Thursday, November 06, 2008

Grade School Politics

The last few days, Claire and Katie have been talking about voting and the election. Since we live in a conservative area, most of what they have been hearing is the name John McCain. Katie informed me that she was voting McCain. Claire hadn’t made up her mind mostly because she couldn’t remember the other guy’s name.

Claire told me on Monday that her teacher said that John McCain was going to be our next president. I just told her that I was sorry, but her teacher was wrong. There was a lot of discussion among the 2nd and 3rd graders at Claire’s school the day after the election. Claire came home with a lot of concerns.

Claire- “Barack Obama is going to take away Christmas.”

Me- “Claire, that is ridiculous. Where did you hear that?”

Claire- “From a 3rd grader, so it’s true.”

Me- “Claire, that is not true. Barack Obama is a dad and he’s nice. Even if he could take away Christmas, he wouldn’t.”

Claire- “Well, I heard it from a 3rd grader! And she said he’s not smart.”

Me- “He went to Harvard and not just Harvard. He went to law school at Harvard. It’s the best place to go to college and they only let really smart people go there.”

Claire- “I heard that he’s not smart and he blows up buildings and then people don’t have a place to live.”

Me- “That is not true. Don’t you think I know more than a 3rd grader?”

Claire- “No.”

The most disturbing thing she said was that Obama won’t be president for long. She was told that someone would kill him.

I am disgusted that parents would discuss such things either with or in front of their children. I think it’s great to talk about the election process and who the candidates are but that should be the end of it. The overwhelming interest among grade-school children in this particular election makes me uneasy. Even among this age group, some of it reeks of racism.

I think it would be appropriate for the schools to discuss the new president and address the concerns of the kids. Clearly there is misinformation being conveyed in some of the homes that is then being passed on to all of our children. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only parent that does not want children being exposed to ignorance and hatred.


Bambi said...

Makes me sick to think of how people are raising their kids. The things they say in front of them. I have a major concern for our new President myself, sad part is somewhere some one is most likley plotting something not because he is president, but b/c he is black, and THAT pisses me off. I keep them in my prayers ...

Sass said...

You and I are so on the same page with this. I posted about this very thing and it just makes me shake my head at how parents have got to step up and teach kids the truth.

You know, the truth? Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Yeah. The truth. ;)

J. said...

I think the assasination fear is pretty common, and, unfortunately, pretty real. BUT I'm sure that the Obamas, and their security detail, are well aware of the increased risk, and can combat it.

david wells said...

I think it is amazing that my 5 yr old was part of a mock election in kindergarten. he is involved in history. And I voted for McCain, not because I dislike Obama, but I didnt agree on some of his views.

overall I think he will do great things. And I pray that he does not get hurt/killed. I think if that happened, it would tear this country apart.

As much as people think this election has brought this country a step closer to being united, I too fear that is not the case, mainly in the south.

Bulldog said...

I think mock elections are fine - as long as they are teaching the kids about how our system of government works.

Let's teach them that, instead of trying to indoctrinate them into a political philosophy.

Angelina said...

We don't particularly censor ourselves around our kid but we try to keep our more explosive political conversations for when he's in bed. I think it's healthy for kids to take an early interest in politics and the world they live in but I agree that it's important that they be given as balanced a view as possible.

Early on in the presidential campaign my husband said the only concern he had about Obama being president was that he would get immediately assassinated. We're so excited that he was elected but now I'm afraid for him too.

I would say I can't believe that kids on the playground are discussing possible assassinations but last year my son got in a lot of theological discussions with kids on his playground (we're not Christian and most people here are) and apparently it gets quite heated.

Letters and Poems said...

It is sad, ridiculous and sick. I live in the south, in a pretty "redneck" small town and I have already had to have numerous conversations with my 3rd grader about racism. While I hate that he has to hear some of the comments he hears, I have always been very open with him, and we have had a lot of good conversations about the differences in people.

S said...

As for "taking away Christmas", there is grave concern in the conservative Christian corner that the liberals (especially those well-versed in passing legislation) are effectively going to "outlaw Christmas".

In a country where tolerance is golden, the only thing not being genuinely tolerated is conservative Christianity. Perhaps you may disagree, but a decided bias against what used to be mainstream (Christian) values has come to prevail. The removal of the ten commandments issue, the proposals to redefine traditional marriage, the adamance against exploring Intelligent Design (a non-religious position) in the classroom...anything the Christians want to try to preserve or advocate comes under attack, usually by very outspoken liberal activists of some sort, or runaway judges legislating from the bench.

Most people are still decent and fairly moral despite the changing climate (yet another hot topic - pun intended), yet they are easily swayed and manipulated. Duped by their own desire for fairness and justice, without a stable worldview (having tossed out religion for its "intolerance and prejudice", yet having kept a sense of right and wrong based on no higher moral law giver) many people have come to believe that truth is relative, not absolute. This is truly where our cultural crisis lies.

In our efforts to all just get along and tolerate one another, we have confused tolerance with acceptance, actually embracing what we were taught to disagree with yet tolerate. Now we grant special rights and priviledges. (This would even extend into taking away rights for the unborn, and giving them to the fully grown who are supposed to be acting as custodians for future genrations.) Sorry to go here since it is so controvercial, but this does tie into why Christians are routinely rejected these days, for having these sort of opinions that no one wants to be disturbed by. This is why they (we) have some concern for what has been referred to as the outlawing of Christmas. (Remember that South Park episode?) A parting thought I'd like to leave is in regard to the uncomfortable claim of exclusivity of the truth that Christians make: there may be many turths, but only a singular Truth. If truths contradict one another, they can't all be correct; that would violate the Law of Non-Contradiction.

Now, I am not saying that I believe Obama gonna steal X-mas. Please don't get me wrong. I really do like the guy a lot, and I believe he has a lot to offer as a leader of our country. I just hold some more conservative views than he. Perhaps he is just more of a pragmatist while I am more of a classical idealists.