On Feeling All Those Election ‘Feels’
There is a saying ‘Every nation gets the leader they deserve’. I don’t know who said this first but right now it’s the mantra my husband keeps employing as an answer to everything election related.
Surely Donald Trump won’t win I will say, turning to him in disbelief, after watching said candidate bluff his way through a debate and actually make no sense what so ever. ‘Every nation gets the leader they deserve’ hubby will cryptically reply and nothing more.
We don’t have voting rights here, but one day on reaching a certain age my children certainly will and this is something my American son is proud of already. The school had a ‘mock election’ in which students were shown how the voting process works and with the help of more senior students actually went through a process of ‘voting online’.
I did not want to have to explain a certain candidate (and in turn what he stands for) to my 6 year old. We never watch TV in front of our kids, never mind watching the news. Never talk politics in front of them either, so I definitely wasn’t ready at all when he came home from school one day saying : “Donald Trump is a bad guy who wants to be president”. It was as if turning six years old and starting first grade suddenly exposed him to this awful rhetoric I had been hoping to delay for a while longer.
“ Mama what is he going to do if he becomes president?” Falteringly I asked him what he knew about it … “ I think he is going to build a wall so that no one from Mexico can visit here… but Mama what if someone has relatives in Mexico how ill they see each other?”
“People in my class are saying Hillary is a liar”
Guys is this normal or was I right to be surprised at hearing this from my first grader? Was it already time for me to have the ‘talk’ about the convoluted lens that some people will view our faith through? Was this going to be his introduction to the horrible world of Islamophobia? I couldn’t do this on my own I needed back up from my husband (and by that I mean I left this one for him to handle!)
A couple of days later, although not witness to their conversation, hubby relayed to me his approach to ‘The Topic’, (secretly I was hoping it would be something more than the “Each nation gets the leader they deserve’ spiel!)
He had started by explaining to our son the difference between fact and opinion. That everyone has OPINIONS about everything but that just because some people are saying some things doesn’t mean that it is right or true and that we have to find ways of finding out for ourselves what is the truth. What to believe in and what to reject.
‘Someone could tell you cheese is yucky but that is just their opinion. You need to find out for yourself what you think. (What are the ingredients of the cheese? Is it halal to eat? Can you taste it and decide for yourself whether it is yucky or not?)
We went on to talk about how one candidate had shown over and over again his lack of respect for people who were different from him. This included disrespect for women, for Mexicans and for Muslims too. It was not an easy conversation. I struggled to talk about it myself and when the innocent face of my little boy turned into a worried frown “Oh No! Mama I don’t want Donald Trump to win!” I couldn’t do much else other than just listen.
Tomorrow is the ‘real’ Election Day here in the USA. A culmination of two years worth of campaigns by the candidates. Remember the campaign exactly eight years ago? When Sarah Palin was the craziest person in American politics? Yeah me too. To me the whole rigmarole still seems like a spectator sport of sorts. It’s as Big and as Excessive as you can get, as American as Apple Pie. Yet America, as a country has one of the lowest voter turn outs amongst other comparable developed nations. Coupled with limited early voting opportunities, not so user friendly voter registration and an official voting day that requires time off work for most people, it’s no wonder American voters don’t seem to show up in as huge numbers as they might. Even though I have no voter’s right here it feels like tomorrow is an exam that I am scared of failing! All my friends who can vote have made sure they will be using theirs. And the ones who can’t, are all discernibly concerned.
~ I love this initiative by small business owners – so simple and so cool!
~ Check out this highly recommended book as a first introduction to the US Electoral system for your young child. I can’t wait to place an order for it at our local library!
~ Made me laugh as it’s what I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen!