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.