When Three-Year-Olds Dabble in Politics
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to talk about November’s presidential election. Not to worry, this is a mostly bipartisan post.
I often find myself stopped short in conversations with Boo. He came down with a case of the “why?”s right at two years old when he hit me with “Why is the sky blue?” on a walk one day. A switch flipped right then and never turned off. It’s pretty awesome most of the time, but more and more, I’m stuck trying to come up with (a) an answer a 3-year-old will understand, (b) an answer I will understand, or (c) an answer at all because I have no frickin’ idea and could really use a handbook.
Enter November 6, 2012. I needed to vote, and needed to take Boo with me. Of course, he wanted to know where we were going, why were going there, and so on. I told him I was voting. What’s voting? When you choose something. What are you choosing? The president. What’s the president? The person in charge of the United States. (Fortunately, he knows what the United States is.) Who’s in charge of the United States? I explain that Barack Obama is right now, but that people get to vote to see if he will be president again or if Mitt Romney will be president. (Simplified, I know. I do what I can.) Who’s Barack Obama? The president. Who’s Mitt Romney? A person who also wants to be president. Boo seemed satisfied.
I parked the car just as the questions subsided, and we entered the polling location. Boo clearly became disappointed. Where are they? Who? Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? (Man, I love kids.) They’re not here. But where are they? I tell him they’re at home–ha! Well then how do we pick them?
Sure enough, I’d totally misled Boo into thinking we’d just waltz right in and point at the guy we wanted like third graders choosing kickball teams. He apparently also operated under the assumption that he had any say in the matter. Disappointed, he became entirely unimpressed with the whole thing (except that he got a sticker–woo hoo!)
Later that evening, hubs and I watched some election coverage on the news. Not one to miss out, Boo watched a little too. We showed him who Obama and Romney were. Happy to finally put names to faces, he thrilled himself by telling us every time one of them appeared on-screen…on the day of the election…during news coverage. It was fun.
The next day, he understood that Obama had won and that was that. Until a couple of weeks ago when, entirely out of nowhere, he spoke up from the back seat of the car: Who’s Mitt Romney now? Hubs and I exchanged glances. And then one of us answered: He’s a guy who lives in New Hampshire. (Yes, we are liberal smartasses.) And that seemed to satisfy him yet again.
But no surprise, Boo doesn’t forget a thing, and while catching a glimpse of NFL coverage, Boo spots an African-American man in a suit: Is that Barack Obama? Once again, hubs and I exchanged glances. Uuuh, no. That’s not him. As if on cue (because it probably was), the camera switched to a White man in a suit: Is that Mitt Romney? Awesome. I decided to save the “all White guys don’t look alike” speech for another day.
All of this brings us to the day after Inauguration Day, of which Boo was entirely unaware mind you. I received a text from Boo’s awesome babysitter (you can’t have her). I have no idea what context this came in, or if it came in any context at all. I’m sure some train of thought brought Boo to tell her this: I tried to vote for Mitt Romney, but it didn’t work out, so now he’s just a guy.
I’m pretty sure this kid has a future in politics.