About a year ago, my then-3-year-old and I sat down to have dinner. We chatted about baby animals, the fresh beat band, the usual. When conversation petered out Ella said: “Mama, let’s talk about something else.” Ok babe, what would you like to talk about? She quickly replied: Mitt Romney.
And so, it began.
It started with basic questions about who the President is. What do they do? Why can’t Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both be president? She still sees this as a reasonable possibility.
Then I had to explain to Ella how voting works. She was outraged. OUTRAGED! When I told her kids aren’t allowed to vote, she was ready to take to the streets...but it was bedtime, so that had to wait.
I’ve had to justify my own voting intentions. What’s wrong with Mitt Romney? Is he mean to animals? I swear she asked me that. I didn’t have the heart to tell her about Seamus.
I’ve also had to address her criticisms of my election-related TV appearances. Criticisms like: “Mama, why do you always talk about the same thing?” and “Mama, why are you so boring?”
I think Romney’s Big Bird comments must have somehow made it to the preschool water cooler, because after school one evening a deeply troubled Ella asked me why Romney is cutting Big Bird. In her mind, of course, cutting is exclusively something that’s done with scissors.
I’ve handled all of these questions with varying levels of acumen. That Big Bird one was pretty tough to untangle. But yesterday, inspired I suppose by Steve’s rant, Ella finally bested my mommy explaining powers. "Mama, what’s the electoral college?" I’m sorry, there is no possible way to explain the electoral college to a 4-year-old! My response: ask Uncle Steve.
And don’t worry… she will. Good luck with that, buddy.
Ella’s electoral questions have worn me down, and I get the sense that the whole country is a bit weary. With only 12 days to go though, the end is in sight. Soon the ballots will be cast. Decisions made. And hopefully the questions, on this topic at least, will quiet for a bit. But four years from now, we’ll all be back and I’ll have to answer these questions and more all over again because I just learned that I am expecting a new little Politico next summer. Maybe next time around Ella can explain all this to her little brother or sister.