My husband and I have taken our sons to vote every year since they were born. It's important to both of us that our boys know and understand that voting isn't just a privilege, but a responsibility of citizenship. We want them to pay attention to politics and what is happening in their country and seeing us vote was a good way to start out.
Of course, Hollis and Holden are incredibly lucky little boys. There have been no shortage of politicians in their short lives. Hollis still talks about seeing Barack Obama and the time he met Vice President Biden. With our close proximity to DC, they've visited the White House several times and love to visit the "Capitol City," singing "I'm Just a Bill" from School House Rock all the way. With the parents they have, it will also be difficult for them to miss the political screaming matches vigorous political disucssions that take place in our home.
But I think we took it to the next level today.
A good friend and I took our 6 year olds to a local watering hole for dinner with the intention of watching the election returns. They very nicely turned one of the 50 or so TV's to MSNBC for us and we settled in to watch. Unfortunately, we were getting frustrated with the lack of local coverage of Virginia's 2nd Congressional District race. We both campaigned for Congressman Glenn Nye and I even appeared in a commercial for him. We asked the eatery to change another tv to a local station and they said no. "No more politics." (Buffalo Wild Wings in Chesapeake, Virginia, I'm talking to you!)
I was pretty floored that a restaurant full of TV's would refuse to have more than one on election coverage on election night. But maybe that explains so much of what is wrong with our country these days. Too many people are more interested in catching the ocassional sound bites that actually delving into the issues and analysis for themselves. I guess it's OK to rant about the state of our country, but why bother actually watching to see what happens after the rants?
Anyway, we decided to head out to the Glenn Nye campaign party in Virginia Beach. We figured we were bound to hear more about the returns at HQ and we were right.
So, wearing t-shirts, sweats and jeans, we headed to the election night party with our 6 year old boys. On a school night. We got some strange looks; the "Moms" were in the house. But the boys had a great time, we talked about the political process and how important it is to be engaged. I'd like to think they also learned a bit about how to be a gracious loser and the wonderfully civil transfer of power that we have in our country and so take for granted.
Despite the unhappy ending to the night for Glenn Nye and so many other Democratic candidates, I'm glad Hollis got to experience election night. In fact, we think we're going to make this a yearly tradition for the boys. Win or lose, sometimes the best thing you can do is stay engaged. It's my job as a mother and a MOMocrat to make sure my children understand that too.