My son is ten years old and in the fifth grade. As with many boys his age, science is a particular favorite subject. He often regales me with his latest lessons on the car ride home at the end of his school day; like many other parents, I react appropriately even when I am not necessarily listening. I encourage his enthusiasm while not always sharing it.
I believe in childhood as a sacred, whimsical time of developing character and imagination; for this reason my son is not allowed electronics or internet access (unless he is researching a school project). We do permit him television under supervision. Even so, it has been difficult to shield him from all the input I would prefer to shield him from. In this election cycle especially, it has been impossible for him to remain unexposed to the likes of Donald Trump…much to my dismay.
I do not believe in the indoctrination of children into a political party; I believe in teaching the morals and values from which their eventual political beliefs will evolve. I was raised by moderate Republicans, but the principals and ethics they shared with my siblings and I were very much an influence in me developing more liberal ideals. It is very important to me that my child know his own mind and not simply parrot my views.
“With age comes wisdom” is one of those truisms that the more I age, the less true it seems; so we will file this one under “out of the mouths of babes”. In his beloved science class, my son has recently been studying astronomy. The other night at dinner, he quite suddenly declared that this year’s Republican race brought this subject to mind. When we asked him to elaborate, this is what he said:
“Well, first of all Ted Cruz is like the sun. Everybody thinks the sun is great until they get burned. And you can’t look directly at it without being blinded.” I found this wonderfully apropos, as Cruz is a climate change denier and therefore quite obviously blind. He has stated that “climate change is not science, it’s religion”. Fortunately for us, most people will accept the authority of actual scientists over priests on this subject, especially 10 year old boys.
Ted Cruz has been called “one of the most extreme individuals ever to run for office”. He uses a lot of hell and brimstone terminology to explain his positions, recently stating “the whole world is on fire” due to Obama’s foreign policies. Ironically, it seems he prefers it that way…his own intended foreign policy for dealing with the Middle East is this: “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!” Yes, he did say that out loud. Presumably he understood people could hear him.
Aside from the fact that murdering innocent people is morally reprehensible, carpet bombing is also a war crime. Ted Cruz is a dangerous blowhard full of hot air; like the sun he is a just giant ball of gas. And I do believe that Cruz supporters are distracted by his big shiny surface and often missing his more alarming proclivities. The closer you get to the reality of this candidate, the more and more likely it becomes that you will be scorched.
My son then continued, “Donald Trump is like the moon. He can’t support any life, but he is affecting the tides of change on our planet and bringing out all the crazies.” Of course this bit of insight is quite profound. The moon has no significant atmosphere and the temperatures are always extreme—either boiling hot or freezing cold—and is therefore uninhabitable. The word “lunatic” (aka “Trump supporter”) literally means “moon sick”—its victims are affected with a temporary insanity dependent on the changes of the moon.
A 10 year old can clearly see the unworthiness of such a candidate because he has been educated that things like bullying, sexism, racism and exclusion are empirically wrong. He was taught the acronym C.A.R.E.S. in elementary school as a code of conduct: Cooperation, Assertion (to speak up against bullying), Respect, Empathy and Self-Control. Donald Trump exhibits exactly NONE of these qualities; we can only hope that his “moon sick” supporters will soon recover from their (hopefully) temporary insanity.
Finally, the boy explained John Kasich…”John Kasich represents the earth. Because our planet is an example of the Goldilocks Effect; not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right for everyone to be able to live.” This may be his greatest piece of wisdom. The Goldilocks Principal (its name is derived from the tale of the three bears) states that in any given sample (in this case the Republican candidates) there will be entities belonging to extremes (Trump and Cruz) but there will always be an entity representing the average (Kasich).
John Kasich has said “I’m a believer in bipartisanship”, explaining that his “elections are not really about campaigns” but are instead a “movement”. What is John Kasich’s intended movement? “To restore common sense”. This is the voice the Republican Party so desperately needs and has foolishly chosen to ignore. Common sense may not be “sexy”, but it is surely the most sane and effective tool any of us has at our disposal at any given time.
So my 10 year old has a better bead on this election than most adults I know. His recognition of Kasich as the reasonable choice made me curious…if he were old enough, is this the candidate that would get his vote? Nope. Turns out, my son has been feeling the Bern all along. And even though I personally would love to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime, I couldn’t be any prouder of him for knowing his own mind.