The first presidential debate aired the other night. I semi-watched almost half of it as I made dinner and couldn’t stomach the rest (the debate, not the dinner). So I turned it off. I find the morning after rehashing to be much more interesting and palatable. Kind of like when I was in college and “couldn’t make” a lecture – I would buy the professional note taker’s notes. Sure, some gets lost in translation, but the upside in the old days when hauling a word processer to class wasn’t an option was that I could actually read their notes.
I’m not a political junky but I listen to talk radio on a fairly regular basis. These days, mostly NPR and some political talk shows sprinkled in. There’s been an uptick in my desire to listen to political talk radio with the upcoming election. That’s generally been a Shana pattern in my adult life. Margaret can’t stand it. She has this mental block when it comes to talk radio. They could be offering her first row tickets to a Sean Mendez concert (her favorite artist) with a personal tour of his dressing room at the end if she listened attentively and she’d hear jibberish. Which is a shame because I think she could learn a lot from the discourse, even if she doesn’t subscribe to the talk radio host’s views. I think part of the fun of listening to talk radio is that you can talk, even – yell – at what they are saying without them getting mad at you. It’s often therapeutic.
Margaret knows of my utter disdain for Donald Trump. I have communicated to her that I feel very strongly that if Trump becomes the president, the message it sends is that it is OK to be a bully and to denigrate other people, particularly women. As a mother of two girls, I find it unconscionable to vote for someone who embodies that message. No matter what policies he (allegedly) supports that I may also support, far more damage to the soul of this country will be done if he is elected in my opinion. I think Margaret understands that perspective.
As a parent, I don’t share my opinion with her with the intention that she will blindly accept mine as her own. I’d be a liar if I wasn’t happy if she was influenced as a result of my opinions, largely because it means less arguments with her, which we already have an excess of (look Ma, I ended a sentence with a preposition). But the intention behind my opining isn’t to manipulate her. I don’t want Margaret to blindly accept my husband’s or my politics (of which we increasingly are not aligned thanks to Trump) without careful consideration; I did that growing up – just blindly accepted my parents’ political views because it was easier to outsource my own than try to understand what mine really were to begin with. No, I want Margaret (and her younger sister) to listen to and thoughtfully consider both sides of the argument.
I also think its more important that Margaret not identify with a particular party’s platform so much as parse out what the issues really are and apply her own morals and beliefs to them. But I can’t tell her that – because like everything else, she’ll just hear me preaching. So I turn on talk radio, mostly because I selfishly want to listen to it, but also because there’s that chance that somehow, while Margaret is tuning out, there is a small part of her that is unconsciously open to what is being said. And that it is making its way to the long term memory files in her brain so that she can access them one day, when she is old enough to vote.