Our older son has been chanting, “Yes, we can!” for six or so months — ever since he watched the first “Yes We Can” video produced by Will.I.Am. The video resonated with my husband and I so much that we considered watching it every day until the November 4 election.
We stopped after about two weeks, but clearly seeing his father and I cry each time we saw Obama speak in this video had an impact on our son. He’s only four years old but he is very curious and immediately started asking about Obama. Why did we like him? Why should he be president? And then, who is John McCain?
The last one stumped us. We have strong opinions about John McCain and we definitely don’t want to see him elected. While it may not be right to infuse one’s political beliefs on one’s children, I think it’s impossible for them not to pick up on what we’re saying when we say, “Well…we think he wouldn’t make good choices.”
“What kind of choices?”
“Choices about war.”
“What choices about war?”
And, so the conversation goes. We provide only the information he asks for, and try to keep it relevant to what a four year old needs to know.
I figured that our son was having these conversations only with us or with his grandparents. But, apparently he’s conversing about Obama elsewhere. On the way home from his pre-Kindergarten class yesterday, he informed me from the back seat, “Timmy is going to vote for John McCain when he grows up.”
“Oh really? Did Timmy tell you that?”I tried to buy myself some time. My son reported that, yes, in fact Timmy had told him John McCain would have his vote. I tried to imagine how this conversation would come up at the snack table or in their active play time.
“Who did you tell him you’re voting for?” I hoped this wasn’t a leading question. At the same time, I hoped he’d provide the answer I wanted to hear.
“Obama.” Even at the age of four I could hear the, “No duh!” tone in his voice and I was comforted by it.
Our conversation ended there — he became distracted by the need to go potty and I focused on getting us to our house before we had an accident.
I realize that Timmy’s family is likely supporting John McCain. And it must be clear to Timmy’s family if they look at the front, or back, of our van that we are supporting Obama. I felt proud of my son for simply stating the facts of his friend’s different political choices. He didn’t say Timmy was crazy or question his choices. His choice was just his choice.
At the same time I felt embarrassed by my own reaction — I wondered why and how this family would support McCain. Had they watched the debates? Did they really want another eight years of this administration? Didn’t they know that it was time for change? Would they support Timmy fighting in McCain’s 100 year war?
Today my son went to get the mail with me. We found our absentee ballots in the box.
“Is there one for me?” he wanted to know.
I explained that one must be 18 years old to vote. I told him that this year he could vote in his heart for Obama. He seemed okay with that idea and said, “I’ll vote for him when I’m 18 years old, too.”
Yes, I told him. If not Obama, then someone like him.