His dad and I discuss who to vote for, in front of the kid. For primaries, we clip all articles about candidates from the newspaper as we see them and put them in a stack with ads that come in the mail; then we leaf through all those and see if we have enough info and, if not, look up the people on the Web. WE ALWAYS VOTE in every election, even if there's nothing "really important" on the ballot.
Before the presidential election, we watched the conventions and debates. EnviroKid was very interested in these, moreso than we expected given that he was only three-and-a-half. We turned on closed captioning so we didn't miss any parts of the speeches while answering his questions. We explained a lot of the things we were reacting to. He understood some parts quite well ("Barack Obama wants to share the money, but John McCain thinks sharing is bad!") and he even noticed some things we didn't, of which these are my two favorites:
1. "Sarah Palin is not smart enough to be president, because look at her shoes! HIGH-HEELED SHOES ARE BAD FOR YOU!!!"
2. After watching Obama's acceptance and McCain's concession speech: "When Barack Obama said, 'John McCain,' the people clapped nicely. But when John McCain said, 'Barack Obama,' the people made mean noises." (I pointed out that McCain told the crowd to stop that.)I was raised to be politically active myself
, and it worked out pretty well. Although I started out believing everything my parents believed, primarily they were teaching me how to think through complex ideas, so by puberty I was forming some opinions that differed from theirs, and as an adult I have quite different stances on a few issues.