05 November 2008

Trickle down intolerance

OK, Rant time. My kids have been very interested in the election this year. My biggest ones are going to be old enough to vote in the next Presidential election, so I've tried to keep them informed. We watch debates and interviews, read stories online - I even had one son texting me election returns last night while I was at his brother's football game. I've had to warn them to keep their opinions to themselves at school, because we do live in Collin County, after all. I've personally witnessed some appalling intolerance from adults - I could only imagine what uninformed children would come up with.

Well, I don't have to imagine any more. My children came home from school today with all sorts of stories about the McCain supporters at school. There were high school students who dressed all in black and wore signs proclaiming the end of the world as we know it. Other teenagers who wore shirts with "NObama" on the back - those kids had to remove/change their shirts. Thank goodness for that. Any child can wear a political candidate's name on their shirt (or a button) but it seems that the derogatory ones are not welcome.

Then, there are the discussions. One child is going to move to Switzerland to escape the downfall of this country. Another says that the terrorists have taken over. There is the ever-present "because he's a Muslim" or he's a terrorist" and what day would be complete if some pre-pubescent child didn't proclaim that Obama was worthless because "he's going to raise our taxes and we won't have any money left for anything!!" One young lady at the high school swears that she has video of Obama actually admitting that he's Muslim. Gosh, can you just imagine what Fox News would give to have THAT tape!! She's going to college next year.

The level of ignorance about the facts doesn't really surprise me coming from children - they are notoriously uninformed on many subjects. But, in this case, the information is coming from their parents. Kids don't spontaneously watch news shows and become informed about political issues on their own. It has to start with the parents watching Fox (or whoever) and railing about all the "scary" things that will happen to us if Obama is elected. Then, the children come to school and talk about it with their friends. The viscious cycle is then complete. They all repeat the lies to each other until everyone accepts it as fact because they heard the same thing from 5 different people - it must be true, right?

Not only will my children be voting in 4 years, but SO WILL THEIR PEERS. Yes, the same peers that are so woefully uninformed right now. They are quickly progressing towards becoming part of the over-reactive, blind-faith-based, insult-hurling, mud-slinging Republican base that idolized Sarah Palin. Hopefully having an intelligent leader will help to counteract the rampant ignorance.

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