My children have always accompanied me when I go to vote. They listen to me talk about politics, politicians and issues on a daily basis. I explain very carefully that I do not obsess over these things because I am unhappy. I focus on them because I BELIEVE in democracy. I have faith that we can elect people who do the right things for the right reasons. I care about politics because I care about people.
Progress teaching Tommy about politics? Slim. My obstacles include a relative who tells him how to vote without saying why and Tommy’s Asperger tinted view of the world. Yes, the relative and I are polar opposites politically, but I still don’t want my children to vote based on what they are told. I want them to think for themselves and vote their head and heart. Tommy’s mind processes things like a computer. Everything falls into categories and follows rules. Sarah is hooked on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Tommy doesn’t “get” sarcasm and I don’t want him to confuse entertainment with news, so I can’t use Jon and Stephen as conversation starters. I don’t want to take him to partisan events. I want him to see beyond republican and democrat. He’s also a teenage boy and it takes very little for him to become bored with Mom talking about immigration, socialized medicine and civil rights. So, I talk a teeny bit here and there while searching out videos and movies that show issues from different perspectives. Tommy has always been a History Channel junkie. Unfortunately, on-demand focuses on movies a lot more than on anything on Discovery or the History Channel. If only there was a History Channel lending library. I could seek out a grant to stock an educational library at NAMI’s Peach Cottage, but that wouldn’t happen in time to help Tommy. Tommy will be casting a vote on November 4, 2008. I am the only person trying to prepare him. Who is preparing all the other 17-year-olds?