I am not a very political person.
I believe in what I believe in, I love America, and usually I just cross my fingers and hope for the best.
In most years, my exposure to politics via the media is quite low –I rarely watch network TV and unless you count laughing through the beginning part of the Daily Show “exposure to politics” I really don’t get much.
This year is different.
Thanks to at least one inflammatory candidate and a host of other moments of sheer debauchery, I have to say that we are inundated with political viewpoints on a daily basis.
It’s in my Facebook feed (although listen, if you’re someone who is all ranty about it, know that I have hidden you. And, if at any point you’ve posted something ridiculous and totally off topic, like “stop resisting”, I’ve probably unfriended you entirely, because ain’t nobody got time for that), it’s on my TV screen, I can’t even go to the pool without getting stuck sitting behind the moms who want to talk about who will be the next president for 45 minutes and I can’t even move because it’s the only open umbrella and it’s too hot to fry.
But truly, the impact it has on me is minimal –I know who I’m not voting for and, in a year like this, that is really all you need to know.
Sadly, I’m not the one I’m worried about.
The Dudes have been touched by it too.
In a way it’s awesome –living through such a volatile and engaging presidential campaign year is likely to be impactful for years to come (honestly, Dude 1 will actually be able to vote in the next one!) and there are so many teachable moments here as a parent.
Unfortunately, there is a large amount of damage control to be done as well.
When my kids question everything from why the potential president of the United States doesn’t like them or people like them to what is going on with his hair, I have a lot of opportunities to express my creativity. And I say that not because I don’t keep it real, just because sometimes what I actually think is not even appropriate for 8 year old ears and I pride myself on being intelligent enough to do a better job with tact and eloquence than the individuals who may one day be leading our nation.
But, I digress.
And my kids are not the only ones learning.
My parenting has been taken to task many times as I listen to my children respond to the things they have witnessed in this political campaign. Do they laugh when someone is being bullied? Do they agree when something sexist is said? Do they question the character of the individuals making such blatantly hateful and uneducated statements?
No, no, and thankfully yes.
In fact, I have come to the realization that my children may in fact be even more open minded, less judgmental, and bigger feminists than I am.
Which, if I’m counting (I AM TOTALLY COUNTING), is like three straight mom wins for me!
As someone who came up with relatively conservative parents who lean republican (yes, black republicans are a thing and no, they aren’t all as asinine as Ben Carson) I have had to call into question many things about the beliefs I was given as a youth. Sure, I think I’ve done a good job of incorporating what my parents taught me with what being a product of the 90s and 2000s has taught me, but there is always room for improvement.
I firmly believe that my Dudes are just that: my improvement.
Regardless of how the whole thing pans out in the end, it has been quite meaningful for them to be present for the running of the first woman.
I love that it gives me the opportunity to reinforce the values I want them to have as they go out into the world –that all people are created equal, that despite what you’ve heard recently, America is a land of opportunity, and that women have as much value to bring to the workplace as any man out there.
Dude 3 is, as per usual, quite vocal on his opinions about the process. He has strong feelings towards both of the prominent candidates, he has strong opinions about many of the statements that have been made, and he has a lot of things he wants people to know. Including the future president.
5 Things My Son Wants the Person Who Will Be The Next President to Know
He is not a bad person. And neither were his grandparents.
Dude 3: So will Daddy have to move to Mexico if Donald Trump becomes president? And will we have to go with him?
Me: Daddy is a Mexican American, just like you are, so no.
Dude 3: So he just hates some of the Mexicans?
Me: Apparently, although I’m sure it doesn’t sound that way when you hear it.
Dude 3: It just sounds crazy when you hear it.
Women can do anything a man can do.
Dude 3: It’s about time we had a lady president. People need to see girls can do stuff.
Muslim People Aren’t Bad
Dude 3: So are all the Muslim people terrorists?
Dude 3: Are all the terrorists Muslim?
Me: No? What is this?
Dude 3: I just don’t get what the problem is then.
Dude 3: Was Barack Obama the first black president?
Dude 3: Well, I’m going to be the next one. And the first Mexican one too!
Lying is Bad
Dude 3: Hilary has made 7 big mistakes.
Me: Really? What are they?
Dude 3: I don’t know. I just hear people say that on TV. I’m pretty sure the big one has to do with lying. Lying gets you every time.