Today , my baby girl voted! Wow, my daughter was able to really feel the power of demonstrating the expression of Choice, Selection, Freedom of Speech, and the magnitude of independent thinking~ Democracy!
As we were leaving the school, I overheard several students exclaiming to their parent, "they had voted". I didn't give it much thought because my daughter is just in 1st grade so I thought it was just the older kids whom had participated in this "mock" election.
However, later after arriving home, doing homework and our daily reading... I noticed a "I Voted today button" I asked hey did you vote today. She simply said, yes!
Later as we were cooking dinner and her dad arrived home she told him that she voted.... So I probed ... thinking she would tell me she voted for a "duck or other fictitious character as they did in schools around the world and in Mason co. (where they voted for books one that had a duck on the cover or another with a black character on front.... The Duck won! ~ when they interviewed some of the children.... One girl student expressed she voted for the black women character because she was a real person and she couldn't see a duck as President. They then interviewed a young boy and he said he voted for the duck... because he didn't want to elect the first Woman President. ~ Wow)
So....I probed and my daughter shared they actually voted for the people running in the news, so I asked ... who did you vote for... She smiled and proclaimed .. She voted for President Obama! Then she quickly said but when they (3 other classmates) surrounded me and asked "who I was voting for... I told them I voted for Romney", but when I got in that fake booth....it was a box Mommy.... I voted for who I wanted to vote for, Obama!
I inquired ... why did you tell them Romney... She said.... I told them what they wanted to hear. I was astonished with her answers. Why at 6 years old did she feel compelled to suppress her choice. Voter Intimidation at 6 years old? Ok, peer pressure I guess, but .... still I was blown away and speechless.
What could I say? I'm proud of you for voting the way you wanted to vote! Ask why did you feel like you couldn't tell them the truth? Why? What? I didn't know what to say.
I simply said, well I'm glad you got the opportunity to vote for the candidate you wanted to win . I'm proud of you.
In a place where we are supposed to have conditions that enables free and equal self-expression and social toleration, what happens even as young as the age of 6 that we feel a need to suppress?!
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