The election is over. The insults, slanders, magic underpants, socialist bogeymen, and enemy of all that is holy accusations have to stop. I’m as guilty as anyone of these charges and it came to a head for me last night during election coverage.
Me: You want to stay up and watch election coverage?
Julia: Mitt Romney is going to take away PBS Kids! We have to stop him! Go Obama!
I don’t know who “We” is but I was suddenly afraid that Julia was “The Girl Who Owned a City” and she’d lead an army of children through the streets for SuperWhy if Romney pulled the upset. But after I realized that my 8 year old was not a Clifford the Big Red Dog mercenary, I was upset with myself at how she has been introduced into politics.
I, like any reasonably informed voter, do not apologize for my positions or beliefs. I do apologize for being the example to my daughter that getting the last word or making the best comeback is the how to make the best argument. Apparently the Big Bird comment was still trending at her school yesterday when Obama won the school wide mock election by a landslide. The youth crowd and especially the girls will caucus and definitively vote in their self-interests.
And I am proud that she and her friends voted in something they believed in, regardless of Mr. Romney’s official position on foreclosing Sesame Street. It’s what she said after her passionate pitch to stop the repeal of Curious George.
Julia: Mitt Romney is an idiot.
Me: No, he isn’t an idiot. He’s a good person who loves his family and we just don’t agree with some of the things he believes and that’s OK.
I’m the idiot. She doesn’t understand the rules of political debate and can’t separate the beliefs from the person because I, like a lot of people, have not done a good job at it over the course of the election. (No worries, she understands now based on her self-interest and preservation of dessert.) I can’t remember a more polarized election, but I hope that we can move forward as a country to promote the greatest good and the greatest number of freedoms for the greatest number of people in a civilized manner.
I will be doing my part by defending Jay Cutler from ridiculous facial expression accusations, railing against the downfall of modern civilization or reality TV, and spreading the word concerning the immorality of mixing peanut butter and jelly in the same jar.
Because some arguments need the last word or the best comeback; these arguments can never be won, they can only hope to be contained.