Oct. 25, 2012
Parental Party candidate wins debate
It is the season of debates, when one side goes toe-to-toe with the other, each certain they know best, they have all of the answers, they can fix any problem, right any wrong, cure any ill.
It’s maddening, isn’t it? The way our kids want to belabor each and every point even when there is no point to be made, not understanding that there is no rebuttal to my order to clean their rooms or remove a bicycle from the driveway.
Just as the president and challenger will stand in front of a national audience to blame someone, anyone, other than themselves for the problems today, so will my kids deny they spilled that milk or lost the television remote. They will rush to tattle on a sibling for the scattered game of Monopoly left on the floor, and argue over whether 82 is too hot for a jacket, until I lock them all out of the house.
What my kids fail to grasp is that this house is not a democracy, there will be no votes on policy, no majority will set a course of hot dogs for supper and cake just before that. This is a one-party system, and that is the Parental Party.
If this population of children wants to hold their own convention to garner support for a contender to the seat of president, the seat at the head of the dinner table, then they are welcome to do so. There will, however, be no debate over who vacuums up all of that confetti and bundles up the dropped balloons.
My writing this is an exercise in diplomacy (some might say futility), but the truth is that I’m slipping in the most current polls. There is a 6-year-old candidate who wants to debate me on the issue of bedtime, meatloaf vs. corn dogs for dinner, choosing what’s on TV and the chance of any homework being done.
And I’ve lost more than my share of showdowns.
To make the situation worse, my moderator has locked herself in our room with a DVR full of “The Voice” and a bowl full of ice cream, leaving me to segue on my own from matters of economics (“Can I get a new iPod?”) to foreign policy (“My friend Susie has one.”).
Any election year can be a lesson in civics and an opportunity to grow and change, just as every other year we have the opportunity to grow and learn as parents, though there is some debate about that. No one is stepping up to challenge us for this job; no one wants an invitation to this parental party.
This debate season, when you tire of the incessant whining, finger-pointing, blame and posturing, then turn off the television, lose the remote, and put the politicians in timeout. Focus more on your immediate constituency, that binder full of children who, at this moment, are holding a caucus, preparing a convention, and planning a coup to unseat you at your very own table.