My husband and I have split political beliefs, which might be a head-scratcher to some because he and I are a great match. I understand from our life experiences why we have different politics and we both have learned to not only accept, but to even appreciate, those differences. Our conversations about politics are rich, sometimes heated, but always respectful. We are each other’s weathervane for what the other side thinks. Because of this, as my kids get older it has become evident that they have been exposed to both sides of political issues, and for this I am very proud as a parent.
A post on my local Nextdoor site grabbed my attention in a Twilight Zone kind of way. It was a few days before Halloween and a woman was conflicted whether she should answer the door to trick-or-treaters because last year, her first year in town, she had a terrible experience when kids bullied her on her own front porch as she handed them candy. The woman explained that she was born with facial abnormalities and has had several corrective surgeries during her life. She had grown used to the looks and stares children often give, but the brazenness she experienced from these children had left her “still shaken.”
When she opened the door to the trick-or-treaters– two small children and a teenager—without pause one of the younger ones fired off a chain of, “Why do you look like that?”
“Why are you smiling?” the teenager repeatedly barraged her with as well.
In 2008 I had an epiphany after listening to two acquaintances tell me why they thought their candidate- Barack Obama or John McCain- should be our next president. At the time, political rancor was boiling. Their stories were personal, capturing experiences they’d had as children that cemented how they would go on to vote as adults.
I defined these as “political shaping” stories and with every election since 2008 believe more strongly that hearing American citizens’ political shaping stories is what we need to mend the political divide we are suffering, to ease the national rancor that is now spewing over the sides. I brought sixteen of these unique stories together in my new book, How People Get Their Politics, which will be released by Motina Books on Sept. 22.
When schools shuttered in March most couldn’t have predicted it would be five months before children would go back and, even then, school wouldn’t be what they’d known. While most of our local children are starting school remotely from home this week, a few will be on campus for a little while, with how that looks varying. It felt like the Twilight Zone when my high schoolers were envious to learn their younger sister got to go back for half days before finishing the rest of her school day online. Less than a year ago my high schoolers were sent home because of a water line break and it was my middle schoolers who lamented the injustice.
All schools are in a no-win situation right now as they undertake an entire paradigm shift in quick time. The most controversial issue I’ve noticed surrounding schools is whether kids should be back physically and if so, how?
In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death #girldad began trending online. Among his many accomplishments, the basketball legend’s proudest role was being a dad. He was vocal about his love of having all daughters, so much so that when teammates teased him last year when his wife Vanessa gave birth to the couple’s fourth girl, Bryant responded that he’d “have five more daughters” if he could.