Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Political Primer

November 4th was a day filled with anticipation, pride, and teachable moments. I've always brought the kids with me to vote because I think it's important that they see us in our roles as conscientious citizens. This is the first time that Colwyn's been old enough to really get what's going on, though. I explained, in kid terms, what a president does for our country. I explained how one man has been in charge for eight years and now it's somebody else's turn. I explained how it's everyone's responsibility to learn about the candidates and pick who they think will do the best job, and then go vote. We talked a little bit about Obama and McCain, and Colwyn said he wanted 'the white haired man' to win. I told him that was great, and it's good to have his own opinions (meanwhile, groaning over his choice, heh).

So we went to storytime at our local Borders and picked up some diapers at Target, then came home for lunch. After lunch, we all went out to vote - me with the three kiddos, my mom, and my dad (Doug had to work, so he voted in the morning.. and I made sure the kids knew that Daddy had already voted). The volunteers all made complimentary comments about how great it was to see the whole family out voting together, how important it was to vote and include our children, etc.. so the kids got an outside affirmation of what I had told them, too. Colwyn helped my mom vote while Lachlann helped me, and when they saw who we were all voting for, Colwyn switched to Obama's side. Lachlann, however, still maintains that McCain is the man for him.

They watched the news with us a bit last night and we talked about how everyone across the whole country has to vote and how it takes a long time to add it all up and find out who won. This morning when they woke up, I told them that Obama had won, and Colwyn was very excited. We watched some of the news and then later I showed them a bit of his victory speech.

It was quite a nice lesson in civics, and right at their level. I decided not to bring up the whole "First African American President" thing because I didn't think Colwyn would get it.. he still doesn't see his African American friends as looking any different from him, and I don't want to change that any sooner than it has to.

I'd really love to be able to take them to the inauguration, but it's doubtful that we will. It just seems like it would be an awful lot of work for something that probably only Colwyn will remember, and not necessarily well. The only way we'd seriously consider going is if Doug's dad could get us in somewhere cool.. he's a reporter for AP and that's a slight possibility.



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