, however, that parents are actually having discussions with their children and are not simply telling their child that one candidate is better than the other, end of story. This does nothing for their ability to think critically. These men are not deities, and don't encompass true "hope" and "truth", so I feel quite comfortable discussing both candidates with Harper. And truth is, she's hearing stuff in school, from other kids. I can't ignore that this is happening. It's like a discussion about sex. Can a child this old really understand it? No. But if she came home repeating something of a sexual nature that she picked up on the playground, then I best be ready and available to discuss it.
I felt compelled to apologize to Harper if I had said anything to make her think that McCain "stunk". She assured me that she had heard it at school.
I wiped my forehead.
Still, after her comment from last week, and then her refusal to trick or treat at the house of a McCain supporter, I really needed to discuss respect. Both my respect for both candidates, and, well, ok, their running mates as well . . . and her respect for the candidates.
She is 7.
What was I doing when I was 7?
I don't think so.