These days it’s almost compulsory to keep your political views on the down-low at work in order to maintain harmony with co-workers. We stick to weather and requisite questions like “how’s the family?” to avoid revealing just how misinformed our co-workers may be about politics. Of course that’s thrown out the window when it comes to sharing our inner-most thoughts safely behind a social media keyboard.
I’m curious the number of Facebook friends that have become “unfriends” this political season. According to CNN’s Howard Kurtz, also a writer for The Daily Beast, a high percentage of unfriending is because of those “surprised to learn that the political leanings of others were different than they imagined.” That's putting it mildly. Personally, I only hide posts from certain individuals who take advantage of my social media page, using it as a platform for repetitive whining and outbursts, and it's not usually political.
When it comes to both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I prefer Miriam-Webster’s definition of social - a pleasant companionship with friends or associates. I know my friends come from both sides of the political aisle and I respect their opinions without prejudice, mostly. It’s when they don’t respect other’s that bothers me, especially if children are repeating the same hostilities.
My son came home last week saying, “Obama is an idiot,” which shocked me because we’ve never referred to the President that way, at home or otherwise. In our house, we have respect for the office that the President holds and try to teach our children to do the same. A few days later, my son’s friend asked me who I was voting for - right before saying “I hope it’s not Romney, he’s an idiot.”
Hmmmm....really? Do explain your position, strictly as a Jr. High student, of course.
When it comes to government, we want to ensure our kids understand what’s at stake with each candidate. I think it’s essential to keep an even keel when discussing politics with kids overall, mostly because an opinion about how asinine the concept may be doesn’t help with a child’s clarity. And let’s face it, sometimes you need to be a political scientist to understand the intricacies of politics anyway. I chose an English major…
This past weekend saw our first presidential rally and it was for Mitt Romney, who was accompanied by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. My kids were fascinated with the bombardment of vendors offering Romney/Ryan buttons, t-shirts, and posters, not to mention hearing the shouts by his supporters. Their excitement immediately died when they realized they had to stand because the seats were all taken. Oh well, we tried.
And to be fair, I got tickets for today's rally at UCF for President Obama, who was accompanied by Former President Bill Clinton. The only drawback was the rally website only allowed me to obtain one ticket, but the kids had school anyway. As it turns out his visit was rumored to be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I ended up not going thinking it was a wash, not realizing Clinton still planned on speaking. Again, I tried.
All this to say, for a child to make such claims that either candidate is an idiot probably isn’t because they truly believe it. It’s most likely that they are repeating what they’ve heard an adult say. Which I have to say, is a shame. How does this help future generations of voters make a rational decision on their country’s leaders? Well, it doesn’t really.
All great change begins at the dinner table. - Ronald Reagan
My photo adventures in Florida