Friday, September 9, 2011

4th Grade Politics

They say all politics is local. I'd say all politics is elementary, at least it should be.

A announced on Tuesday that she planned to run for student council representative from her class. She thought she would like to meet with other kids to decide how things should be run at the intermediate school.

At dinner we talked about my student government experience in high school and in college. I was VP of Communications at my alma mater, Miami University. "Let Meg Pauken Do Your Talkin' " was my slogan. I told her about my nightly canvassing through all the dorms on campus, the student center and the library. We talked about the responsibility and the honor of being elected by your classmates to represent them. We all remembered canvassers visiting our home during the 2008 presidential primary and general election seasons.

After dinner, she wrote a short stump speech:

"Hi. My name is Anna. I am 9 years old. I have one sister, 2 cats and a dog. I would like to be on student council so I can help decide how things should happen at school. I like science and I like to think about how to do things better. I am good at thinking of new ways to solve problems. Thank you for voting for me."

We talked about the fact that she might not win, but it was awesome that she was brave enough to go for it.

Wednesday afternoon she bounced in from the bus. "How did it go today?" I asked.

"Fine. I didn't win but I'm not upset about it."

Ever the consoler, I offered, "Well, you haven't even been in school with these kids for 2 weeks and since you were new in the middle of last year, I'm sure a lot of them don't even really know you yet."

"Oh, no, Mom, I don't think that had anything to do with it. I got 2 votes but I almost got 3. One girl was going to vote for me but she got my name confused; she thought I was somebody else.

"The kid who won, he deserved to win. He had a really great idea. He is going to get them to put in a water filter because our water tastes terrible. He said it made somebody throw up. That's a great idea - it really does taste bad. Plus he gave everybody a dum-dum."

"So, do you think you'll try again next year?"

"Oh, yeah, I will, but I'm going to bring some candy to give out next time."

Who needs a course in government? She just learned about listening to the constituents, developing a relevant platform and campaign tactics all in the first two weeks of school. Can I say I am proud of her grace and pragmatism in the face of losing? I just wish she could teach that to the big boys in Washington!