Picked up the kids from school today. Our daughter got in and was rather quiet, while our son bounded in, excited to head to gymnastics class at the community center. Just as they were getting their seat-belts on, our girl started crying.
“Mommy,” she exclaimed, sobbing.
“What is it? What happened?”
“Today my friends said Barack Obama is bad! They said he was bad and I said he’s not bad, that he’s good, but they said he was bad. Is he bad?”
I could feel my heart start to race.
“He’s not bad, honey. Neither is the other guy, Mitt Romney, who also wants to be President. They’re just different, with different ideas. Neither one is bad.”
She named three children who were sitting with her at lunch. Ryan, who she recently told me “loves” her but not in a “boyfriend” way (???) said, “Barack Obama is bad because he just wants to be rich.”
Second graders are not always the most fully informed segment of the population.
I responded: “Well, that’s just not true. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both nice people. They both just have different ideas. Romney is a nice man, just like Obama. They both have nice wives, great families, they’re good dads, they’re both good people. They just have different ideas. You’re still friends with all these kids, right?”
“And I have friends who like Romney. But we’re still friends. And I worked for Barack Obama, to help him become President when you were little. That was my choice, it doesn’t make me bad or good. It just makes me somebody who likes Barack Obama.”
She added: “There were two girls besides me who think Barack Obama is good. Summer and Harlow say he’s good. But Summer’s mom says Obama is bad. Harlow’s mom says Obama is good. Emily says Obama is bad, and that Romney is going to win!” At this point there was some moaning.
“Well, maybe he will, maybe he won’t.” I said.
“Our teacher said we could choose who we liked and have a vote. I’m just going to choose Barack Obama.”
We pulled into the parking lot at the community center. She was calm again.
I’m not sure how her class election will turn out. But it has never been more important to me that President Barack Obama wins tomorrow. My daughter is watching.