But our 11-year-old, A. Peevie, is an unapologetic supporter of Barack Obama. (I have no idea why.) In his world--a Lutheran school packed with political conservatives--this means he sometimes comes in for some tough criticism. Not too many of his classmates share his political leanings.
"Why are most of my friends at school voting for McCain?" A. Peevie asked me recently.
"Well, honey," I said, "I guess that in our school a lot of people see things differently than the way we see them. It's a Christian school, and Christians tend to vote conservatively. There are a lot of military and law enforcement families at school, and they also tend to vote Republican."
(That's what I told him, but now I'm not so sure it's even true--at least the military and law enforcement part. The military and law enforcement people that I know are, for the most part, consistently conservative. But I actually did some research, and some sources indicate that the myth of a largely conservative military has been soundly debunked. Hmm. Go figure.)
"Obama's just going to raise taxes," one of his friends told him--conversationally, without meanness.
Another one said, "You're just for Obama because your parents are for Obama." Because no doubt that fifth-grader had formulated his own McCain apologetics independent of any parental influence.
These critiques did not put A. Peevie off of his convictions. He was determined to go back to school ready to make a defense for his chosen candidate. So I decided that I needed to write a fifth-grade election primer to help him out a little bit. Here it is:
- I support Barack Obama because I believe he will bring U.S. soldiers home from Iraq sooner than John McCain.
- I support Barack Obama because he has better ideas for helping poor people and the middle class than John McCain.
- I support Barack Obama because he has a better plan for energy, the economy, and health care than John McCain.
- I support Barack Obama because the Republicans have a made a mess of things over the past eight years.
- I support Barack Obama because his running mate is NOT Sarah Palin.
And if you're not in fifth grade, you can feel free to borrow the primer as well.