Thursday, November 01, 2012

When The Election Shoe Drops

My nine-year old daughter is a far more political animal than I ever was at her age. Politics fascinate her. She loves the arguing, the half-truths, the spin, and the hype. I suspect WonderGuy and I are largely to blame for this for several reasons:

1.) We saw her propensity to argue with alarming mastery of debate and rhetoric at a young age and encouraged, rather than discouraged it, reasoning that some day she'll be a lawyer and able to keep us in a manner to which we'd like to become accustomed.

2.) We own the complete Bloom County library, which the 9 y.o. has memorized and can quote ad infinitum, thus necessitating explaining the historical implication of such lines as "Frankly, if Hart can diddle a blonde, I can smoke a schnauzer,"


Binkley: Ooo baby baby! You tear me to pieces! Would you love me any more if my tush was like Ed Meese's? TAKE IT, MILO!  
Milo: Take it WHERE?

"A SCARY anxiety tonight, Binkley boy! We'll be bringing out all the Democratic presidential candidates!" (circa 1984)

...among others -- always to her bemusement.

3.) She loves history -- holding a special affinity for Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. The thought that a population comes together to collectively choose a single person who can have a lasting effect on the direction of that nation mesmerizes her.

I confess: I never saw the elegant grandeur in democracy that she instinctively grasps. So, while I avoid political ads whenever possible, my daughter seeks them out. She analyzes them, tears their logic to shreds, and gleefully points out their inconsistencies.

The Election Shoe
She fondly remembers watching the televised election results coming in live when she was in kindergarten, not to mention seeing President Obama's inauguration. I view election campaigns as chaotic shouting matches full of invective and aural sewage. To her, the entire process is a grand and glorious interactive multi-player game.

Because of this interest, as November 6 approaches she has devised her own countdown to "E-Day."

I present Exhibit A: The Election Shoe.

The Election Shoe is a silver sneaker with a two-foot scavenged stick stuck into it. Taped to the stick is a sign announcing "Election Shoe" with an arrow pointing toward the ground.

Atop the laces, a neatly lettered and colored sign says "Toys." Small trinkets find their way into the shoe each evening, to be removed and exchanged for different trinkets the following day. It's a sort of Advent Calendar for the politically inclined, with each toy having some larger meaning in the whole grand Shoe of influence.

The Election Shoe made its appearance over a week ago and has graced our dining room ever since.  The nine-year old takes it very seriously; the Changing of the Toy has become a weird sort of daily ritual.

The purpose and significance of the Election Shoe escapes me as much as understanding why anyone in his (or especially her) right mind would ever vote for--

No. That's too easy. Let's just say that it eludes me.

But that doesn't keep it from holding significance to my kid.

The other day, I joked that if she kept this interest up -- who knew? -- maybe she would become the first woman President of the United States.

"Oh, Mom," I got, with all the disdain a nine-year old can dish (that's a lot of disdain, by the way). "There'll be one way before I'm old enough to run."

I may not understand her passion for politics. But I admire, and I envy, her optimism.


Artemisia Coyle said...

Funny, during the whole of a Bloom County-obsessed childhood, I never asked my parents to explain all the political references. It just sort of added to the mystery of grown-up humor. (And not having known, back then, makes it so much more fun to re-read now!)

Ami Hendrickson said...

Her questions have made me revisit my understanding of the 80's. "Mommy, who is Caspar Weinberger? And Ollie North?" Questions they never taught me to answer in Parenting 101. O.o