The Certainty of Youth

My sons have never:

  • Voted
  • Voted for a winning candidate and regretted it later
  • Voted for a losing candidate on principle
  • Voted for the lesser of evils
  • Aligned with a political party
  • Voted for the loser and the winner turned out to be outstanding

That’s why I miss half of what is said in this winter’s increasingly heated political debates – my kids won’t shut up. They opine through every minute of every debate.

At twelve and thirteen, they are the color commentary. Opinionated. Sarcastic. Utterly confident that they know best. Eager to comment on anything – the candidates’ ties, their hair, their intellect.

“He doesn’t know anything about the Klu Klux Klan?!”

They borrow catch-phrases from adults, other twelve year olds, ad campaigns on the side of a bus as if they were time-tested facts.

Sometimes I shush them, “I want to hear this.”

But most of the time, I like listening to them.

“He’s a crook.”

“She’s a liar.”

“He’s a socialist, and socialism never worked anywhere, any time.”

“I mean, mom, he’s going a build a wall?! He might as well take down the Statue of Liberty while he’s at it.”

Unable to hear what the candidates are saying above the din of my boys’ joyful, humorous political certainty, I remember a day when I was sure I had all the answers… and voting was easy.

 

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Voting by Candidate Quiz

My father sent me a quiz that was supposed to assess, by my answers, which candidate I should vote for in the race for president. I had taken a different one the day before.

I am a center of the road kind of gal, but also a born Democrat who doesn’t like change. I tend to go with the Democrat running when I do not know much about the candidates in any given race. I hate to admit voting with no other knowledge, but it happens.

I like Barack Obama….sort of. He has benefited from at least one great speechwriter, and I admire great speechwriters almost as much as great leaders. But his views on taxes and healthcare are in direct contrast to the current needs of my family. So I am not sure I can vote for him. I have to vote for my kids and let other people make decisions regarding how best to vote for theirs. In my twenties, I wanted to save the world. I thought that by voting Democrat, every child would benefit from the best opportunities. Now, in my forties, my priority is to make sure my three do. Since saving the world is a huge job, and I have not been able to figure out the most effective plan for that (neither Democrats nor Republicans have found success in this regard despite both parties trying their best), I will focus on what I do know – what’s best for my family.

The first quiz I took stated that my vote should go to Newt Gingrich. Now, there is no way, under any circumstances, that that man will get my vote. I don’t like him. I refuse to vote for a human being I believe is not worthy, no matter how smart or experienced he happens to be. Moral fortitude, kindness and at least a dose of humility still count for something. Or they should.

The second quiz stated that I should vote for Huntsman. He seems like a reasonable guy who will not win. Can’t waste a vote, right? Newt was still in the running, as was Barack.

Now, what does it say about my answers that those three were all about even?! Especially when I was considering voting for a fourth?!

I am not a party-liner. My more conservative views on some things do not mesh with my liberal views on others.

So, I will keep gathering information about the candidates. In the morning, I will see what happens in Iowa and in the coming months with the Republican slate. But I know what will happen with my vote. In the end, I will vote with my gut because no one is perfect. No one agrees with me on everything!

Quizzes be damned!