Election 2012: It's 'take your kids to vote day' – a bipartisan lesson
Election 2012: Carrying donuts for pollworkers, a mom's 'take your kids to vote day' turns into a bipartisan lesson with donuts for 'the bad guys' who turn out not to be so bad.
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Our son Quin, 8, decided to become a campaign volunteer for President Barack Obama after he watched the now infamous “Big Bird” debate. Today, at the polls he decided his work was not done when he spied his “team” freezing outside the polling place, without donuts or coffee.
There was the Obama team at a bare card table, two older ladies freezing beside the Romney supporters who stood at a well-appointed, Martha Stewart-like table of plenty. “Mom, what’s with our table,” Quin asked. I promised to investigate when we were finished voting.
After we went in to vote, Quin beside me reading the choices and seeing how the votes are cast electronically, he asked if we could help his "team." We got Dunkin Donuts & coffee.
On the way back to the polling place with the goods, Quin suggested we should share with the opposition “to show we aren’t mad.”
We were about two feet away from the RNC team when Quinn suddenly froze the same way some kids do when faced with a giant costumed figure. “I think I’m suddenly nervous,” he whispered. “They’re the bad guys.”
So I whispered in his ear something I should have been saying loudly all along, “They’re just people. Good people like us. They just disagree, but they’re perfectly good people. Nobody’s a monster just because they disagree with you.”
I had been guilty of either demonizing the opposition in his presence or not counteracting when others did so in his presence. Also, I allow him to play the game ChefVille on my Facebook account and he has seen some pretty mean postings from others whom I have since un-friended.
So, holding tight to my hand and still skeptical, Quin went over to the Romney table and offered them some of the donuts.
The very nice RNC lady: "Oh no thanks, we already have plenty."
Quin, suddenly relieved that she spoke in English and not letters of flame, became his normal self: "Did you share?" The long, long line of waiting voters whooped with laughter.
Nice RNC Lady: "Yes! We did! We shared coffee because those ladies were freezing."
Quin: "Good start. If you change your mind, remember, our donuts are for everybody."”
Hoo boy, this is one Aspergers kid who really has no filter at all. I hustled him away before he engaged in debate. He remembers things and hangs on like a dog with a bone, particularly all the buzz phrases. I have spent many hours trying to correct media impressions and help him discern hype from fact.
After returning home he was telling his older brothers about how he helped me vote. He added reflectively over a mouthful of donut, "I bet their (Team Romney’s) donuts weren't 100% delicious because they leave out 47% of the good stuff."
OK, that was funny.
Later, when I thought he would surely have moved on to another topic, I noticed he was unusually chirpy, humming and singing a tune without knowing the words. I suddenly realized he was singing "Hail to the Chief." I don’t think anybody knows the words so he was singing – “Doo-doo-da-doo. Doo-da, doo-da, doo-da, doo-doo!”
Asked why he was singing POTUS' theme song. He was dumbfounded, "Seriously? I didn't know he had a song. I just really like the tune."
When I told him I didn’t know if the song had words he took a few minutes before he began to sing, “Hail to the Chief, he’s in charge of all the big stuff. Hail to the Chief and I hope whoever it is likes Ruff Ruffman and WHRO!” That’s our local PBS station.
It’s gonna be a long election night at our house.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.