|Watching the Vice Presidential Debate without a TV--we got the last one on the 'big screen.'|
Election education began with the debates. The kids quickly dubbed the candidates "Mr. Red" and "Mr. Blue" (because of the color of their ties). In a country so uncomfortably aware of race, I find it interesting that the kids found the candidates' tie color more notable. At first they were leaning Republican, but by the end, they were all for Obama. Nova and Charlotte made campaign signs, hung them around their necks and marched around the house. Obama had very big ears in Nova's depiction. Solomon watched more debates than any of the other kids. By the end all the kids' appetite for political debate was gone. Nova did try to engage me and Charles in a "Paredential Debate" which was to lead up to an election for parent in charge. We mostly agreed, so sadly, it wasn't much fun.
The weekend before the election and that Monday and Tuesday, we read from Nancy Gill's The Presidential Election curriculum. We also watched a tone of BrainPop videos on the subject. We covered voting, the election, the origin of the two major political parties, the three branches of our government, origins of democracy, and suffrage. One of the videos also discussed the 2000 election and we talked a bit about that afterwards. Solomon was very upset about the electoral college. He found it very unfair and kept insisting that it meant that our votes didn't really count.
I got out my reproduction US Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence for effect. The kids had trouble reading them, and so did I (despite the foot note stating that they'd been slightly altered for legibility!).
Nova and Solomon both tried their hands at the online computer game "Win the White House." They both lost the first time. Nova was determined to win, so had a second go at it. She won by a landslide.
There were plenty of yard signs, pro and con, in our neighborhood for the state amendments on the ballot this year. Below are a two of our friends who both showed up to a Halloween party decked out in "VOTE NO" attire. Our church had also been very active in the marriage amendment.
On election day Nova, Solomon and Charlotte all 'voted' via http://www.nationalmockelection.org/results/. They also went with me to vote. The lines were longer than normal, but it still took us less than half an hour. We went over to the Spindler election party around 7:00. It was fun to watch the results as a group. I brought along electoral college maps to color in as we went. They also saw Your Not Elected Charlie Brown (thanks Brynn--it was a bonus feature on The Great Pumpkin DVD you got us so long ago). In 2008, I spent election night as a reporter, covering the Democratic headquarters. That was a whole different kind of fun, exciting, but also grueling. That was the year that Minnesota's senate race went to a recount (and kept everybody up forever on election night).
By the time they called the election, half our crew was asleep, and we'd all had plenty of dessert. All in all it was a very good evening, and an educational election. Now if only I can convince Charles to become a citizen so he can vote next time around!