Anyone else feel a little underwhelmed by this election season? Sure, there's been enough drama surrounding various Senate and House races to fill a few Saturday Night Live sketches, but it's been hard for me to drum up much enthusiasm for any of the races happening in D.C.
Two years ago, though, now there was an election! I was exciting to be part of such a historic moment and to share it with my third graders. In 2008, passions ran high among both the McCain and Obama supporters. This being the highly democratic District of Columbia, though, the McCain camp was sorely outnumbered. Spontaneous chants of, "Obama! Obama!" would break out during class and I had to have several conversations about how everyone was entitled to his or her own opinion. "It's OK for someone else to like a different candidate than you do," I'd say. "It's not nice to say a candidate, 'sucks.'" "There will be no more vandalism of the McCain and Obama photos in our Time for Kids news magazine." Yes, passions ran high indeed.
This year, though--eh.
I didn't do nearly as many election lessons as in 2008, but I did go through a PowerPoint overview of the voting process and pictures of the different candidates for D.C. mayor and non-voting congressional delegate ahead of last week's mock election. I purposely omitted the one candidate for delegate who published complete nonsense as her official platform. Sorry, but "The state of California has kidnapped my children" does not constitute a stance on the issues. Perhaps I should have left it in, though, to demonstrate how literally ANYONE can get on the ballot!
I scrolled through a few photos of the mayoral hopefuls along with a summary of their political positions. The content of a candidate's message, however, didn't factor at all in the decision for some of the third grade mock voters. The photo was all that was needed for Keona to make up her mind.
As pictures of two men running for mayor filled the screen, Keona muttered under her breath, "I ain't voting for no man!"
Not to be outdone in this categorical rejection of candidates based solely on their gender being different from one's own gender, Thomas answered from across the room under his breath, "I ain't voting for no lady!"
There are some very good reasons why third graders are relegated to the realm of mock elections.
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