We spent most of the morning discussing the candidates and the ballot issues before heading to the polls yesterday. Em came with me and was proud to get her own “I Voted!” sticker. She was invested and interested in the process.
It is shocking to realize that in 2024, she will be able to vote in her first election. Just eight more years from now!
As I struggle to address the rather large subject of social studies, and keep her interest while doing so, the 2016 election and the political machinations before and after have given me the perfect point to begin with.
Because she is interested.
I fear that my girls have my learning inclinations. If they cannot relate to something, they become intractable, stubborn, and fight the learning process tooth and nail. The key then becomes finding what will catch their interest.
For months I had declared that I would be voting 3rd party. And on election day, as I paged through the issues and we discussed each candidate in detail, I honed in on Jill Stein.
“I’m voting for Jill Stein because she wants to give us health care, she wants to take our soldiers back home from war. She doesn’t want to do the things that Hillary or Trump does, she wants to do the right thing. She wants to make health care a frickin’ right, I mean, what could be better? If she could succeed, we could get health care, get our soldiers back from war, and it would be a lot better than it is.”
And then a friend walked in the door, sat down, and changed my mind.
I ended up voting for Hillary Clinton.
This probably marks me as changeable, whimsical and easily persuaded. And it well might be. I can only say in my defense that, my vote wasn’t just for me and my needs.
I am quickly realizing that, for most things, I am squarely in the Green Party. I hold the Libertarian ideals of “stay out of my business” but I also have this huge heart that worries about those who cannot care for themselves. I don’t want war, I don’t want my children in debt with student loans, and I’m terrified of getting sick because I can’t afford $1,000 or more per month in medical premiums (note that is premiums not care – the care would cost above that). And I want the war on drugs to STOP.
And after waking up this morning to the news that the man I never took seriously, never dreamed would actually be President of the United States, had won.
I’ve never held back in my speech. And until recently, Em has not used curse words, but it is telling that we both said the same thing upon hearing the news.
So here is what I’m going to do. I’m riding the wave – Em is interested in politics, in the current events taking place right now. She is interested in laws, propositions, and how they work. I’m going to ride that wave and teach her more.
This morning, as we were taking baths and planning our homeschool day I said, “We are going to keep talking about this over the next few days, weeks, even months. I will start by explaining my views, but keep in mind they are my views. We know a lot of people, and many of them have very different views than we do. Your job is to learn from all of us and then make the best decision possible when it becomes your turn to vote.”
I realized that I want to raise a woman who pays attention to local and national issues, researches her options, and makes the best decision possible. I’ve already done it once – Danielle was introduced to several different political figures at the time she was in her early teens (she read “Savage Nation” along with Jesse Ventura’s “Ain’t Got Time to Bleed” and a Bush book as part of her homeschool).
I plan on participating in EVERY local election there is from now on and making sure that Em is by my side when I do it, reading about the issues and making her own decisions, whether they agree with mine or not.
The best response to not getting the person you have chosen for office is, as a Facebook friend wrote,
“People are very quick to deflect “blame” this morning. At the end of the day, voters looked at Trump and said “this man represents our values and what is important to us.”
For those of us who do not feel represented or that he reflects our values, let’s get back to work. Social justice doesn’t begin or end with a single election.
Or you can always choose Em’s second choice for president,
“I know who I want for President…stink butt.” (said while holding Maxwell, Dee’s cat)