We’re all rooting for Our Guy. We like Our Guy. We believe in Our Guy. We are going to campaign for Our Guy and work the phone banks for Our Guy and vote for Our Guy.
Our Guy is our candidate.
So what happens when your kid has a friend over and when his mom picks him up and says “So, how about That Guy, huh? What a breath of fresh air.”
Well, once you close your mouth, here’s what not to do:
1. Laugh. As in, “Oh my goodness, I thought you were serious there for a second. Whoa, Nelly, you got a sense of humor on you!” Because chances are that she is not kidding. And it’ll be even more awkward when you notice that she’s looking at you with puzzlement instead of merriment.
2. Roll up your sleeves. Don’t start a lecture on why your candidate is better than the other candidate unless you are open to hear out the other parent as well on her points. If you two do decide to go at it, have fun. Just remember that in the history of the universe the number of times one mom changed another mom’s opinion on a candidate is holding at 0.
3. Roll your eyes. I don’t understand it myself, but apparently that’s considered rude or something.
4. “Didn’t you hear that …” … Adding the latest sin of The Candidate That Must Be Defeated to the list. Chances are great that she will have something inflammatory to add about your Candidate of Choice.
5. Relate a Saturday Night Live skit about her candidate. Please, we’re all parents here. None of us can stay up late enough to watch that stuff. (Besides, chances are she already saw it on YouTube, or read about it online.
6. Launch a sneak attack. Something like “Oh, I guess you don’t care about women’s rights, the environment, our country” paired with a shrug, a sigh and a side of wrapping self in the American flag.
7. Cancel all future playdates. Yes, you don’t like the other mom’s candidate, but the kids are still friends.
8. Poison your child’s mind against the other parents. Talking about their choice in a disparaging may unnecessarily stress out your child.
So what can you do?
If you think you can have a friendly fair debate, go ahead. Otherwise, it may be best to avoid the topic of politics when the two of you get together.
If you feel that your child is old enough to discuss politics with, go ahead — express your point of view! But be fair. If your child is smart enough to have the conversation, she is smart enough to hear both sides of the issue. Explain why you feel passionately about your candidate and the perils of the other, but try to stick to the facts and steer clear of “only the insane would vote for X” and “Y wasn’t even born in America!” nonsense.
You can do better.
And I hope that I can, too.