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Is Partisan Politics Bad For The Children?

Illustration for article titled Is Partisan Politics Bad For The Children?

Just as Whitney Houston told us decades ago, the children are our future, and according to Slate, Babble, and Salon some of the lil' nippers are already involved in politics. Slate and Salontackle the same basic question: how can you get kids involved in politics productively? Slate's Emily Bazeelon worries that the anti-McCain tirades floating around her liberal neighborhood were affecting the local kids adversely. "I fear the election is teaching them not only about the joy of supporting an appealing candidate but also about the more vicious pleasures of despising the other side—with a zeal that's usually off-limits to them," Bazelon writes.She then tells the following anecdote about her friend's toddler: "At first, he drew a stick figure with its arms raised. 'That's Obama,' he said to nobody. Then the stick figure reappeared, lying prone. 'Dead McCain,' he muttered." Rut Roh! Salon's Sarah Hepola is also worried about parents' political persuasions corrupting the youngins. Hepola watched this video from Babble full of assorted wee ones saying "Bawwwaack Obama" and found it sort of disturbing. "I know everyone else thinks it's cuter than puppies and rainbows, but there's something disturbing to me about children who have no agency parroting a political platform," Hepola wrote, "Like, what if my parents were Hitler fans and there was videotape of me as an adorable toddler, cake on my face, talking about loving Hitler?" The other ladies of Salon's Broadsheet blog talk Hepola down from the ledge. Kate Harding implies that Hitler talk is a leeetle histrionic. "Despite my parents' best efforts at indoctrination, as soon as I developed a concept of the world beyond our suburban home, I became the flaming liberal you know and love. The Reagan propaganda really, really didn't take," she writes. Moms over at NPR take the middle road and say that even if your kid is drawing two dimensional McCain death wishes, you can make it into a "teachable moment" about civics and tolerance. The question remains: how much do your parents politics influence you, whether consciously or unconsciously?

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Embarrassing Obama Kids [Slate] Babies For Barack Obama [Babble] Babies For Bwackobama [Salon] Moms Discuss Parenting Kids With An Appetite For Politics [NPR]

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DISCUSSION

Little Green Frog

I had the best family dinner last night, with our kids asking questions and learning.

I told them about the disfranchising tactics that have been in the news and my son said "but that's cheating, Mommy!". I told him, yes, that is how some people roll. I was happy to see that he knows how many electoral votes are needed to win (he's only 10!). He also asked me if it was true that if Obama wins he would have to go to school 7 days a week (he heard that at day care), which gave me an opportunity to teach them about the different between federal and state governments.

Our kids know who we are voting for, but we told them our reasons, so that they understand that it's not just shouting or not being civil, or just following a person just because. I have taken them with me to the voting booth, but I am not sure about a political rally.

I don't think my parents influenced me. They were not overly political or vocal about it. In fact, I was the one who made them register to vote :-)

As a news junkie, I'm loving this election season. I'm going to have serious withdrawals.