The inevitable happened the other day: my seven-year-old son asked me about all the signs in people’s yards. He wanted to know why they were there, what that meant, and, also, for whom I was voting.
I started slowly. I was tip-toeing. I explained that voting is important– that it’s our voice. I also told him that people have the right to keep their candidate choice private.
“But Obama’s our president, right? So he’s the good guy?”
“Well… it’s not that simple.”
“But people seem to really like Romney, too, so is he better? Who’s the good guy, Mommy? Who’s right?”
I turned off the radio and glanced in the rearview mirror. I took a deep breath.
“They’re both the good guys, honey. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney actually have more in common than people want to admit. They’re both strong, smart men who love America. They each believe that they have a good plan to make sure our country is in the best place it can be. When we vote, we’re just saying which plan we agree with most. I have to look at their ideas and decide which one makes more sense to me. And then I vote for that guy.”
“So which one is right? Which one has the perfect plan, Mom?”
“There is no perfect plan in politics, Sweetie. That’s the thing. You have to just figure out which guy running thinks the things that matter to you are important, too. Both candidates have worked hard to come up with ideas for how to fix some stuff– we just have to decide which ones we believe are most likely to work.”
“So… what if the other guy wins? What will you do, Mommy?”
I smiled. “Well, if the ‘other guy’ wins, then we’ll just see how his plan works out. We’ll still be Americans. We’ll still love our country, so we’ll hope for the best. Obviously, that would mean lots of people believe he’s got a good plan. So… if that happens, we just hope that maybe they were right.”
I turned left onto a leafy little road.
“Does that make sense, Sweetie?”
His brown head bobbed up and down, “Yep.”
I turned the radio back up and sang along with Blake Shelton. Then I heard his voice again…
“And Mom? I think you need to explain this to some grown-ups, too.”