Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Being Independent

I have written here before of my conservative sister who I love dearly. She and her husband with their children reside in a very conservative town where about 95 percent of the population vote Republican. Other family members live in the same town, but consider themselves moderates. They were for Obama immediately.

The day of the Springfield announcement a relative phoned me to say "this man will be our next president." Great! I was on board the minute the President-elect began exploring whether to run. I had been following him for a little while. After a few discussions, I could see my sister leaning toward the left, something she had not done since she first voted. She has been with her husband for 18 years and he is a McCain man.

My relatives would often phone me to share the sometimes heated conversations they had with my brother-in-law. It seemed like the children had adopted their dad's talking points and were repeating them often. Such brainwashing, I thought. But I guess if I had children I would also be talking to them about the differences between the two candidates, but perhaps not dictating what they should do. My mother always talked to us about national and international politics. We were always very much engaged.

Today my brother phoned to relay a story that my sister had recently told him. I thought it was the cutest story ever. On the day of the election she got the kids off to school and then prepared to go vote. My four-year old niece, who is very attached to the nanny, rarely asks if she could go along. That day she would not be left behind.

All the way to the polling station my sister said that my niece seemed happier than normal. She sang one song after another and just chatted endlessly about this or that. Standing in line people stopped to say how cute and bright this curly head kid was. I must admit that she's most adorable.

As they walked toward the polling booth, my niece said, with a very loud voice, as if she had waited until that very moment, "remember to vote for Barack Obama, Mama." But it was simply amazing that my four-year old niece had been following the debates between my brother-in-law and my brother and made up her own little mind which candidate she would choose.

My sister said that she had not publicly given her opinion, yet my niece had decided that she would go with her relatives and not her dad. If there's anything we are, we are most certainly independent thinkers.


Catvibe said...

This is so sweet! My brother's son went with him to the polling place to watch him vote for Barack. At the age of 10, he watched every debate, and was so excited about Obama. Not only has Obama invigorated the current generation of voters, he has inspired those who will be our next voters. And you know, somehow I trust the 'hope' of children and love that they can see that in Obama.

judith ellis said...

It's beautiful, Cat, "to trust the hope of children." Indeed! When my brother told me this story yesterday I was just so moved that my little niece had taken all of this in and decided for herself that Obama was the better candidate. I might also add that it is no mere coincident that she was born on my birthday. :-)

"And a child shall lead them."