I was sitting at my laptop wasting time on Facebook when I noticed that a friend had posted a photo of toilet paper with the Republican presidential candidate’s face on each piece. Suddenly there my 7-year-old was behind me, giggling.
“They have Mitt Romney toilet paper!”
I was less shocked about the toilet paper (really, have you seen what’s for sale on the Internet these days?) than I was to hear the words “Mitt Romney” out of her mouth.
“How do you know who that is?” I asked.
I confess my first fear was that some teacher had gone off half-cocked on a rant at school about the presidential candidates where my impressionable child could have heard. My apologies to said teacher (although, to be fair, I had no particular educator in mind when this vision formed itself). I was wrong.
She knows who he is, she was more than happy to inform me, because she sees him every morning in our living room, right on the TV that her father and I turn on. Oh, right. We watch the news while she gets ready for school. Mitt Romney and President Obama are on the news. All. The. Time.
I give her points for noticing. And for showing up her mother.
I was going to get around to the election at some point. Really. I just hadn’t exactly figured out how to bring it up.
For as long as she can remember, which really isn’t very long, we have had one president.
She’s 7. She doesn’t understand words like “binders full of women” or “birth control.”
So what’s a mother to say? The person who is elected next week could change the course of your entire life. He stands to appoint two Supreme Court justices over his term. He will decide whether to push us toward war or continue to draw down troops overseas. He could ensure you’ll be eligible for health insurance while you’re in college, or not. He could, he could, he could.
The words are fairly simple. I can tell her what I’ve told her every other time we’ve gone into a voting booth together: that we are lucky to live in a country where we, the people, get to have a say in who runs our government, and that it is our duty as good citizens to exercise our right to vote.
The problem is that I’m worried. I’m worried about people who won’t bother to exercise that right, and worried even more about people who will do so without bothering to learn a thing about the candidates.
I’m worried that my 7-year-old already knows more about the candidates than many American voters, way too many to count.
At least she watches the news.
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Image via Gadgets and Gizmos