Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Preschoolers and Politics on the Playground


Today as I picked up my daughter from preschool, I held the door open for a mom picking up her little girl who happened to be wearing a t-shirt of a presidential candidate.
As her daughter ran up and hugged her she had asked, “Did you tell your friends about who you’re voting for?”

Are you joking?

The girl is 3. If I had to guess, I’d say Cinderella, Spongebob, or maybe DeeDee Doodle

Since I’m relatively new and only 3 years into the parenting world I ask you fellow parents -- do parents normally use their preschoolers to campaign? Or maybe you yourself do it? Or maybe you’re just as bothered by it as me.

And for the record, I don’t care who any of you vote for. I’ll still like you the day after elections, even if it’s not my choice. Everybody has personal opinions; ideals, whatever, and I fully respect that.
But using a preschooler to shamelessly wear something for the parents’ viewpoint and using them as a campaign placard for something they just don’t understand troubles me.

My daughter’s new t-shirt just arrived yesterday...
And yes, she does understand the meaning of 11 herbs and spices.

43 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Darn it - I have 6 kids - why didn't I think of this?

But, seriously, no. Although I do have the teens volunteer at the field office of the campaign office we are supporting.

Jenster said...

That's just plain silly!

I think you should have your daughter tell the other kids she's voting for Colonel Sanders.

pb&j in a bowl said...

My little girl would tell everyone that she was voting for Johnny Cash. She's strangely fascinated by him.

Whirlwind said...

Nope, we don't.

Of course, our oldest (6) would probably throw away a shirt if we tried to force it on her. She came home from school last week, and from what we can tell, is a Democrat. She was highly upset when we told her we weren't voting for her favored choice.

At this point, I think the Cinderella /Prince Charming or Belle/Beast ticket would probably be the best way to go. Maybe that's what our three year old was trying to tell us when she picked out her Belle Halloween costume?!!!

Whit said...

I'd let them wear a shirt of the candidate we (me) are supporting, but I wouldn't expect them to do anything in the way of polling or door knocking. I figure it's about the same as dressing them up in shirts for bands or sports teams. It's all a reflection of the parent's taste, or lack thereof.

That said, no, my kids don't have any Obama shirts, but they do have a few featuring Steelers and Beatles.

Ben and Bennie said...

Shirts featuring The Colonel or Johnny Cash are the only ones my children will wear. Okay maybe one with Ringo Starr BUT THAT'S WHERE I DRAW THE LINE. Okay maybe one with Aerosmith but that's it.

Artist Unplugged said...

I wouldn't have my kids wear a political t-shirt or sing little ditties about a candidate either... I am more concerned with your daughter's reaction when one of her friends appears at school wearing a shirt blazoned with a cow across it proclaiming to "Eat More Chikin!". I trust that you have instilled in her a tolerance for other opinions that balances that deep-fried passion for the Colonel......

Amrita said...

In India some politicians distribute school bags and stationary with theeir part slogans and logo on them

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Star Wars, Cinderella, Lightning McQueen and fish of any size or color. That's the extent of the toddler t-shirts in this house. If you're going to a political candidate's rally? And taking your kids with you? Sure. Outfit them to the hilt with that candidate's logo. But at school or outside that arena? It's just too much. Kids don't understand. They understand princesses, cars, puppy dogs, and dinosaurs.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I would do it, but I can't find any Bob Barr tees that I like. :)

I haven't seen any kids in political tees yet, except the "Vote for my Daddy for Sheriff/Council" types

Bruce said...

In American Politics, all is fair these days. There are no child labor laws when it comes to politics. If the little daughter does not wear the Obama shirt, she gets no pop-tart.

April said...

I was really on the fence between Cinderella and Dee Dee Doodle. But I think I finally decided on Cinderella. Her background makes her more in tune with the needs of the working woman I think. Totally my opinion. Besides I heard that Dee Dee was quite the party girl in college. Not exactly role model material, know what I mean?

Dad Stuff said...

That's funny. I haven't seen too many pint sized political ads around here, but I think some parents like to advertise their bank statements with high priced brand name shoes and jackets that the kids outgrow weekly.

Krista said...

I wish my Mom and Dad taught me politics when I was 3 years old. Maybe then I'd know who to vote for? Kidding. So did your little girl give you voting advice when she got home? Maybe you could secretly take her into the voting booth with you and SHE could fill out the ballot?

creative-type dad said...

Jenster -- You read my mind...

Bennie -- What? No Def Leppard?

April -- I agree. Cinderella rose above the ranks to get into the castle (with the help of a magic) DeeDee was born into it.

Krista -- She would write her name and vote for herself. And then she would ask for a pink pony.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Hmmm...you know there was a program one time (maybe still, IDK) called Kids Voting USA but it was for school-aged children and it was a non-partisan social studies-related program. Kids could go with parents to the polls and vote in their own little booths. Stumping for any particular candidate however, was FORBIDDEN!

WILLIAM said...

I wonder if I could get a shirt that reads "VOte for Grover Cleveland" for my kid.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hhhmmm, if the T-shirt says vote for this Mother Hen, then it's not silly at all :)

painted maypole said...

he he

i put the obama magent on my car, but not on my daughters scooter, because, you know, I'm the one who is voting

crazy, parents.

Zoe said...

hmmm. my 2 year old has a t that reads "obama hottie"...just because i thought it was funny. am i a bad mother now? slap me. real hard.

kittenpie said...

I think you talk to them about why you vote, which I've done, and if you are really passionate, maybe you explain why you feel the way you do in terms of the values that you hold and why you believe your candidate supports them best (which I have not done), but to ask them to tell their friends about it? Totally over the line.

Steph said...

I slap a "Barack 'n Roll" on one kid and "McCain't Touch This" on the other in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Mamalooper said...

My own spirit of bipartisanship during the primaries was both a "Hillary, Baby" and "Obama bama fo fama" t-shirt. Of course that was before the girl HAD to wear only purple.

So much easier when I was in total control.....

And "heh" to Dad Stuff about parents advertising their bank accounts with the designer labels.

muskrat said...

the only t-shirt we put on our little one that contains words says "nobody puts baby in the corner."

no politics on babies, please.

DC Urban Dad said...

I got my little one a t-shirt that says she is 72 years younger than McCain cuz it is f'n hillarious and true.

One day she will be able to speak her mind and she can wear what she wants.

The Bennett Bunch said...

Wow, we were lucky to even see clothes on our kids when they were 3!!!! LOL!! My youngest has a fascination with running around in his undies. Guess I could always add a bumper sticker to his hind end.

creative-type dad said...

DC Urban Dad -- OK, now that's funny.

muskrat -- Patrick Swayze would be proud.

rebecca said...

that's a first. i've never heard of that one. and no, i never did that with my own and, personally, i think that parent went a wee bit overboard. poor kid.

Isabel said...

I am not kidding when I saw I made shirts for all the kids in my son's daycare room that says "[insert my kids name] for President".

Who knows, maybe he'll win.

the weirdgirl said...

I'm on the fence. I've seen some really funny tees that I would be tempted to put on my kid. But I'd be REAAALLY hesitant to slap any serious political statement on my child and then send them into a public place without me. There are just too many foaming-at-the-mouth crazies out there. I wouldn't put it past some adult to start lecturing my child (or worse) over a t-shirt.

Yeah, I'm that cynical (and paranoid). Plus, I don't think we should use our children to promote our political agendas (Ms. Palin).

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

I'm curious if you would look at something like a christening the same way? Or a vacation bible school t-shirt?

I wonder if it's different. Do we have the right to shape our kids politically? Or religiously? and I'm wondering that out loud in your comments. :-P

creative-type dad said...

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake -- Yes, we do.
Thankfully I haven't encountered any kids at my daughter's preschool wearing vacation bible school shirts and then a parent asking the preschooler about who they've preached to that day.

Denguy said...

I'd vote for Rooney Doodle.

carrie said...

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! So, she's voting for The Colonel, huh? Think I'll join her! :)

sari said...

What? Am I the only one who would pick SpongeBob?

wayabetty said...

Ok Tony, I want 6 of those t-shirts, do I really have to tell which t-shirt! Feel free to send them my way!!

Beverly said...

I want the kids to think for themselves. They know their dad and I cancel each other out, so I don't want them to have conflicted loyalties. LOL. No, really.

Daisy said...

What kittenpie said -- though my seven year old is an enthusiastic Obama supporter all on his own. He saved his allowance and donated it to the campaign and he's talked to his friend at school because he thinks it's stupid to vote for McC just because he was in the military.

Everything is a chance for a conversation. Let them decide for themselves. As long as they don't vote for Barney or TInky-Winky.

Madame Meow said...

I find that kind of scary and troubling too. There is an actual reason why the voting age is set at 18, which in some people is not protracted enough.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Madame Meow when she says, “I find that kind of scary and troubling…” any 3 year old who can identify with a fast food slogan is in real trouble.

Anonymous said...

This is too funny. One of my co-workers was telling us this morning that her 7 year old son said that he's voting for Obama. I fell out laughing because I'm like what does this kid know about politics. Well, my children are a little bit older 11, 14, 18, and 21. My 21 year old voted for the first time. He was so excited. He called me and said mom, I just wanted to let you know that I voted. We didn't discuss who he had voted for at all. My girls asked me mom, are you a democrat or republican? That was funny. My 18 year old, I believe, failed to register. Knuckle head! I don't really talk politics at work or with my kids. For the record, that means, no, I wouldn't let my children campaign if they were a young as that lady's daughter.

minime said...

I came to this site to actually try to figure out how to talk to my 4 year old about politics and figured out this was the wrong one. I mean really this country is based on having the right to have any opinion that you wish. What is the difference between a child wearing a certain political tshirt and maybe a tshirt representing a certain branch of the military. It all comes down to opinions. We have the right to dress our children any way we want too. I firmy believe it shows tolerance and if at preschool age we can teach our children to respect eachothers view points and differences then maybe the US will be better for them than it has for us.

JMCRigney@gmail.com said...

We have the right to shape our children and their beliefs. We have the right to dress our children any way we want (more or less) and turn them into bumper stickers if we so choose. However, I think the extremity and the problem here was not that she was influencing her child's opinion but asking her child to influence everyone else's opinion and actually campaign. As someone earlier said, it really isn't any different than any other slogan or campaign. Some people feel strongly against Disney. But, in general, you do not see them preaching at other children wearing Disney or even purposefully getting them to influence children who do like Disney.