I wasn’t going to say anything about the election. Many of us here voted our separate ways for our separate ideals and convictions. Some of us are conservative, others liberal and we’re all family here and respect each others rights and beliefs to choose. However, the gratefulness I feel in that is exactly why I wanted to write this.
A few days before the election my son told me that they did a practice voting session in school. I’m sure many of your kids did the same. This is a great way to teach our children about the freedom of voting, about how to pick and choose candidates wisely and so on… or it should be. Unfortunately what my son learned at school was that if he didn’t vote for President Obama he was a racist. This was what was being told to all kids that were not Black/African American in the high-school by a groups of kids. Most of the kids, and even in my sons own group voted in their school poll as Libertarian to stay out of the Red / Blue politics of the other kids. I didn’t feel that was very fair to force them into not being able to look at both candidates respectfully, but today I was almost relieved that he had done so.
Today an argument in school between the Democratic kids and the Republican kids turned into a brawl, with all the other kids standing on the outskirts. My son brought this news to me this afternoon and I was appalled, although not too terribly surprised as I had seen many of my Republican friends in utter distress about the end of the world and my Democratic friends putting up things that eluded to anyone voted Republican was a racist. Adults were doing this.
When our kids cannot even study in school without the fear of party politics, what hope do we have of ever coming together? Children and Teens learn from our behavior, they hear things when we least expect them to and most of them have already seen twice as many hateful political ads on television than we’d ever like them to see. If we are at home saying that the people who voted Republican or the Red States are racist, they will go to school and think every kid that ‘voted’ Republican is a racist. If we at home are saying that the Democrats and the Blue States are socialists that want a welfare state, kids will go to school thinking all Democrats are socialists (even if they don’t know what that word means). And they will fight, as many of us have been fighting, without ever really knowing why they are fighting their peers – their friends – their school-mates and teachers.
We are all parents. We all want the best for our kids and we all have different ideas and principals in how those things should be handled. We all live different lives, my family/friends and I and you – all of you, but we’re all here in this together for good or ill. Our children are creating their own futures and one day they will have to go out into that world and live them. They should be allowed to go out there with their own convictions, to be allowed the freedom of listening to their heart and following what their inner reason tells them is right – whether or not it is the same as you or I.
Be grateful for the right to vote freely in this country, be honored that you have the choice to do so and please teach your children that it is okay to be whatever they want to be. That it is okay to be conservative, liberal or leaning; Republican, Democrat or Libertarian. It is their right as citizens of the United States of America.
If we want change we have to start accepting everyone’s differences, not creating new ones or bringing back old ones, but accepting the differences we all have.
I hope for all of our children we can. I hope for our country that we will.