Running Free

Running Free

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Etiquette of Potty Politics

Recently, my son came home from school and asked me who I was planning to vote for in the upcoming US Presidential Race.

At the time of his question I had in my hand two socks that were not original mates. I was standing in the laundry room - my second home. And I was futilely trying to match up pairs of socks that had gone into the washing machine as happily married couples and now were in a serious state of dryer divorce and I was trying to play family sock mediator…


My son dropped his backpack on the couch and came over to plant a wet kiss on my cheek. Bits of dried grass were stuck to his forehead.

I kissed the top of his sweaty head, and removed the dried strips of mottled grass and decided to not ask how nature’s blades had glued themselves to his forehead. Some things are better left unanswered.

“So Mom,” repeated my DS (Dear Son for those of you just joining this very merry bat channel of blog-lite). “Who are you going to vote for?”

What to do…how to answer.

“Well,” I began a bit hesitantly…"Voting is a very special privilege as you know. Our forefathers fought long and hard wars so that we could have the right to vote in a county where we could voice our support or dissension without fear of retribution. It is an honor to be able to vote.”

My son, with freckles sprinkled across the top of his nose like bits of cinnamon on whip cream didn’t like that answer. He wrinkled his brow and said, “Well, that’s all great Mom, but who are you voting for? All the kids at school are saying McCain should win or we will have higher taxes.”
“Really?” I looked at him and my reunited socks and said, “Who is talking about voting at school?
“Everyone,” he said.

Frankly I was shocked. Call me old fashioned. Heck, call me prehistoric; archaic. My son is ten. T-E-N. He isn’t even old enough to vote. Of course he is starting to pay attention to what happens in the world besides who won the baseball or basketball game. But as a parent, I believe he needs to be able to make informed decisions with good facts and information that he is rationally able to process.

Now he is a smart little guy but he is still just that – a little boy. I am in no hurry for him to grow up and establish the jaded sense of the world that follows when one talks politics.

“A lot of the parents are telling their kids that McCain has to win because he is the better candidate for us,” my son stated.

“Indeed,” said I.

“So Mom, who did you vote for?”

“Well, you see dear, voting is a very special honor and privilege. But it is or at least it should be a private matter, like going potty. For example, when you go to the bathroom do I ask you if you went poop or pee? Or how was your bowel movement?”

By now my son has managed to finagle a bag of pretzels from the snack cabinet and was sitting on the couch happily munching and reading a book called “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” his momentary interest in my political leanings long forgotten.

“I don’t need to go to the bathroom,” he said. Selective hearing had taken over.

Kind of like in politics. Everything is a bit selective. And best left within the privacy of the loo- if one wants to have any friends – at least in my case…

Don’t forget to flush…


Loring Wirbel said...

Aw, heck, I like to holler to the rooftops - but then, it was noticeable, beginning in the mid-1980s, that when you wore a political T-shirt to parties, you'd get a embarrassed look like you'd committed a terrible faux pas.

I'll never keep that stuff private. But I sreaked my high school, so that probably means a self-destructive exhibitionist streak.

Loring Wirbel said...

Something else I had to add - ten? They're halfway to genius at ten. I was debating economic policy with my daughter at age 8.

Obviously, in realms like sexuality and drugs, you don't want them to grow up fast. But if you talk history, politics, faith, culture with a kid as though they were adult, they will spout things by age 8 or 9 that makes more sense than half the 30-year-olds out there. They largely "get it" by second grade.

camerone said...

You raise some valid points Loring-and we do address those issue in the family- which is where they beloing - not on public display- but hey I am all for sharing and shouting- I just prefer the sidelines :-)