"Did you vote?"

by Kathy on November 4, 2008 · 3 comments

in Bob, Healing, Molly, Sean

Sean asked me that randomly as we were driving home after his park district Tumbling class this afternoon. I repeated the question back to him. “Sean did you just ask me if I voted today?” Sean replied, “yes.” I told Sean that I did vote earlier today and that so did Daddy. Then I asked him where he heard about voting and why he asked me if I voted. I try to teach Sean as much as I can about the world around him, but have not said much to him about elections, specifically this presidential election, as I guess I thought it was over his head, not to mention unnecessary for a five year old to try to comprehend. I may have guessed wrong. I was amazed the conversation that ensued…

Sean proceeded to tell me that one of his teachers had talked about voting and told him and his classmates yesterday at school to remind their parents to vote for president today! Then he went on to tell me about a commercial that he had seen a few times recently while watching Nickelodeon. He explained that he knew there were two men that you could vote for for president. Sean told me he saw on the commercial that one guy had blue on him and had dark skin and dark hair and that the other guy had red on him and lighter skin and white hair. Sean said that the commercial said that kids could go online to the Nickelodeon website and cast their votes for who they wanted to be president. I asked who he thought he would vote for if he went on the website and Sean said the blue guy, because his favorite color is blue!

I decided to try to explain a bit more about voting, the candidates and the presidential election being held today. I told him that the “blue guy’s” name is Barack Obama and that he actually lives in the same city and state that we do, Chicago, Illinois. I told him that the “red guy’s” name is John McCain and that he lives in another state called Arizona. I tried to explain that our current president’s name is George Bush and that he will stop being president in January at which point either Barack Obama or John McCain, whomever gets the most votes today, will become our new president. I also tried to tell Sean as simply as possible what the president does. After listening to me for a bit, Sean reiterated that he would vote for Barack Obama. I asked if it was because of he wearing blue in the commercial and Sean said, “yes and because he lives in Chicago, like we do.” We talked a bit more and Sean said that he wished he could really vote and I explained that you aren’t allowed to vote in an election our country until you are 18 years old.

Anyway, these are the moments as a mother that I find both challenging and fascinating! I love that my five year old was able to grasp certain aspects of this very important day in our country and wanted to discuss it. It was fun and interesting to talk with him about voting and the presidential election. I am impressed that one of his preschool teachers talked with Sean and his classmates about voting and reminding their parents to do so.

As I may have shared here before, for much of my life I have leaned more to the left/liberal side of things when it comes to politics and the issues related to choosing a presidential candidate to support. I have been with my relatively conservative husband Bob for 12 years now and married for 8 of those years. We discuss and debate politics and the issues often in our home. We have learned a lot from each other over the years and as a result we have both really learned to understand and at times even appreciate each other’s points of view. We also in many ways have both become more moderate in our political views.

As I believe I also mentioned here before, I supported and voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. I do like a lot of things about Barack Obama, I agree with him on many issues and I did choose to cast my vote for him today. However, I don’t have the passion for him and his candidacy that many of my friends and family members do. Sometimes I wish I did. I have always wanted to feel so strongly about a candidate that I felt compelled to campaign for them and try to help get them elected. Maybe someday I will. I do recognize how amazing it will be if he is elected on a lot of different levels and I do hope that if that is the outcome of today’s election that a President Obama will be successful in bringing our country and world together at this critical time in our nation’s history. That said, I also have a lot of respect and admiration for John McCain, I agree with him on some of the issues and I don’t think it would be that bad if he were to be elected.

Anyway, after my chat with Sean earlier today about voting for president, I thought it would be fun to share about it here. Before I sign off I want invite you to join me in saying a prayer for three people in Heaven that have been on mind today. One of course being my baby girl Molly. Sean was just over a year old when I voted in the last presidential election in 2004. If Molly had lived and been born healthy around her due date she would be about 4 1/2 months old on this election day. I visited her grave today and put back all of the decorations that we had taken down during the Fall clean-up at the cemetery. As I drove away from the cemetery, the song “Who You’d Be Today,” which I shared about here recently, came on the radio which I found to be a nice coincidence. The second person is Tim Russert, who died in June of this year. He was one of my favorite political commentators on TV and many times today I thought about what he might be saying on this historic election day. The third and last person is Barack Obama’s grandmother who died on Sunday. I can only imagine how proud of her grandson she must be and am sorry that she didn’t get to live to see him potentially be elected president today.

I will leave you with a quote from a fun t-shirt that a good friend of mine gave me recently. She ordered one for herself and one for me from the Ellen Degeneres show. I am wearing mine today with pride, having voted for a presidential candidate for the fourth time in my life (my 1st time was in 1996 when I was 21, I just missed being able to vote in the 1992 election since my 18th birthday was in March 1993) and the front of the t-shirt reads as follows:

Laugh. Dance. Vote.

No matter which candidate you support for president or for other elected offices, I hope that all of you have the opportunity and choose to do all three today.

P.S. Sean and I found this cute video on Nickelodeon’s website. It wasn’t the one Sean had been telling me about, but we still both got a kick out of watching it together! 🙂

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Martha November 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm

It is a privilege to vote. We took our sons into the polling booth this morning, what a thrill. God Bless America, our children’s futures depend on it.
P.S. I’m not drinking the “Kool Aid” for any politician anytime soon!

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2 T-Mommy November 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I am always surprised at how well you address issues with Sean and I marvel at how mature and grown up he is for his age.

You and Bob are truly doing a outstanding parenting job…

…and I just hope I can catch at least a bit of it!

Your family, and off course little Molly, continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

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3 katd November 6, 2008 at 1:08 pm

I just love your blog. You express things so well:)
What an amazing time in our country, as well. I love that Sean liked the “blue” guy:) It’s just that easy when you’re little, huh? 🙂 As the mom of a biracial little girl, I feel a special pride in the results.

And oh, how I loved Tim Russert. He was very missed Election Night. Saying special prayers for Tim’s family, sweet Molly, and Obama’s grandmother. I hope she knows what her grandson accomplished. 🙂

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