I feel like the nation has reached a fever pitch of excitement with election day upon us. To tell you how bad it is, my tween asked me a few days ago to turn the television off. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked why and she explained, "I'm tired of hearing that our family is under attack. I'm tired of campaign ads."
Aren't we all, kiddo. Aren't. We. All.
I have tried to point out that not every one is yelling at each other like some are on television, and that there is a civil discourse if you look. I'm grateful that our neighborhood has a fair amount of signs up, and they pretty equally represent both parties. I've tried to use this as an opportunity to show that people can politely disagree. That it's okay to take a stand even if your neighbor feels another way.
My husband and I belong to different parties, which shocks a lot of people. It's been a great opportunity to model polite discussion, that you can agree to disagree and that you should respect beliefs even if you do not agree with them. Having our tween probably elevated our behavior a bit, meaning no one would yell "In your face!" when a good point was made during a debate.
I've asked my tween a lot of questions about democracy, and some discussions have been better than others, but here are some topics to raise with your tween as you watch the returns come in tonight:
- What's your opinion of the Electoral College? (I was surprised that this one led to one of the best talks. This kid is annoyed by the Electoral College, and thinks it disenfranchises some voters. She's really ticked that a candidate can win the popular vote and lose the election. We talked about what the mean about urban areas versus rural areas, how campaigning would be different, etc. She was not swayed. She also think the Electoral College sounds like something she'll be applying to in 8 years, not what picks a president.)
- Do you think 18 is a good age for voting? Do you think you should be able to vote?
- If you were not permitted to vote, as people were not due to race and gender, what would you do to get that right?
- What would you change if you were elected? What position would you most want to have?
- Should Election Day be a national holiday? or should it be on a weekend? (I was surprised she didn't jump at the chance for a day off, but no, she didn't think it should be a holiday.)
- What local races do you think are most important?