Sometimes going to the playground with your kid is like navigating a mine field. You've got your "should be home in bed because he's spreading vile germs" kid over by the slide. You've got your "hasn't seen a handful of sand he didn't want to throw in someone's eyes" kid over in the sandbox. And over by the swings is the little politician, espousing "his" views on everything from health care to the economy when all your 6-year-old wants to do is put butt in seat and start pumping those legs.
That last kid? He may be the worst of the bunch. Mouthy. Opinionated. But at the end of the day, a 6-year-old has no clue what he's talking about -- because it's all just a bunch of stuff that Mom and Dad have drilled into his head.
It's no surprise that kids grow up to vote like their parents a large percentage of the time. The big news over the weekend about how taking your kids to a July 4th parade and celebrating patriotic activities is bound to turn your tot into a Republican only cements that. There's nothing inherently "Republican" about fireworks and parades. I'm a liberal mama, and I very readily strapped my 6-year-old into her booster seat on Saturday, bound for a local parade to celebrate the Fourth.
But Republicans, the Harvard researchers said, are more heavily involved in July 4th activities. So it would only stand to reason that more Republican parents were taking their kids along, reflecting the numbers of future Republican voters. But that's at 18. When they start voting. It doesn't explain the little 6-year-old whose parents can't stick to age-appropriate topics telling my kid about Obamacare.
What happened to letting kids be kids? To letting them deal with their own issues instead of taking on ours? Here's a fact: little kids don't pay taxes. Little kids can't vote. Little kids aren't able to handle decisions as weighty as "should I eat a Twinkie for breakfast or a bowl of cereal" without their parents' help. How can we expect them to determine the best qualities in a Senator?
This isn't to say that we shouldn't raise good citizens. I engage my daughter in talks about patriotism because she should learn to love her country. I take her into the voting booth with me so she learns that it's our civic responsibility to be an active participant in the electoral process.
But at 6, she doesn't have the ability to weigh out whether it's more important to have a president who is socially liberal or fiscally conservative, so I don't ask her to weigh in on who I should vote for. I don't tell her to tell her friends who to vote for. I don't talk to her about the nitty gritty, just like I don't talk to her about the details of our mortgage or that rash on my ankle. She's still a kid. I want her to be one.
Are your kids already Republicans or Democrats, or do you keep politics off the playground?
Image via DrBacchus/Flickr