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Wednesday
Mar052008

The Leaning Tower of Politics

Growing up, my parents stressed the importance of voting and exercising your civic duty upon my impressionable mind. They made a big deal of elections and when I finally turned 18 and could cast my first ballot, they drove me to the voting station and proudly watched as I marked my very first X.

I don't remember who I voted for but I remember thinking that it was my very first adult responsibility and I was proud of myself for participating in our democratic elections.

My party lost. But that didn't matter to me; all that mattered was the fact I voted. My voice was heard. It may have helped if I hadn't voted for the Marijuana party, but hey, I was 18.

After my parents had voted I remember asking them whom they had voted for. They refused to tell me because they didn't want to influence my ideologies and they wanted me to make my own informed decision without any influence from them.

It didn't matter how much I wheedled and needled them, they weren't going to spill the beans. To this day, I still have no idea who they support but I'm fairly confident it isn't the dope smokers. Just a hunch.

I'm now a bit of an election hound. I love politics. Not enough to consider tossing my hat into the ring, but enough to soak up every bit of election trivia I can get my mitts on and suck it up like a sponge. I only wish Canadian politics was half as feisty as those Yankee elections.

But we Canucks are a quieter breed. We're still a dirty people; we just tend to keep it in the bedroom and out of the elections. Sooo boring. Mind you, after taking a look at our past and current leaders, I can only offer a prayer of thanks. I really don't want to be imagining any of them getting busy on a blue dress. Ew.

Unlike my parents, there is much screaming and yelling civil debate about politics in our home. Boo has a wildly different political ideology than I do. If it were up to him, the world would all be doing a stiff legged march with a pert salute, as all bowed to his iron will. If it were left to me, well, let's just say we'd all be seeing rainbows and unicorns and having a good time. Wink, wink.


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Boo likes to say it's animal control. I like to say he has no soul.



Because Boo and I have such vast political leanings, it has never troubled me to talk politics in front of our children. As we shout at each other politely discuss one party's platform versus another, our children get to hear both sides of the spectrum and form their own opinions.

I can't help it if they grow up and choose my ideology because they love me more I am more articulate with my thoughts and better prepared to debate. Heh heh.

Recently, the beautiful and bountiful province of Alberta underwent the electoral process to elect the government. I kept waiting for things to heat up like the American primaries that I avidly follow and drool over, but it was nothing but a snooze fest. Yawn.

Still, it goes against every fiber of my being to be apathetic and I mustered up the bare minimum of interest. Come election day, I picked my kids up at lunchtime and hauled them off to the polling station with me. I think it is important that they see the democratic process in action.

I mean, all those middle-aged women volunteering to man the polls is truly exciting. Are they going to knit or will they be reading a book? Will it be a romance smut novel or a bloodthirsty mystery? Talk about the height of excitement.

After staring at a row of rural maps and trying to figure out just where the fack I live and what polling station to vote at, I gathered the troops up and marched over to cast my ballot. Fric and Frac were excited to be included in the process. Read: I promised to buy them an icecream if they didn't act like Satan's Spawn for fifteen minutes and didn't induce any heart palpitations in the elderly.

As I went to mark my X in the candidate of choice, I briefly explained to the kids who each person was and what their party stood for. Of course, I remained neutral and diplomatic. I would never try and shove my own personal leftist spin down their throats. Heh, heh. They were about as interested in my highly educational speech as they are in putting their laundry away. Still, they kept their mouths shut and pretended like I wasn't sucking their brain matter out their noses with a straw.

The lure of icecream at lunch hour on a school day is a powerful incentive.

I had to threaten them to be quiet about my left leanings inside the polling station as I was surrounded by a pack of gun-toting Conservatives who would think nothing of tarring and feathering me before burning me on the altar of their Ann Coulter loving ways.

I'm blonde. I'm not stupid.

As I drove them back to school, they happily licked and slurped their cones as I droned on and on about why it is so important to vote in an election. Even if the election is as terminally boring as this one was.

"People died defending our freedom and right to choose our leaders," I said.

Slurp, slurp.

"You can't complain if you don't vote," I continued.

Lick, lick.

"The world will come to a screeching halt if I ever discover either of you were too damned lazy to get off your skinny little arses and cast a ballot. Hot pokers in the belly button will be nothing next to the wrath of your politically crazy mother if she ever finds out you morphed into an apathetic, mindless twit who doesn't have the sense God gave a gopher. Got that?" I promised.

They momentarily looked up from their cones and gave me the "Holy Shit! Our mother is Bat Shat crazy!" look and then promised to always vote as they resumed their ministrations at hand.

As I was shoving them out of my car to send them back to the land of teeny boppers and mean girls, Frac turned around and asked me whom I voted for.


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"It doesn't matter who I voted for Frac. It just matters that I voted," I emphasized. "Now get to class."

"Come on Frac, let's go." Fric tugged at her brother. I felt a moment of parental pride as I watched the two of them trudge off together. They're growing up so fast.

Then I heard Fric turn to her brother and tell him, "She voted for the same party she always does. The losers. Just check to see who came in last place and you'll know who Mom voted for."

Damn. She's smart, I thought as started rolling up the window.

"When I grow up, I'm voting like Dad. He only votes for the winners," Fric told her brother. My jaw dropped as I watched them high five one another and giggle as they walked through the school doors.

Apparently, my work is NOT done here. I must get better at either selling my ideology to them or resign myself to the fact I am raising not one, but two Alex P. Keatons.

Heaven help me.


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I must work harder to avoid this. The unicorns need me.

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Reader Comments (49)

I vote for Unicorns and Rainbows too!

Its funny, my grandparents "discuss politics" much like it sounds you and Boo do...but who they end up voting for is still a mystery.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCourtneyRyan

Too funny! I love unicorns and rainbows but we tend to be more conservative politically. However, my kid still won't let it go that I voted democrat in the last presidential election. Really. She likes to bring it up in front of people and guests even tho we are talking about football or cupcakes. The room gets very very quiet and she has this knowing haughty look like "yep! my mom is incorrigible! AND a loser."

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTempered Woman

Yet another reason to move yourself east, to the land of unicorns and rainbows.

Like you, my preferred political party will never take an election (not for a while anyhow), so instead I toss my vote to "whoever is most likely to beat the blue guys".

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

Good for you. Too many of us dont vote and dont realize the value of it.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbove Average Joe

LOL - nice post. That's why I don't align myself with one or the other political parties. I vote on the issues that are most important to me... if I agree more with Alex P Keaton, so be it... next time I might agree more with the Unicorn.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSugarplumsmom

Loved this post!

I also voted even though I loathe politics in Alberta. The only way the PC's will ever lose is if their party platform includes randomly murdering innocent citizens or something equally awful. And even then, I have my doubts that they would ever leave office. Being the sad little socialist I am, I'm ever so giddy that I live in one of the whopping two NDP ridings in the province. Finally I get to vote for the winner, even if he'll never be Premier.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterandi

Ha, I love this post. When my hubby and I met, he bled Tory blue and I always voted orange. Now, he's the Green Party candidate in our riding for the next federal election.

We don't know how mixing blue and orange made Green, but at least we don't have shouting matches... er, thoughtful and reasoned debate... over the dinner table anymore.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I love unicorns! The kitten cartoon made me spew coke all over my screen. Sweet!

Way to educate your kids! My parents taught me nothing. Which is why I have form my own ideals and they are nothing like theirs. Probably a good thing they left me alone.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

My oldest will vote for the first time in this, Presidential cycle. We have spent a lot of time discussing things... I am almost certain that we will not be voting for the same candidate.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGunfighter

We are killing kittens over here. Hehe!!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

good for you for including your kids in a lesson about your basic civil duty! too many people don't vote and still complain about elected officials, and too many children grow up not caring about the politics in their country. it pains me to think about the 18 year olds who don't vote for president, but vote for american idol.
my bf and i also have wildly different political views, and i'm generally right. this causes much friction. although lately, i think he's beginning to get fed up with the system. i've even caught him watching ralph nader on pbs when he thinks i'm sleeping... so there's hope for you yet!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSupergirl

My husband and I have total arguments about who to vote for, which party is better, etc etc. And, we love election night. We eat popcorn and watch to see who wins. My son, who's almost 4, doesn't get it at all, but I hope he will eventually appreciate the process.
I almost had a heart attack when my sister told me she just votes for whomever her husband votes for because he reads the paper. She was shocked when I sent over newspaper clippings on all our local candidates and told her she could vote for who she wanted, but she had to decide for herself.
I'm such a dork!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLD

You may have a point there. The person I vote for always looses also. I think I am bad luck. This time I am going to vote for the person I don't want to win. That'll do it!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrishk

Josh and I are on opposite sides of the fence. It actually gives me a bit of pleasure to know I am neutralizing his vote. :)

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKyla

We're completely opposite too. Our kids had mock elections in their schools for the primaries. It was fun to actually be able to talk to them about the issues and have them already have some knowledge.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLori

husband and I did our duty because we believe that voting is the only way to earn your right to bitch about the government, but when we tried to include our son (sixth-grader) in Monday's excitement but he informed us that he'd already finished the unit on government in social studies, thanks, and therefore had nothing to gain by watching us stand in line or mark an X.

the close race by the wildrose alliance for their one seat was pretty exciting... especially since in our little corner of redneckville there are no surprises

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlorahoney

I'm sorry, I can't stop laughing at that kitten picture....

Hilarious!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercreative-type dad

I remember asking my mom who she voted for one time and I got the "Asking someone who they voted for is rude" speech. I remember wondering if she knew who Dad voted for, but I didn't ask because I thought it would violate the 'asking who another person voted for is rude" rule.

So I never got to hear any interesting political debates. Sigh. I was so deprived.

You'd fit right in on Salt Spring Island! Keep swimming upstream.......

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMescalero

We're similar! :D

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRuby Redux

The Redneck and I "discuss" politics "passionately" as well. I like to say he's an ultra conservative and I'm reasonable.
But our kids are turning into little Alex's as well. I think it's because he works out of town and they don't know what he's REALLY like.
He jokes and says if he had known I voted Green party in the 98 election, he never would have married me.
At least I THINK he's joking.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McKenzie

(Squish) Damn!

(crunch) Mother whore of a..

(purr..hisss...silence) Crap-Crap-Crappity-Crap!

Damn kittens keep getting in the way.

Yep, it's your favorite, friendly, greedy, Alex P. Keaton is God and I named my daughter after Ronald Reagan Republican here! Hullo!

By the way, my kids call 'em Democraps. Yep, I'm not at all about neutrality. However, I totally agree about voting. Put up or shut up. Don't vote? Too bad, that means my blue vote counts for double.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScout's Honor

Jason is conservative republican and I'm liberal independent, leaning towards democrat. I'm actually turning him...

Take THAT Winston Churchill!

Yes, the unicorns do need you.

You can't expect the fairies to feed them all by themselves.

At least that's what they told me at the last town meeting.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

LOL - CDN politics are a snore compared to what's going on in the US.
Politics are a hot debate between I & Rhino as he is a skateboarding conservative. Who knew!! Trade in the engagement ring now!!!! But we hotly debate things in a "cohesive" manner, so we're ok. He finds it odd I wouldn't just vote for Hillary on the female premise. I remind him constantly my brain has finished growing since birth and I tend to use it.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJosie

I do love me some voting!

I have never missed an election and have a newspaper clipping of my great-grandmother being wheeled into the polling place on a gurney to vote.

I don't know what I would do if it turned out I'd spawned a Republican!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

Luckily the hubs and I see pretty much eye to eye. But then, he knows way more than I do.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAll Adither

Ha, I am just as sad as you when it comes to this stuff, if not sadder. Last couple of elections, we have gone to vote and then run a mock election at home for our two boys (aged 9 and 7). Ballot box made from shoe box, accurate copies of the real ballot papers and even the cat had a vote (she was allowed to wander over a paper on the floor, and deemed to vote for the candidate her front paw touched first). We get mailshots in the post from the winning candidate and my now 8 year old always smugly points out that he was the only one in the family that voted for him!

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLoth

When we were first married, my husband went so far as to get himself elected mayor on the "you can't bitch if you don't participate" ticket. That learned him good.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGette

Ah my dear sweet ice creamy Alberta--always voting in vanilla, year after year, decade after decade, all because they are afraid of a little Rocky Road. Mmmmm Rocky Road is tasty. It's good for the soul. It's chunky and delightful. When I lived in Alberta, I was in Redmonton. I can only imagine the struggles of your leftie heart out there on the great plains.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMad

Delurking to say that NO, you don't want to live in the States - our politics are batshit crazy-out-of-control..........

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

That's very admirable that you try to give the kids an even-handed view of the political spectrum! I, on the other hand, take every opportunity I can to whisper subversive tidbits to my children in order to ensure that they don't grow up with their conservative father's Reagan-is-a-God views!

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

I love that pic of the cat.

In the US, we no longer debate, we scream.

Its fire and brimstone, but its a leveling process. We only can take one side for so long, then we have to change, a pendulum swing.

So now we are getting rid of the cowboy, all hat, no cattle, and we will replace him with either the retread old fart, the bitch or the black guy.

Me, I want Hillary to win. But only because I want to see how many more BJ's Bill can get when he is at the white house, alone, hosting those parties that first ladies, I mean first gentlemen get to do while the bitch, I mean hillary is off in latvia getting gored by some reindeer.

He will bring a new level of funny to the old white house for sure.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlarrylily

My husband and I always seem to vote for the "losers", too when we were in AB. Although, out here in northern ON, we're in mining union country, and here, our vote actually went to the winners (think orange, my friend). Sweet...

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Mustard

Me too...I guess I kind of tend to vote for the "losers" also.

Had I not partied too much I'd have graduated with a Poli Sci degree and who knows where I'd be at this point. I used to be so passionate about pursuing a career in the political arena and then quickly became disenchanted. That said, I still follow the elections and always pray that the candidate I'm backing will actually win for once.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWorker Mommy

Except for the Clinton years we've always voted for the losers. Dang I miss Bill & Willy. The White House was never more fun. Oh and I've voted in every election possible since turning 18. Even the primaries.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBennie

They're still young and impressionable. You still have time!

My husband and I typically vote for the same party, but this year we have chosen different candidates within that party. It's made for some rather ... lively ... discussions round these parts.

March 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterArkie Mama

Love the pic of the cat, and I love Unicorns :-)! As for politics go luckily hubby and aren't much into them. I have voted a few times in the last 13 years but I don't ever remember hubby going to vote. I do wish that I knew more about politics as the little guys seem to know more than myself...yikes!

March 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Most of the time, my husband and I agree. I think its so important to encourage your children to vote...good work....regarding always picking the losers your right..what matters is that you are exercising your right to vote...

Your kids are adorable...just like mom with their sense of humor..

My best,
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram
www.grammology.com

March 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy Stahlnecker

This is why we don't really talk politics much around here - I get too aggravated and I can't take how different our views are on some stuff. I mean, he seems like a nice guy 98% of the time, so how can he vote that way? What the hell?

March 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkittenpie

You really could make your own sitcom outta the stuff your kids come up with.

March 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMac and Cheese

I voted for the Dope Party when I was 18, too.

And when I was 19, and 20...and...

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermamatulip

My wife and I always cancel each other's vote out. It pisses me off. I save unicorns while she kills kittens.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchildsplayx2

Ours is a politically divided house as well.

its freaking embarrassing how conservative my art school husband is.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrazymumma

He votes for the winners...heh. Depends who you ask, I suppose.

Perhaps you and Boo should go on Meet the Press and give Matalin and Carville a run for their money.

March 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermothergoosemouse

Unfortunately as a Canadian living in the States, I am unable/not allowed to vote in either country. I'm from Alberta myself originally, and its pains me to see how strong the "P"C hegemony still is. Are there any kittens at all left in Alberta?

March 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I agree with Chris, our politics are bat shit crazy out of control. I read somewhere vote for the nut with 2 boobs, the boob with 2 nuts or the old guy. I know that could get me tarred and feathered here. I will vote, I guess I will close my eyes and hope for the best.

March 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjustmylife

That kitten button is fantastic!

I feel your pain though. My husband kills a couple of kittens every year. I'm still waiting for my unicorns to show up. But I WILL win the battle for our children's souls!

June 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLawyer Mama

[...] Editors note by Mr Lady at Whiskey in my Sippy Cup: If you’ve ever read Redneck Mommy’s blog, you’ll know that politics isn’t exactly her blogging MO. However, the beauty of Tanis’ blog is the rollercoaster it takes you on. It’s light-hearted and silly and shocking and naughty and heartbreaking and uplifting and occasionally, it’s quite pointedly political. She and I are both closet politics junkies, and I’m happy to have outed her today. You can subscribe to her blog here, and read her original post here. [...]

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