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Democracy — The Movie

Oh my goodness…. Just when I think being an American couldn’t possibly get more complicated….

My 11-year-old friends were here earlier — they’re the 10-year-olds I’ve referred to in the past — and the questions are getting trickier.

“How did they torture John McCain?” … “Is Barack Obama really going to raise gas prices?” … “Who is Sarah Palin?” … “Is God a Christian?”

The temptation to spew my own rhetoric is great, though I know that I shouldn’t impose my beliefs on them. How do teachers manage to stay neutral???

I remember the arguments my friends and I used to have when we were 11-ish. We’d go back and forth about Nixon and McGovern, none of us really knowing what we were talking about. All we knew was that our parents were voting for one or the other.

I told them about the mural project I’d just worked on and the demographics of the school that is in the same district with these kids. Their main concern is getting to maintain the quality of life to which they’ve become accustomed. Mine is to help these other kids find a way out. How do you impart that sort of thinking without offending anyone?

I guess that’s why I’ve started to write. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, always expected to be one someday, but I didn’t know how to start. So I just did. Maybe that’s the answer to most questions about “how” …. “JUST START”…

Through stories we can share ways of understanding ideas that seem abstract. That’s what Jesus did, though some of his parables made the ideas even MORE abstract. But unless we share our ways of seeing the world, each of us is left only to the information we have.

I don’t want to think that I have unduly influenced the neighborhood kids against their parents’ ideals, and I try hard to keep our discussions above board. But I want them to stay curious, to ask questions, to participate.

After all, isn’t that the beauty of being an American?

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Categories: Life, Politics
  1. October 23, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Kids do ask difficult questions a lot. How did our parents handle it without a little help from the internet?

    Our daughter started asking about the election a few weeks ago, and immediately jumped on our bandwagon. We didn’t want her to follow us blindly, so we discussed certain issues, ie. war, taxes, global warming, gay rights (we skipped abortion… too difficult for a 6 year old mind). We explained both sides and asked her to choose. It turned out she was with us anyway, and now she proudly wears a button of her candidate on her jacket.

  2. Cheryl
    October 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    My 10 year old daughter, Cassie has chosen her candidate, well, actually she’s chosen which candidate she strongly wouldn’t vote for. When we spoke about it, I did tell her about abortion and I told her that although I’m pro-choice now, when I was her age, I was not pro-choice. She hasn’t made up her mind on the issue and I don’t want for it to be something she dwells on now. I also told her that I wouldn’t want her to blindly follow her parents’ choices on the candidates, to think for herself and feel comfortable with her views.

    Cass is quite the animal rights activist. So, when it came down to it, all she needed was to hear about Sarah Palin shooting wolves from helicopters for her to choose NOT to support Palin’s ticket. Smart kid…!

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