Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Middle School Mock (the) Election

We had a mock election at the middle school today. Box Elder County, as you might guess, is excessively conservative, so I expected many students to vote straight ticket. In an effort to get them to really consider candidates instead of parties, I strongly discouraged straight-ticket voting when I handed ballots to my advisory students. I explained that most intelligent adults consider individual platforms when voting. I even went so far as to say *gasp* it may be a touch irresponsible to vote straight party.

After the ballots came in, I glanced through them. And guess what? Nobody had filled in the "straight ticket" bubble! However, all but two students had filled in individual bubbles for all the republican candidates. *palm to forehead*

Of course the vast majority of students simply voted the way their parents are voting. (Emma voted the way Brock and I are voting, though she was on the other side of the aisle from the majority here.) So all you parents out there who think your children don't listen to you--you're wrong. They soak up all your opinions, and many times they interpret them in crazy town ways and spout them back to their friends at school. For example, here are a few things I overheard students saying in my classroom today:
  • If Obama wins, he'll take away all our money.
  • If Obama wins, he'll just get shot anyway.
  • If Obama wins, the economy will just get worse.
  • If Obama wins, the whole country will have riots.
  • Obama is a socialist.
  • Obama is a fascist.
  • Obama is going to take away all our guns!
  • Obama scares the crap out of me.
  • Obama is a Muslim.
  • Obama hates Mormons.
  • Obama is the anti-Christ.

Oh dear. I just have to bite my tongue! I mean, sheesh! Why such hatred? I really don't understand this. They can be pro-McCain without bashing Obama, can't they? I try to ask students to tell me why they support McCain instead of why they hate Obama--and they generally can't come up with a single reason.

I suppose they are quite young, and maybe I shouldn't expect them to think on their own yet, but I would love to help them understand that they should at the very least understand what their "opinions" are based on.

Actually, I would love it if more adults could vocalize why they support their candidate. It seems like lunch time talk is all centered on vague rumors and feelings rather than actual platforms.

It will be nice to have the highly charged atmosphere neutralized in a few days (after everyone calms down from their initial freak-out mode after Obama wins!)

Hope y'all voted!


Soul-Fusion said...

I voted and am loving the results so far . . .

Tiffany said...

My vote counted yesterday for the first time in my life. I am proud to say that I helped elect Obama. I am in agreement with almost all of his policies, but more importantly I believe in his message.

Today I believe that any American can be anything they want to be, and that America herself can be so much more than she has been. (And she's been some pretty amazing things...)

So, tell your hateful middle-schoolers that they can suck it. Just kidding. Tell them that I believe in them too.