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OMG, What If my Kids Support the GOP?

By marinka |

I grew up with a portrait of “Ronnie,” as my parents referred to him, smiling down upon me. I still have flashbacks.

I don’t know how I’m going to survive the election, I really don’t. Like most people, I have very strong feelings about the candidates and the strong feelings render me incapable of saying  nearly anything nice about the GOP. Except “nice ties!” but that’s only when I’m feeling charitable and am in polite company. Generally I focus on their complete disdain for women and the middle class and the nonstop lies that pour out of the campaign. The lie about Obama causing the recession is my particular favorite.

I wonder about the effect it’s having on my kids.

My son is 11 and couldn’t care less about politics. Unless and until Barack Obama and Mitt Romney pick up a baseball (oh, and they will, give it time) they are not on his radar. But my 14-year-old is different. She reads the New York Times every morning (well, at least every morning that a friend isn’t sleeping over) and she is very interested in the election.  Last election, I took them with me to vote, so it’s important to me that they are aware of the process, that they grow up to be active voters, regardless of who they choose to vote for.

Yes, I did actually just type “regardless of who they choose to vote for” but I’m not sure I really mean it. Because I’m just not sure how I would feel if one of my kids were to support the GOP.

I’m not fooling myself, not really. I know that as parents we shape and contribute to our children’s thinking but I also know that we provide an environment against which they push off, rebel and choose their own path. It’s normal and it’s natural. I know a woman who grew up with chain-smoking parents and rather than pick up the habit, she became an marathoner who does not smoke.  I know vegetarian parents who raised a carnivore that I am not entirely comfortable leaving alone with my cat. And I grew up in a Ronald Reagan household.

I’d like to think that my political views are more than a rebellion against my parents, but I can’t be sure that that’s not where they took root.

And so I worry — what if the same thing happens with my kids? What if my ardent distaste of the GOP drives them into the arms of the Tea Party?

Of course I would still love them, that goes without saying. But would I like their choices? Would I respect those choices? Those are harder questions for me. In a way, I need not answer them, because if they choose to vote for the unthinkable, we will join the many families that avoid the topic of politics and roll our respective eyes at each other’s Facebook postings.

But still.

It would sting.

Maybe I should put up a few Mitt Romney portraits around the house, just in case?


Photo source: Wiki

For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter, where she never refers to herself in the third person, but does have a potty mouth. Sorry!

More on Kid Scoop:

An Open Letter to the Baseball Commissioner

6 Things Not to Say to a Shy Kid (And His Mom!)

Lice Facts That’ll Have You Scratching Your Head

Talk Back to Children’s Books





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About marinka



Marinka is a wife and mother of two living in Manhattan's West Village. On her personal site Motherhood in NYC, she blogs about her life in New York City, her kids and family, current events, and the art and science of blogging.

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10 thoughts on “OMG, What If my Kids Support the GOP?

  1. Sili says:

    I don’t even want to think about that. I know someone in this situation and it breaks my heart. I still don’t know how she deals with it. Maybe I’ll ask her some time and report back.

  2. The Fairly Odd Mother says:

    I grew up with an apolitical mother (she’s still not a registered citizen of the US) and an “independent father” who grew more and more conservative with each passing year until he was “just right of Attila the Hun” (his words). We had some interesting (to put it mildly) discussions about politics, especially during his Rush Limbaugh years when I was in college and particularly touchy. And, yes, I think his moving to the right had me moving further to the left as a way of making a point that I was different. I’m not sure about my kids yet. Right now, my son goes into shock anytime anyone says anything bad about Obama and thinks there is NO WAY he could lose. And all three know exactly where I stand on the major social issues. So yes, it would hurt if they decided that the issues of their parents weren’t ones they cared to support when they are voting age. They’d better remember that wills can be changed. (and, yes, I’m kind of kidding. Sort of).

  3. Denise says:

    I would have a lot of trouble if my kids supported the GOP. My oldest is voting for the first time this year and I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about him.

  4. Lil says:

    Right? Past couple of years I was all gung-ho about my two oldest reaching voting age for 2012 presidential election… but, in recent months, I’ve stopped giving a shit and dread the fact that they have current example of the “whole elections process” (superpacs, attack ads, dangerous ideology spewing from so many). I’ve set such a bad example myself in admitting I’m not even gonna vote this year… being all busy being homeless and all – You can’t vote unless you have an address, right? Anyway, more and more my kids have seen me react to everything disgusting and deplorable from GOP. Mostly me going “WTF!!” As a kid, my single mother taught to respect the man in office. So I did, but honestly, I don’t think I could do that if Romney wins.

  5. goddess says:

    Well, I’d give them a dose of GOP reality. College money? Yeah right- cut off! Allowances? Pfttt! Cut! Big Daddy and Momma need to keep their money, less for those at the bottom, right? And igf were my daughter? Well she’d only get 70cents on the dollars that were left and I’d choose to not cover birth control ;-)

  6. Carrie says:

    I’ve seen this play out in two different ways in my family. Both of my parents came from staunch GOP families and maybe rebellion is what drove them far to the left but they would tell you that the values of the GOP (even 30-40 years ago) did not match up with their own. Now they are both the only Democrats in their respective families. They decided to raise my sister and myself apolitical. Politics weren’t discussed much-but personal family values were. As my sister and I grew we naturally aligned ourselves to the left also. Perhaps it was the no pressure attitude of my parents that kept us from needing to rebel but I really do think that even at the age of 17 I knew the other side didn’t share the values I had grown up with and believed in. My four year old is very politically minded, mostly because he’s obsessed with Presidential history, so he’s aware of each side and aware of who I like and don’t like but I try to inform him of what each side is about as dispassionately as possible. If he decides to go to the other side eventually I’ll accept it but I won’t be happy about it.

  7. Jamie says:

    You are ignorant and very uninformed – do your research past the D or R – and at 11 your son should know who is running and what their position is – not what their ignorant parent thinks. Also expose your kids to more than CNN, NY Times etc – get real information!

  8. marinka says:

    @Jamie, What do you consider to be “real information”?

  9. Jamie says:

    How about research on our President – what does he stand for? I do not mean any mainstream media which is all you know! And by the way your tweets are so ignorant you really seem stupid, for lack of a better word. Read them… They are sad not funny.

  10. Jamie says:

    Here is a question? Did you read the book our President wrote? If you didn’t that is very sad but I’m sure you did with all you seem to know. What are your thoughts on his book?

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