It all started with a comment my 8-year-old son made at the dinner table.
“Who would vote for Obama -- Again?”
Silence interrupted our usually pleasant dinner conversation. A conversation typically filled with daily recaps, pleas not to eat vegetables and occasional reminders to use silverware – but never politics.
“Romney and Ryan – it’s the only way.”
It was as if the sound barrier had been broken before our very eyes… No need for an expensive trip out of the stratosphere... Or a cool YouTube video of a guy in a special suit skydiving at the speed of light -- or was it sound?? Oh well…
This was entertainment.
“What was that buddy?” my husband asks with a sideways quizzical smirk.
My son looks up from his strategic attempts to hide his carrots on his plate and says, “Who would vote for Obama? Another FOUR years? I don’t think so.”
I can’t speak as I continue to chew my obligatory carrot serving – pretending they are delicious. I look at my sweet boy's face. He is concerned. He looks worried.
I think it curious to hear such words out of our son’s mouth. In our house we most certainly discuss current events, but my husband and I always try to keep our personal opinions to ourselves as our kids absorb what is happening around them – we answer their questions with as much unbiased honesty as we can –guiding them to observe and collect their own data to help them form their own opinions. Sure we have occasional slip-ups when we feel strongly about a situation… But rarely when it comes to the topic of politics.
My husband and I were both raised – with political “etiquette." You know, never asking the taboo question to our parents, “Who are you voting for? Why?” As it was a personal and private affair.
We were at a loss. I quickly change the subject to the potential of seeing snowflakes soon. You can never go wrong when discussing the excitement of the New England weather patterns this time of year.
But my son needs to press on.
“I mean, he keeps giving our money away – you know, with all his taxes and stuff. We may not survive another year if people vote for him again.”
Now my 11-year-old – who has learned the rules of engagement here – tries to politely guide her brother to a place where he could see both sides – a devil’s advocate – so to speak.
My son listens with a tense concentrated expression. He nods his head in agreement with some of his sister’s points and it looks as if she has quieted the lion that seemed to have passionately possessed my son’s heart.
I exchange a brief humorous glance with my husband. And all seems quiet again on the western front, but then my son – who’s heart is more pure than most 8 year olds I know – just cannot contain himself.
“I am just saying... that Obama might be a good man. He just can’t keep doing what he is doing. It’s just that if he keeps it up -- I am afraid we are going to run out of food and stuff.”
Wow. Politics and the state of our economy intertwined in the heart of an 8- year- old boy. That’s a big weight – Scary stuff.
I’m still not sure of how I will vote this morning… The choices are not so clear. I do know that my decision will affect my family and many others like mine in the years ahead. I wish I had the conviction my son has.
We went to bed last night with no worries. The conversation of Tuesday’s election tabled.
This morning, as I sat reading my emails and scrolling through my favorite alternate version of People Magazine – also known as Facebook – my sweet little sleepy eyed son tumbled into the living room. He kissed the top of my head and wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
“Hey Mom, (sigh inserted here) I wish I could vote today.”
His words were spoken so sadly that they stung.
I answered my child as reassuringly as I could – “You will one day little man. Today I will vote for you.. Okay?”
He looked into my soul with his enormous brown eyes and nodded – trusting me.
And with that we hugged each other and sighed.
God Bless America.