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January 08, 2008

White House Stick Figures

My husband & I try our best to explain the world to our daughter without hiding behind "angels bowling" or "storks" so when she caught us watching the New Hampshire debate over the weekend, she turned into Helen Thomas. "What are they doing? Does she really, really, really want to be President? Do all six of them want to be President? Who do you think will win?" I'm 33 years old and still trying to get a grasp of the insane way we elect Presidents and now I have to explain it to an incredibly curious and observant 4-year-old? *sigh* Can we get a "where do babies come from" question instead?

The photo for this post was how I tried to show her what was going on. Yes, I explained the presidential campaign with stick figures & a flow chart.

"The President of our country makes very important decisions about our lives and it is time to pick a new one ("Hallelujah!" I yell in my head) and all four of them want to be President. Yes, really, really, really want to be President." I went on to describe the four candidates (Clinton has stereotypical 'woman curls' on her stick figure, Richardson has slight shading, Obama has a bit more shading, and Edwards is just a stick figure) to her and at one point I stopped, looked at her daddy and we exchanged a smile. "Can you believe we're looking at an African-American, Latino, woman, and a white guy on the same stage? For President?" he says with a smile. I shake my head and return to my Elections 102 lecture.

"See, out of these four people, one of them will be the Democratic candidate. Then out of another 5-6 people, there will be a Republican candidate (I note that they are all white men)."

"What's a Repuglican?" she asks?

I snort and correct her, "Republican. Well, let's just say that Mommy normally agrees with the Democrats and rarely with the Republicans." Thankfully that answer satisfied her and we went up the flow chart. "And in November, Mommy & Daddy will have to decide between the Democrat & the Republican on who we want to be President. Mommy already knows she will vote for the Democrat." Please note that in the figure, I drew the White House first and then drew a figure over it. AND not to read into the plain stick figure at the top.

She takes a few seconds to take it all in and then jumps into our laps (yes, sprawled out over both our laps) with a giggle, "So who do you think will win the race?" "We don't know, sweetie," I reply. "Well who do you want to win?" "We don't know yet. Any of them would be great though," we respond. "Well who would you vote for?" we ask her.


We laugh at her firm conviction. "I'm voting for Barak Obama!" she yells again. And then of course, I have to break her heart and tell her that she can't vote for another 14 years. "But, Mommy & Daddy will take your vote into consideration."

I knew that this election cycle would be fun to watch, but it's gonna be even more fun to try to explain. Now we have 10 months to figure out how to explain the electoral college to her!

Are you engaging your kids in the primaries? How are you explaining it to your younger kids? Have your older kids taken any interest?

When Veronica's not being a political artist, she blogs at Viva La Feminista & Chicago Parent.com where this was cross-posted.


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