I'll spare you all the rant about how I've never felt like either party truly represents me and how they both seem dominated by special interest groups. The point is that I was raised by liberal parents in a very liberal state (Massachusetts), graduated from a pretty liberal university, and now live in an ultraliberal area. Yet somehow I wound up turned off by liberalism, and the older I've gotten, the more conservative I've become.
I cringed, therefore, when I saw the article on parents trying to "party-train" their kids on CNN.com. They're dressing their little ones in achingly hip partisan clothing:
David Kaplan-Perkins of Chicago wears a "My Mama's for Obama" shirt. He's 7...[David's mom Jackie] Kaplan, a lesbian, also dresses him in shirts supporting gay rights, one of which reads "Let My Parents Marry."
"Sure, we cringe when we see a child wear an anti-choice shirt," Kaplan says. "And I am sure conservatives may do the same when they see David wearing our family's politics on his chest. But we all want our children to share our values, and these shirts are one of the ways we get to express that."
...Nuggets for little ones include dueling digs that read, "I Only Cry When Democrats Hold Me" and "I Only Cry When Republicans Hold Me." There are the basics, too, such as a stick figure holding up a sign that says "Mommy and Me for Hillary!" and a shout-out to the GOP: "Bush is my homeboy."
So what happens if these kids grow up and come to hold different political beliefs from their parents? Is Ms. Kaplan going to disown David if he becomes a "born-again" Christian and votes Republican? What happens to a "Weepublican" who grows up to discover that he/she truly believes that government is the solution and not the problem?
I'm all for parents being free to raise their children in accordance with their own family's values. But I don't think that includes political brainwashing. It's one thing for a parent to say to the child, these are my values and that's why I support this particular candidate. It's quite another to dress a young child as a walking political advertisement.
That also goes for homeschoolers who involve their preteen children in political activism. These kids aren't mature enough to objectively consider both sides and then make up their own minds- they're just parroting whatever their parents are telling them in an attempt to gain parental approval.
*I'm not really pro-McCain as much as I dislike him less than the rest of the candidates running.