I just finished watching the Vice Presidential Debate with my 10 year old daughter, Lola.
As anyone who watched knows, it was a far more contentious discussion than the Presidential Debate a few weeks ago. Watching the Vice Presidential debate was a homework assignment for Lola and I was interested to hear her questions and commentary throughout.
I am used to hearing the usual media talking heads analyze and comment about the debates, but it was interesting to see the exchanges through the eyes of a fifth grader. Here is a short look at how my child (and many of our children) probably view the coming election and likely the political process as a whole.
- The Vice President seems old and stumbles on his words, is he nervous?
- Why aren’t they at podiums? It seems awkward to watch a conversation between two people.
- Could Ryan win as Vice President and Obama win as President? Why not? Don’t we want the best people for each job?
- Why is the older man laughing when the other man is talking? Doesn’t seem polite.
- I don’t understand what a Vice President’s job is. What does he do?
- When he says “friend” doesn’t he mean “frenemy”?
- Is there an intermission in this debate? There should be.
- The older man seems to find a lot of things funny.
- Why do they keep interrupting each other?
And my personal favorite “ what does malarkey mean?”.
Although amusing, Lola’s comments remind of an old book about learning everything you need to know in kindergarten. They also makes me think about the unbelievably argumentative tone our political system has taken on in the last two decades. Style and posturing seem to hold as much weight as substance and ideas.
Regardless of the outcome of next month’s election, to a ten year old, this whole process must look something like a bunch of grown-ups arguing on the playground.