My students- my KINDERGARTEN students- got into a heated discussion yesterday about who will win today's election. It was amusing to observe. I can tell who has been discussing politics at home and who is very clear about their choice! After the noise died down a bit one of my boys turned to me and said "I know two of the presidents- Obama and Washington." From the mouths of babes.
Teaching children about the political process is one of the hundreds of little things we squeeze in with reading, writing, and arithmetic these days. For me, the biggest lesson of the election is that tomorrow, when it is all over, we must set aside our differences and go forward with the choice of the majority. We must be respectful of the office, no matter who sits in the chair. That is a tough one to teach to children. They are competitive by nature and very clear about winners and losers. They don't want to play if they have to be the loser! But we all have to play tomorrow. We have to go on with our lives. We have to suffer the consequences of this choice we are making today. We have to join together and ask ourselves, "Now what?" Some of the answers will not be easy, no matter who wins.
It makes me sad to think that there are so many people in the country who think one man can solve our problems. They forget in the adrenaline rush of promises and slogans that the president doesn't work alone. He doesn't sit on his throne and dictate policy. A good thing...but the way it really works isn't always good either. The man with the most money and influence may win the election, but he has to spend the next four years fighting with a huge group of men who have their own money and influence, and their own agendas. We've all heard campaign promises that fall by the wayside after the first conflict. We've all seen good ideas trampled beneath the feet of lobbyists.
It all sounds good now, but I'm waiting until tomorrow when the winner starts functioning in the real world.
Is it over yet?