Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I am officially raising Alex P. Keaton. He doesn’t own the Nixon lunchbox. Well, not yet anyway. Today is election day. The excitement of choosing a new President! The thrill of donuts being served at the polls to select the new President! The confusion of my children as their parents root eagerly (albeit respectfully – minus that one nasty blowout in September- that was a complete parenting fail) for different people. I voted for Obama. I don’t know who Phil voted for. He believes it is his right to keep this between him and his ballot. I believe that somewhere in our vows it contained something about telling your wife every single thing including who you vote for. I cannot prove this. We must agree to disagree. At any rate, regardless of who he voted for, I’m proud of him for a) voting and b) voting his conscience (even if it’s not my conscience). Anyway, this really isn’t about Phil or me. It’s about Dylan. And how he’s like Alex P. Keaton and how I’m shocked to discover that somehow, this makes me more proud than I ever thought.

Dylan is my rules follower – at least other people’s rules (p.s. Ruby – you could take a memo here). He likes to follow the rules. He likes to be mainstream. He does not like to be the outlier, the one who is different. Phil and I have pleaded with him to realize that different isn’t bad and that making the choices that are best for him (and not because others chose them) are his only path to true happiness. This is understandably a difficult concept to wrap your head around as a 4 year old.
Every day in his class at preschool there is a question of the day. You can answer yes or no. I can see how he scans the answers each day before he gives his own answer. Poor thing – I could feel his discomfort when the question was “Do you have power?” after Hurricane Sandy. Out of 16 kids, only one answered no (faulty transformer near our house). Poor Dylan – he hated being singled out as the lone no.

Today, they polled the kids to see whether they would vote for Obama or Romney. At pick-up, they revealed the results. 12 of the 16 kids chose Obama – a solidly democratic preschool class! But I digress. Just 4 of the kids chose Romney. My kid – my little Alex P. Keaton - was one of them. My kid. Seriously. Can you believe it? I might actually be raising a tiny Republican? Honestly, I’m not. Or, maybe I am. Who knows? I doubt he really knows either way at age 4. Maybe he chose him because he liked the name better. Or because he heard Phil mention him and he’s got major hero worship for Phil. For one second I felt stung because I wanted to him to like my values, my candidate. And then I swallowed my own ego and reflected on the fact that my kid made an independent choice. He didn’t choose as me or most of the kids in class did. And that must have been hard. And I was proud, proud of my kid for being brave and making the different choice, even if that brand of different is more Hannity than Maddow.
It seems that democracy, much like parenthood, is a messy and complicated process. But anything really great (like my kids or deciding the next president) is always worth arguing and fighting and standing in line for. Way to go Dylan and America – proud of you for voting and making a choice, regardless of the outcome. Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always an easy road, but it’s a courageous one.

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