Family Life: Kids, got homework, lunch, political rhetoric?

Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:04am EDT
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By Christopher Noxon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - My eldest son made his first public political statement at the tender age of three. It was just after President's Day and his preschool teacher asked if he could name the current president.

"George Bush," he said. "He's a bozo."

True, it was petty name calling. But seeing my son quoted in the school newsletter, I couldn't have been prouder. He not only had the right answer, he'd come up with what I felt was an impressively concise characterization of our commander-in-chief.

Never mind that the dear boy had no idea what he was saying, that he had no way of understanding the actual policies that contribute to Bush's bozo-ness. He had a hard enough time using a fork.

But if he was fuzzy on specifics, he clearly grasped the essential truth of the man. And so, like many other parents on both sides of the political divide, I fanned the flames of his partisanship. He could barely write his own name before he'd learned to say "universal health care."

At an Obama rally before the California primary, I hoisted him on my shoulders in the hopes that he'd get a little CNN facetime. It was ridiculous, but I couldn't help it -- all my familiar old convictions sounded so fresh coming from him. No one wants to hear a twitchy minivan dad rant about carbon emissions; the same material regurgitated by a fuzzy-haired kindergartner could soften the granite heart of Dick Cheney.

Of course I'm not the only parent to exploit his children for political gain. Parents now involve their offspring in politics like never before.

From mommy-and-me trips to campaign rallies to debates on the Nickelodeon series "Kids Pick the President," children are entering the political arena earlier, and with more fervor, than ever. "KIDS TALK POLITICS" "Kids get as worked up as the pundits on cable news," says Ken Sheetz, who interviewed more than 250 kids for his documentary "Kids Talk Politics," which can be viewed at   Continued...

<p>A boy boards a school bus wearing his father's opinions. REUTERS/Daniel Mather</p>