Here in PA we’ve been under a barrage of political ads for some time now. The kids hear or see them quite regularly. When my now 10 year old was 4, he wanted to know why a certain candidate was so angry. He was seeing ads by the candidate’s opponent with less than flattering photos. He proclaimed that he would vote for the one candidate because he smiled more than another.
I suspect we adults choose using similar decision-making skills. Voting may be less intellectual than we would like to admit.
Now we come down to the wire and here are snippets of conversations with my kids
8 year old: Dad, who are you going to vote for? I hope it is Obama?
8 year old: Well, he’s black.
Me: Why do you want a black president?
8 year old: White people are always being president and leaders and its about time a black person gets to be president.
Me: Yeah, I agree with you, its about time.
8 year old: Why do they have to be so mean to each other?
Conversation with my 10 year old this am:
Me: So, who would you like to vote for
10 year old: Obama
10 year old: [after saying I don’t know]. I guess because he seems to have more ideas.
Me: Does his being black have anything to do with it?
10 year old: Yeah, about 50% of my reason.
FYI, my kids are black. It is clear that without any real influence one way or the other by their parents, they both really identify with Obama based on color. And I’m pretty sure that my youngest will be very crushed if Obama isn’t elected. He takes these things very personally when things don’t go the way he hopes.
3 responses to “Kids and political ads”
I’m old enough to remember when Jimmy Carter got elected. My Junior High School Vice Principle, said he was voting for Jimmy because “he’s from the South.” I lived in North Carolina. I agree; most adults tend to vote for the same reasons that children use: identification.
FYI, two of my four children are black also 🙂
I do have to agree–I can’t pretend I’m not THRILLED that Sarah Palin is a woman. 🙂
(oops–could you please delete the previous comment? My computer still had my daughter logged in to her blog, but I am the one who wrote this comment. Thanks.)
🙂 Too funny. I have four children, ages 5, 7, 11 and 13, and the political discussions, and the logic behind why they “are” voting for so and so, can get quite humorous. A common line has become, “And THAT is why 2nd graders can’t vote!”
On a more serious note, though, it has been quite sad to hear kids get extremely angry and vicious when another child says they are “for” McCain, and the automatic response is “You are SO racist.” A kid in my son’s class told the teacher that today. Another friend’s daughter was harrassed because she said she liked McCain (she said, I don’t like McCain because he’s white. I like him because of what he stands for). And another girl at a middle school in the area was repeatedly accused of being racist because she wore a McCain/Palin shirt. Yikes. It will be monumental whether we have the first African-American president or the first woman vice-president. But, sometimes I wonder if it cheapens the impact of who the person is as a person and a candidate, because they are primarily seen as race or gender, and not as Person.
I don’t know what the answer is, because I know it can be exciting to have someone “like me”, whatever the similarity (as the other commenter mentioned about Jimmy Carter from the south). But it still makes me sad a bit.