Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Times They Are A'Changin' (Or Maybe They'll Stay the Same)

True Story:

A while ago, when Ontario was going through its provincial election campaign (not to be confused with the federal campaign that culminates in voting day today), I decided to exploit campaign lawn signage as a platform for preliminary discussions about politics with my then 7-year old daughter, M.

That's a fancy way of saying that every morning, while we walked to school, I would choose one party and speak about its overriding philosophy. Then, after that info cycle was over, I revisited each party and talked about one policy from each that I liked, and one I didn't. I figured it was a non-partisan way to start informing her about our complex political system. To make things "kid-friendly", I renamed the parties by the colour of their signs. Liberals were "the red party", Conservatives "the blue party", NDP "the orange party" and Green was self explanatory.

One day, when talking about the policies (I called them "big ideas") for the Liberals, I spoke specifically about its position on faith-based funding (namely, the party did not support educational funding for faith-based schools). She paused, on the cusp of asking a question (I thought), and I wondered if I'd got a bit too complex. Apparently, I needn't have worried, since her well-considered response was: "That's not quite true, Mummy, is it? I mean they wouldn't stop providing additional funding for Catholic schools. And that's faith-based funding, right?"

After my jaw snapped shut again, I asked her how it was that she, of the grade 2 set, was aware of that little loop-hole in the the philosophy. Just out of curiosity, I mean...

It's not like I don't watch the news, Mummy, was the exasperated reply.

Here's my point. Don't be outdone by an underage ideologue. If you've got the right to vote, then exercise it. The global community will thank you for doing your part to protect the freedoms of democracy in your part of the world. And it'll give you something to talk about at your next dinner party. Capisce?


  1. I think she is a well informed 8 year old. Yikes! Did that totally scare you?

  2. What an amazing mummy you are to be talking politics with your 7-year old.

    Do you know if they discuss politics in her school? I have heard that in French middle schools the curriculum includes lectures on each candidate and the philosophical differences between the parties.
    That certainly does not happen in the states. I know many adults in the USA who do not understand the platform difference between parties. I also know people, that do to their lack of knowledge,who vote against their own interests.

    K.line, you sound like you have a brilliant little girl. Not a surprise after *meeting* her mother!;-)

  3. Damn straight. And holy hell, you've got a budding genius on your hands, K.

  4. Wow, both your dedication and the response it awoke in her are to be admired. Looking back I really appreciate all the discussions my parents forced on me when I was younger...

  5. I almost didn't vote today. And I'm not proud of saying that.

    I didn't have a proof of address, but my mom went with me after work and vouched for me.

    I don't understand why my photo ID isn't sufficient. They sent the voter card to the right address, I pay my taxes every year from that address, and they still need proof.

  6. We have en election coming up too this year so i totally agree with what you are saying!!

  7. I think you're doing a great job as a mother in calling attention to politics to your kid.
    And you've reasons to be proud of her.
    Most people aren't awear of political issues. It's a pity...
    Our society is based in values that many people and actually some women had to fight for them. Now people take them as granted. I think in the limit they wouldn't be shock with some things that could destroy some values as democracy, simply because they don't know.
    Vote is a right, but it's also a duty, to prevent at least that politicians don't think they're not "under vigilance".

    Thanks for this post.


  8. What I find so interesting is that in our media, there has been little mention of what's going on with Canada's government right now.

    We're all too busy focusing on ourselves.


  9. Hey enc, we're busy focused on the States as well. Most people I talk to are more interested in what's going on in the US then the Canadian election...but at least they still voted!

  10. I will be very interested to hear what my son comes out with when he's old enough to start talking politics. The amount of arguing and heated discussion and passionate ranting that goes on in our house about all kinds of issues!

    Little pitchers have big ears...

  11. I'm surprised by M. I got to vote for the first time this year for the state election. That was quite an achievement for me.

    That's true eduction you're giving to M. I think. I missed out on that so I'm learning right now. Only wish I could vote for the American presidential election.

  12. And The Seeker does it again.

    Now my comment about how my friends 6 year old boy told her to vote for the lady on the posters outside his school sounds silly.
    The lady on the poster was attempting to dismantle intensive education for his autistic brother; but he had been indoctrinated by the profusion of posters outside his school.
    Oh, and in Ireland we have photographs on the voting forms (not because no one can read, but because everyone has the same names, O'Brien, Ryan, Ahern)

    Dress M in Purple to remind her of the suffragettes! and The Seeker.

  13. Hi, Wakatimushita! K-Line, I loved this post!!! You obviously have a brilliant child, you, yourself are a brilliant mummy for having an open discussion with your daughter and not relying on the big "D" (Disney"! )

    On the up part.. I am so, so RED, a liberal Rebel I tell ya.

  14. mmmm isnt that a bob dylan song title? :-)

  15. I'm always up in peoples business about voting - I hate those people that whinge about EVERYTHING and then you ask 'did you vote?' and they reply 'nah!', to which I scream 'shut your effing head!!!'

    The wee ones rather clever, of course if your ever want to sell her off Imelda buys on age not smarts!

  16. She's a smart cookie and I bet she got it from you.

  17. Marth: She's insanely well-informed. It concerns me sometimes, as you know :-)

    Belette: Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. They are a bit political at M's school - but more about environmentalism than anything else. M told me she would have voted for the Green party, unsurprisingly.

    Sal: Sometimes I think "evil genius" but then I take it back :-)

    Clothes Horse: And yet you say "forced" :-) Isn't that the way of parents? Are you an only child by any chance?

    Raven: Good for you!

    Paper Doll: NZ has a fascinating electoral process. I've read a bit about it.

    Seeker: It's too easy to take our rights for granted. That's why I'm a dyed in the wool feminist!

    E: It's interesting how under the radar this election has been, even in Canada. Regrettably, we had the worst voter turnout EVER.

    Y: Gotta vote to have a voice, yes?

    Skye: I bet the dude is going to be a trip! I have a feeling...

    Songy: Intriguingly, I can vote in the US election. So I'll do it on behalf of us both.

    Hammie: It's hilarious that everyone's got the same last name. Intriguing challenge. And I did dress her in purple, as luck would have it!

    GJ: Thank you so much! I love that you call Disney the big D. That is one scary conglomerate...

    Cordelia: It sure is... And I'm going to your new site / add your blog link soon, I promise.

    Matt: Do we get more for her if she's younger or older :-) (Hands get big fast!)

    Dr. M: My husband disputes that but then he's not as smart as me :-)