Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Pinky-Swear You'll Vote for the Guy on YouTube!"

I was sitting at the doctor's office today watching a Fox News segment on why young voters are pulling for Obama. The commentary was almost like a parody from an Onion post, "Don't know who to vote for? Just ask your 14-year-old." Apparently, parents like Caroline Kennedy are supporting Obama because her children made her promise to. Wow, was there a pinky-swear involved in there somewhere, too?

The middle-aged woman sitting next to me looked rather disturbed that the commentator and others were bragging in the segment about voting for Obama because their "14-year-old told them to." "I wonder how many of those kids have been out in the world, brought home a paycheck and seen what programs like what Obama and others endorse would cost them?" she stated. The veteran next to her looked equally incredulous and said, "Yeah, I can tell you how national healthcare would go over. I just went to the Veteran's clinic the other day with an emergency, they told me they could see me in three months. If that's universal healthcare, count me out!" Another patient in the waiting room said, "I wonder how many of the youth votes Obama will get because of that You Tube video?"

I can perhaps (okay, not really) understand 18 year olds turning out to vote for the guy they saw on a YouTube video, but there is no excuse for parents who vote for a candidate because their kids want them to do so. Because popularity and charisma is no way to pick the next President of the United States. Much less being told how to vote by your kids. Parents are supposed to be the adults, remember?

Update: At five years old, SayUncle persuaded his parents to vote for Jimmy Carter:

I decided, based on what I was being taught about presidential races at school, that my parents should vote for Jimmy Carter. My reasoning was simple enough: he had some shiny white teeth......To this day, my dad blames me.

Dad has no one to blame but himself--don't listen to your kids-- especially if they go to public schools.


Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

Given the progressive infantilization of huge swaths of the populace by our ubiquitous mass media, which caters to an ever-sinking lowest common denominator, it's not too surprising that adults are voting the way their children demand they vote. What else could explain the millions of votes cast in 2000 and 2004 for two presidential candidates, Al Gore and John Kerry, demonstrably incapable of telling the truth? What else could explain the oft-expressed wish of the majorities in the "blue states" that they might "secede from Jesusland" and join Canada? Anyway, a whole lot of folks are tired of the whole confusing mess and just want to get back to their MTV.

5:28 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Francis W. Porretto,

"a whole lot of folks are tired of the whole confusing mess and just want to get back to their MTV."

I can understand that feeling.

5:31 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Mercurior said...

give me a child aged.. 14.. and he is mine for life.

to paraphrase

6:07 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I don't see it as much of a stretch, the kids pick the cars so why not the candidates?

6:11 PM, February 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnny: Daddy, I want to be a democrat when I grow up!

Dad to Johnny: Oh, come on now son. You know you can't do both.

6:44 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

Modern day parents are pathetic. They live vicariously through their kids, believing in the superiority of youth. Balderdash. One can't even begin to be educated until after thirty.

The stupidity of the Boomers is boundless.

8:21 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Jeff: I don't know whether the parents are living through their kids or crafting some sort of personality-type within their kids. I look at what is going on as some parents enjoying their kids being sort of footloose fancy-free with an unhealthy dose of confidence, but at the same having the kids permanently attached to them via a cell phone umbilical cord. When the child becomes a burden and a drag while in their mid 20s the parents simply unleash them on society, directionless and unable to function. I doubt the way some people handle parenting has anything to do with turning out pleasant, law-abiding, functional citizens.

8:58 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...

I didn't truly appreciate why our ancestors required property ownership as a prerequisite to vote until I stood in line with a number of other college students going to vote for the first time about six years ago.

10:27 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger The Ghost said...

It's our own fault, really. We've had 14 years of partial Republican government to break up the unions and left-wing theorists that are ubiquitous throughout our education system.It's just sort of become accepted en passe that schools and hippies are symbiotic organisms.

As a result, we get the FOX News interview that just aired five minutes ago. They interviewed a college campus, where...well. Not only did every interviewee favor either Obama or Clinton with a startling air of dimness, but the last one actually ended her comment by saying she'd be happy if either one of them won...the primary.

10:42 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger pbaseoul said...

Great post, but in the second paragraph, "credulous" should be "incredulous." (Sorry; can't help it--I'm an English teacher.)

10:52 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger pbaseoul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:52 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


We've had 14 years of partial Republican government to break up the unions

and that has what to do with the cultural blurring of child/adult?

10:54 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Maxine Weiss said...

Oh, but didn't you know?, the children are making rather large campaign donations too.

Apparently some of the biggest donations have come from kids....in diapers!

"My children like to donate to a variety of causes, that's just how it is in my house."


A good way to teach kids about money, I guess.

11:13 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Maxine Weiss said...

Oh, but didn't you know?, the children are making rather large campaign donations too.

Apparently some of the biggest donations have come from kids....in diapers!

"My children like to donate to a variety of causes, that's just how it is in my house."


A good way to teach kids about money, I guess.

11:13 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger The Ghost said...


It doesn't, if you don't finish the entire sentence.

To complete my thought more...well, completely, I would posit that the forced unionization of almost all of our nation's educators - that is, their conscription into a political philosophy - has consequences which we, as a nation, are blase about because they aren't readily evident.

Really though, the homogeneity of the instruction is more consequential than the unions, I just thought I'd through that in there since it's relevant.

11:19 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...

Ok ghost, I see where you're going now... you're talking specifically about teachers' unions ... I was reading the line more generally (all labor unions).

IMO unionization of teachers is/was less a problem then the Schools of Education they graduate from in order to teach.

11:31 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

darleen, I think that may be a distinction without a difference. Schools of Education are essentially education union incubators.

In my math program, the vast majority of F's are earned by education majors, the vast majority of students caught cheating are education majors, and the most frequent beneficiaries of grade inflation are education majors.

When I was in the military, only the best were allowed to be instructors. In schools, it seems only the worst go on to be instructors. It scares me.

11:38 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger The Ghost said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:54 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


unfortunately a lot of very talented, dedicated teachers burn out ...in short order.

11:55 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger The Ghost said...

Ah, I see. Yes, I suffer from prohibitive, unhelpful succinctness.

You're probably right about the schools. It's just amazing to me that school vouchers and other proposals for education, which were such huge issues until early in this decade, have completely fallen into the memory hole.

11:55 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Laika's Last Woof said...

"The stupidity of the Boomers is boundless."

American parental authority is undermined by parents' desperate need for their children to think they're still cool.

This gives the kids unprecedented power over their parents when they realize they can use their parents' need for validation to get what they want. From a historical perspective it is not natural for the child to validate the parent, or it is at least a social experiment that has never been tried before.

It's no longer the Boomers who are doing this, of course, as they're too old to have kids, but they started it.

3:18 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:17 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...

Our lease will only allow for cats. We have one left of the two my wife brought into the marriage. I prefer to take my political advice from dogs, but this year will have to rely on either the cat or my 5-year-old daughter. As you can see from my circumstances, this is a tough year to make political choices.

Is there any procedure for postponing the election until I have the capacity to consult with a dog?

5:19 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks, made the change! I hardly think that veteran was "credulous."

6:52 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Philly said...

I, too, listened to the kids. Then I went to the poll and made my choice based on what I know. Obama may be a cool guy, but he didn't get my vote. Hillary did.

9:52 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

As a boomer I could take offense at Jeff's comment but won't because it's true. The Peter Pan Syndrome is alive and well in my generation.

Too many seem to think life should be all warm and fuzzy at any cost. Those I know that think like this indulge in their children's every desire and whimsy.

Funny, the other day a co-worker asked me if my 14 year-old son ever asked me if he could drive the car. I said, "No, because he already knows the answer." But some parents, like him, do let their 14year old kids drive.

My son asked who I was voting for and I told him and we discussed my rational. He holds no pretense of telling me whom to vote for.

10:45 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...


Why, in God's name, would anyone let a 14 year old kid drive a car? Mark me if I am wrong, but don't you have to be 16 to get a license? WTF?

10:51 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

cham - You're correct. Same reason they let kids drink alcohol at home, etc., I suppose. Some parents just can't say "No."

11:12 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darksbane said...

My mom votes the way I tell her to. But thats because she is an idiot and at least realizes that I'm not.

11:45 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darksbane said...

Granted I'm 29 and not 14 but even at 14 I 'voted' conservative and values. My mom voted for whoever had the snappiest slogan.

11:46 AM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Dadvocate, I think it is a little more than parents being unable to say no. Maybe the children are encouraged to be the rebels or bad boys that the parents never were or can't be due to adult obligations. This sounds like something our resident child forensic expert, Helen, could look into.

12:30 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

cham, I think you have a point. Some parents seem determined to have kids that are "socially deviant."

12:34 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember as a kid our class going through a Weekly Reader about the presidential election. I remember that they had a bullet list of positions Ford and Carter had, the one I still remember was Ford: Wants to curb inflation, Carter: Wants to stop inflation. We had a mock election in class and Carter got almost every vote. After all, he was going to stop inflation!

The lessons? 1) The Weekly Reader was probably run by a pinko commie liberal. 2) Kids are idiots when it comes to elections, and adults are bigger idiots if they let them make their decision for them.

12:38 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Denise said...

I remember doing a mock vote in middle school in '96. Bob Dole won, as I recall. But that was in Alaska-- McCain came in 4th (behind Ron Paul) there yesterday.

1:29 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger gs said...

Let's amend the Constitution so no one over 35 can be elected President. Then we can all live in the paradise described in 'Lord of the Flies'.
Helen, I agree with your overall point, but IMHO you're a little hard on Caroline Kennedy: In an interview with ABC News following her endorsement of Obama, Caroline Kennedy said...the "impact that [Obama] was having, particularly on my children" made her take notice. Being made to take notice is not the same as being told how to vote.

Allow me a bit of hyperbole in turn. I blame George Bush.

Ever since it took Congress in 1994, the Daddy Party has governed like Hollywood's caricature of the American father. It shares responsibility for the infantilization of politics.

2:00 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I don't usually comment here, and I may not comment again, but I had to put in my two cents here. Some of the above statements are narrow-minded and extremely prejudiced.

One thing I notice about *all* these comments is the common thread of "oh, they're just kids, they don't understand the grand scheme of politics." Guess what, neither do most adults.

I became heavily involved in politics at around age 12. Started out semi-conservative, swung to extreme-liberal, and now I've swung back the other way to...well, it doesn't really matter.

What matters is that there are many teens out there who have greater political acumen than their parents, and there is good reason their parents listen to them. Combine that with an increase in the youth-as-activist trend, and I think we're looking at a future of highly educated and informed voters. To belittle a sixteen year old because of their political choices makes as much sense as belittling a sixty year old for the same choices. How many adults will vote for Obama this year because he's black? Or Hillary because she's a woman? Or McCain because he's a vet? I could go on and on about each candidate and what superficial thing voters will judge him or her on. Most voters in this country cast their vote based on something ridiculous and meaningless, like how white a candidate's teeth are, or the words they choose to represent their positions. Just because the Federal Government declared everyone under 18 to be ineligible to participate in a very basic right, doesn't mean the opinions or beliefs held by the disenfranchised minors are any less valid than the enfranchised. What about those over 18 who are disenfranchised due to circumstance? Or those who have not yet become citizens of the USA? Should we disregard all their opinions as well?

Helen, I think you've fallen into a trap I've seen before. Assuming that a person under 18 is less valid and holds less valid opinions than a person over 18 is just as discriminatory as making the same judgment based on race or sex, and should be treated the same way.

2:56 PM, February 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I gotta rat gives me the real election scoop. Real inside-the-beltway rat, too - lives in the basemen of my building here on Virginia Ave. YOu want me to hook you up?

3:01 PM, February 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would say that the percentage of people holding decent political views - as opposed to stupid ones - is about the same for high school students as it is for adults. My father-in-law, who's had seventy years to develop a political philosophy, makes no sense at all when discussing the next election. Neither does my fifteen-year-old niece.

I think the point is, you should come up with your own opinions rather than voting the way your teenager or your granddad or your pet iguana thinks you should.

Also, that it makes no sense to fetishize a particular age group just because they've had certain experiences that you haven't. I don't think my f-in-law is wonderous wise because he lived through the Depression. I also don't think my neice has the inside track because she has a Facebook account.

Be you, think you, vote you. Always.

3:13 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...


I'm not belittling teens, I'm belittling parents who don't act like parents/adults. The "the youth-as-activist trend" has been "increasing" since I was in high school in the late 60s.

It makes more sense, if you're using age alone as a factor, to question a 16 year old's political choices than a 60 year old's because of the difference in experience. Not that the more experienced person doesn't ever get it wrong or vice versa.

My farmer father-in-law always voted Democrat because Democrats gave more to farm subsidies. My parents are/were extremely well informed on political matters but it would have taken an act of God to get them to vote anything other than Democrat. They wasted a lot of time reading news magazines, etc. They might as will blindly pulled the Democrat lever.

Assuming that a person under 18 is less valid and holds less valid opinions than a person over 18 is just as discriminatory as making the same judgment based on race or sex, and should be treated the same way.

First you misuse the word "valid," this has nothing to do with valid. It is widely assumed in every field I know of that experience counts. Rookies versus veteran players, coaches versus players, ad infinitum. It is not the same as making a "judgment based on race or sex." It is making an assumption based on assumed experience. It's not always a correct assumption but you take your comparisons way too far.

4:11 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


"is just as discriminatory as making the same judgment based on race or sex, and should be treated the same way."

I do treat it the same way, I do not vote based on sex, race or what my kid wants me to do. I don't think others should either.

4:29 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...


Travel will be a problem for me. I live in south MS area. Could you ask the rat to help me. The right that I hold most sacred is the right for me and my family to not get blown up.

Beyond that, I am a less government type, secure the borders, etc... I had a Lab who was pushing me hard for Fred Thompson, but he dropped out of the race. There is a mutt next door that is pushing McCain now, but I don't know the mutt that well and his intentions may not be honest.

Thanks for offering to help,


4:42 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

My 19-year-old brother is pretty liberal on some issues, but I was surprised when he started getting upset about the taxes being taken out of his check. When I was in 7th grade I supported Bob Dole (I think I liked his name - a girl teased me from then on out by calling me Bob - I called her Bill a few times to get back at her). Anyways I don't think I convinced my parents to vote for him.

Dadvocate - My dad allowed me to drive his truck once when I was 12. I wanted to play basketball in the driveway and his truck was in the way. I said, let me move it and he said okay and came with me while we went around the block. A sheriff even drove by and didn't even stop to check on us!

Kat: Or McCain because he's a vet?

To be more consistent with your other examples, it would probably have to do with voting for him (or not) based on age.

5:09 PM, February 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pinky swear?

Anyway, my kids are now all old enough to vote. My highest educated one (won't go there) is the only one I've lost to lefty thinking. But at least she's torn about it.

I guess like Winston Churchill said, "If you're not liberal in your twenties, you have no heart. If you're not conservative by your forties, you have no brains."

6:22 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


My father started me on the newspaper habit when I was 10. He'd read it in the morning, front to back, before work, I'd do the same after school and we'd spend dinner discussing all the important events of the day.

I was very politically astute and informed by 12 HOWEVER I would have never ever thought myself the equal or superior to an adult because mere information does not equate to wisdom and experience.

When the Dems let a 12 y/o stand on a stage and criticize the Vice-President of the United States, I wanted to slap her parents and every single idiot in the audience that roared their approval. That was the most crass, cynical exploitation of a child I had seen (until what the Dems tried with Master Graem Frost).

It is an upside world that children are considered oracles beyond question and adults, especially senior adults, are unworthy of anything but patronizing contempt.

9:43 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Kathleen said...

First of all, I apologize for the length of this comment. I have reworked it several times, and this is the shortest I can make it, while still responding to the various responses. I also apologize for any repetition of vocabulary. I am trying to vary words, but some are just appropriate to my thoughts.

Darleen - I certainly understand what you say, however you are missing a key point - that age does not automatically confer experience or knowledge. When I say that at 16 I was better informed and more capable of participating *intelligently* in the political process, I'm not being arrogant. Compared to the people around me, I *was* more capable and better-informed. I had worked more than any of my peers, and I had more to lose if a candidate who didn't represent my interests was elected.

The so-called "adults" around me voted more based on what their neighbours supported, or based on a superficial aspect of the candidate, or even based on the candidate having exactly the same religious beliefs as them. This is in New Hampshire, where, we are lead to believe, everyone is politically savvy and participates heavily in the political process. Just as age does not necessarily confer experience, nor does it deny it. We should not be judged based on superficialities like age, race, sex, or other uncontrollable factors in our lives, but on what we say or do.

Helen, I was not intending to say that one should always vote based on what their son or daughter says, but one should not discount the ability of another person, whatever his or age, to argue a point and change your mind about an issue or a candidate. The labeling of youth as being incompetent is, in my view, a real problem, and my issue here is that most people in these comments have gone off on a rant about how apolitical youth are, or how they don't care about the world around them.

Dadvocate - I used the word "valid" for a specific reason. Many adults DO believe that any political opinion is not valid unless the person speaking it is over the age of 18. Sure, I could have used a different word, but this one fits the beliefs I've come up against in my years of fighting for a lower voting age and for more respect for people under 18.

I may have gone a bit extreme with my examples, but I did so with a purpose. I'm not going to make the comparison to the 60's (as many of my compatriots in the youth rights movement would and do), but I am going to say that there is an overwhelming opinion that age = experience and that if you don't have one, you must not have the other. I am a great example of how this is untrue, as are many of my friends. I could go into a whole rant about this point, and have done in previous drafts, but I'm going to leave the point here for now.

10:39 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Darleen said...


There are children who at 12 or 13 are capable of driving a car, and adults over 20 who are not. However, odds are the vast majority of 12 y/os cannot drive and adults can.

Law has to consider a general age range when it comes to granting driver's licenses based on statistics of competency.

If the voting franchise is not to be limited by anything other than citizenship, then it needs to be limited by age. Minors are legally different than adults and GENERALLY do not have the maturity to exercise that franchise.

The only way age should be removed from franchise if one could institute another way of limiting the vote so that maturity is the determining factor, not age.

Writer Robert Heinlein mused on several variations - one being

A state that required a bare minimum of intelligence and education - e.g., step into the polling booth and find that the computer has generated a new quadratic equation just for you. Solve it, the computer unlocks the voting machine, you vote. But get a wrong answer and the voting machine fails to unlock, a loud bell sounds, a red light goes on over that booth - and you slink out, face red, you having just proved yourself too stupid and/or ignorant to take part in the decisions of the grownups. Better luck next election! No lower age limit in this system- smart 12 year old girls vote every election while some of their mothers - and fathers - decline to be humiliated twice.

Variations on that could be one take a general info test (identify the 3 branches of gov, who is President/vp? etc), pass and you're allowed to vote.

12:23 AM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

as wrong as it seems, I think maybe your idea should be used not only for voting, but also for having children.

If a parent can be told what to do by their children, they have no business having children.

Mr Fixit

9:27 AM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger jimbob86 said...

Kids making political arguements, driving, shooting, swimming, or engaging in any other potentially dangerous activity is a GOOD THING, IF;

1) They and everyone else are protected from their poor decision making/lack of skills. Dinner table discussions, empty rural roads/pastures, .22 rimfire rifles, and kiddie pools help to facilitate this.

2) The kids understand the CONSEQUENCES (or potential consequences) of poor decision making ON THEIR PART. This is accomplished by direct supervision by a responsible parent. Cultivation of Personal Responsibility and Logical thinking are as important, if not more so, than telling them "That stove is hot. Don't touch." They can learn that on their own, and with a sense of personal responsibility and critical thinking, learn from it. Without that sense of personal responsibility, they'll blame someone else. Without the logical thinking, they'll have to learn everything the hard way.

Sadly, we have a nation 1/2 full of 20to50 something teenagers whose parents have basically said "You are an adult now. Go vote for whoever promises you the most stuff/ drive like you're in NASCAR/buy an AK-47/go jump in a lake. Have Fun! If you get into any trouble, call us. We'll save you." And when the parents can't do it any more, the Nanny State is ready to step in.......

12:30 PM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

I'm old enough to remember
"Clean, Clean, Clean for Gene"
in '68.

College kids loved Gene McCarthy. The media is perpetually in love with the purported youth vote, but when it comes to the actual election, they never show up. They love rallies, and even voting in the primaries, but their attention spans are too short to make it to the general election.

12:30 PM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger MisAnDrope said...

Posted a comment on PJM, and that drew a lot of interest, so thought it might be nice to post here too.

Hey Dr H... How about a link?

M :
It isn't news to most men that Marriage isn't a cost-effective proposition. But what probably is news, even to men, is how likely it is to end up stripping them of anything resembling rights and disenfranchising them. The financial ruin that follows divorce is credited for the huge rate of male suicide compared to women.
But this is just one element of our society's war on men - even more horrific is how men are punished in an entirely different way by the courts than women are. As a culture we seem to be saying that we don't want men anymore. Don't be suprised if they respond by finding some way to go elsewhere.

1:24 PM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger MisAnDrope said...

Sorry, Looks like I clicked the wrong thread. I meant it to be on "Single Men in Never-Neverland?"
:( Oh well.

4:27 PM, February 07, 2008  
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