I am not very political. I admit it. I mean for the first time in my life this year I declared under a party instead of independent. There was something about ‘independent’ that just sounded so…cerebral, so much like something to strive to attain. I am independent. I think for myself. I try to see the value in what everyone has to say, to sort for the meaning through a broad perspective.
Yet, I realized this year that I am not independent. I am unapologetically liberal. This was reinforced even last night to me when one of my social media “friends,” a woman, posted a rant about how she feels traditional gender roles streamline family life and society at large. I wasn’t offended. I wasn’t angry at her life choices. What I was in fact, was so disappointed that this is the way she’s raising her daughters- to see a niche already made for them, a cookie cutter kind of life to tell them what to wear, say, and do. I am married. I have girls. And, oh G*d, all I want for them is to have the world. Whatever it is they want to do with themselves, make of themselves, I just want every imaginable door to the arts, sciences, mathematics, and tech to stand open waiting for their advances. I want them to be Cinderella in glass slippers if that’s what they want. I want them to be Marie Curie if that’s what they want. In a perfect world they’ll be able to be both without one constraining the other.
So I’m liberal. My husband, he’s still independent. He critically thinks about each issue, how it affects him personally, how it could affect his girls, how it could affect his friends. I love watching him puzzle through an issue or policy and decide where he falls on the spectrum. It IS those best things about independence. Insightful. Reflective. Personal.
Because of our different approaches to politics we try to maintain certain standards. We try not to paint political parties or candidates in broad strokes. We try not to criticize them for personal issues and instead focus on their qualifications, their plans for the world we share. This is what we try every day to drive home to our babies (with more or less success depending on the day), that we own very little of this earth. More than anything we share it: the experience; the environment; the creative space. We have a responsibility to make sure we’re not wrecking things (especially reputations) that are precious and easily mishandled.
So we watched the GOP convention. We allowed our girls to hear the rhetoric. Then we watched the DNC, mostly quietly, mostly peripherally. When the clip came up of Donald Trump mocking the handicapped reporter my three year old looked at me from her perch on the couch, cocked her blonde head to the side, and asked, “Who is him?” I explained to her his name and that he was mimicking a man that had a harder time speaking. She then asked, “Is him a bad guy?” I caught the words before they came out. I replaced them with the always acceptable parenting quote of, “Uhhhmmm….” She watched a bit more then turned back to me and said, “Yep, him a bad guy.”
She summed it up nicely.
To her Donald Trump is a comic book or cartoon villain. He is right up there in her estimates of The Joker, Mother Gothel, and the Evil Stepmother. The first tries mad ways to destroy the city he lives in, based solely on his need to cause chaos. That seems to fit. The second takes something precious, a child’s future, and tries to bend and twist it with lies and fear. That fits. The last does anything, everything she can to claw her way to more success and wealth. She moves her children, her stepchildren, and political officials in a dance of her own making like worthless pieces on a chessboard. It too fits.
I’m not saying anything except my girl calls it as she sees it.