Tuesday, November 4, 2008

America's Tomorrow

Today was an historical day. All of my children can read and are tall enough to see over the voter box at the polls. And we have been discussing politics like you would not believe.

They are smart and they ask intelligent questions. It kind of leaves me wondering about the criteria put forth in order to vote. There are many people who I am sure cast their ballot today without even knowing so much as the candidates' first names.

The kids and I even held a sign for a friend of ours running for re-election. We stood out with throngs of other sign holders from various campaigns and waved and smiled like we were Miss America. After about ten minutes, the magic wore off for the kids and they were rolling down the hill in front of the school where the voting booths were.

As we were on our way to vote, a friend of ours crossed our path and asked Keith who he hoped would win.

Keith, without blinking, replied, "McCain."

Our friend probed further, "Why do you think McCain should win?"

Keith, again with passion and conviction, said, "Because Obama is for abortion and McCain is against it. And I don't think you should kill babies."

Our friend was impressed that an eleven year old would be so well-spoken, regardless of any personal agreement or disagreement with Keith's position. I was proud, but not surprised.

We have discussed "wealth distribution," abortion, taxes, education, health care, and many other topics that are usually reserved for of-age voters.

I give them as unbiased of a definition as I can, tell them the two opposing opinions, and let them know where I stand, and why. But I always follow up with, "Someday you will need to make your own decision about this."

Once the election results became very clear that Obama would win the election, the kids all climbed into bed with me (hubby is out of town) and worried aloud about what that would mean. I explained to them that there is a huge series of checks and balances that everything goes through in Washington before it's carved in stone. And I assured them that I had confidence in our government, as a whole, regardless of party affiliation, platform or anything else.

It is interesting to me that for a while now there has been such an even division between the parties. In all the polls and talking head interviews, the country is fairly evenly split, with the majority winning out by only a small edge.

The United States was founded on religious freedom and the opportunity to pursue personal dreams. We have always been an entrepreneurial society, back to the first settlers who claimed land and made their own way.

How we ended up in this political tug-of-war still stymies me. And each side is incredibly passionate and dedicated to their beliefs.

My hope and prayer is that when the "blue" and "red" come together, that we can become strong and beautiful, like our symbolic flag. We have red and blue with white space, giving each other the freedom to be who we are, without encroaching on one another's beliefs.

My fear is that the "red" and the "blue" will have people who feel they need to be "blended." However, when you blend red and blue, you get purple. In other countries, societies and kingdoms, purple is the color of royalty. But in America, we are all considered to be equal. So purple is more likely to be the color of a bruise from being forced into living under someone else's rule, without consideration or tolerance for differing views.

Keith, Emma and Amy will be far more affected by these next four years than I will. They will be the ones ultimately gleaning the rewards and/or bearing the burdens of this new administration. I pray that they will have a life filled with hope and joy. And, I pray our leaders will treat our children kindly and gently, so that their futures will remain bright.

I suspect we will have many future discussions in our home about politics and the goings on of the world. Keith will continue to ask provocative questions. Emma will continue to look for the good in everyone and everything. And Amy will continue to challenge our beliefs, thereby helping us all sharpen our view point and gain certainty of our personal platforms.

May God watch over us, guide us, lead us, and continue to reign supreme. Amen.

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