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A Ten Year Old’s Perspective

My oldest son is ten years old. Early last week, he told me he really wanted to do something to make sure that John McCain was elected our next President. Apparently, they have been talking a lot about politics in one of his classes, and he has, unsurprisingly, been taking the Republican side of the discussion.

I asked him why he was supporting John McCain? His initial answer basically boiled down to two points. First, he doesn’t think we should abandon the war in Iraq. As to the first point, Pulitzer winner Dexter Filkin has some interesting observations in a recent article for the New York Times:

Two years ago, when I last stayed in Baghdad, Karada Mariam was like the whole of the city: shuttered, shattered, broken and dead.

Abu Nawas Park — I didn’t recognize that, either. By the time I had left the country in August 2006, the two-mile stretch of riverside park was a grim, spooky, deserted place, a symbol for the dying city that Baghdad had become.

These days, the same park is filled with people: families with children, women in jeans, women walking alone. Even the nighttime, when Iraqis used to cower inside their homes, no longer scares them. I can hear their laughter wafting from the park. At sundown the other day, I had to weave my way through perhaps 2,000 people. It was an astonishing, beautiful scene — impossible, incomprehensible, only months ago.

Second, he thinks that if Senator Obama is elected, we’ll have “free health care,” but our taxes will go up. He doesn’t think paying more in taxes is a good idea. On that second point, I should point out that in second grade he did have Junior Achievement that’s when he learned that we all pay taxes to support government services, and how that’s not a bad thing. I should also note that his younger brother, also seems to agree on that latter point. Last night at dinner, he announced that if Obama wins we’ll pay more in taxes and gas prices will rise. According to him this is a bad thing because there will be less money for toys.

Now, before you think I’m brainwashing my kids, I should point out that they don’t read this blog, and we really don’t sit around the dinner table every night talking politics. However, they’ve been known to watch Discovery channel in the morning before school, and they are apparently being exposed to a lot of campaign commercials. To that end, I should also point out that they seem confused as to why the candidates are approving messages that spend the entire time talking about the other guy. But, I digress.

Well, I reached out to the John McCain camp and asked if there was any way that my ten year old could help out. They said, he’d be welcome to get on the phone and make survey calls, and that’s exactly what he did. In fact, he went through a 125 telephone numbers before I told him, we really needed to get going.

Now, let me take a moment and be non-partisan. He was calling Albuquerque area Democrats and Independents to I.D. voters. I didn’t make any calls, I just sat there and monitored — prepared to jump in if it got nasty. It didn’t, and for that I’d like the to thank anyone in Albuquerque who took the time this weekend to allow a 10 year old to get involved in the political process by answering a couple of simple survey questions. You made his day, and made his father very proud, not only of his son, but of the the people who make up this community.

I’ve got to run, but I want to share a final thought on the comments that have been reportedly made by Bernalillo County GOP Chairman Fernando C’deBaca. I should preface it by saying that I am hesitant to write anything about it because I challenged Mr. C’deBaca last year for the Chairmanship and lost. So, this is all I have to say.

I read (without attributing them) Mr. C’deBaca’s comments to my son on the way to the McCain offices, and asked him for his opinion. His immediate response was “Dad, that’s silly.” After a moment more of reflection, he added, “And, by silly I mean ridiculous, not funny.” It was the first of two times that I was to be proud of him that day.