The EFM Feature
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“My eye itches,” eight-year-old Camille said one morning as she rolled out of bed.

“Scratch it,” I said without looking at her. It was a cool March morning, and my husband and I were headed out of town for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, where we were “working” the first Presidential straw poll of the 2008 season. Even though it was two years before the election, I’d spent the last few months trying to get people to vote for Mitt Romney. No, not Matt.  Mitt. And yes, he’s from Massachusetts. People hadn’t heard of him, so I’d tried my best to persuade them to vote for him instead of any of a number of southern politicians.

“But it hurts,” she protested. I put down a bag of buttons that read “Romney – Yankee Governor with Southern Values,” and looked at her. Her eye was swollen shut.

My stomach sank. Pink eye? I’d planned to take the kids to school, and the babysitter would pick them up afterwards. I didn’t have childcare during the school hours, and I couldn’t send her to school looking like she’d been hit in the eye.

“Well, I guess you’re both coming with us,” I said, as I dropped medicine in her eye.

The next day, my husband and I found ourselves standing in a convention center, handing out tee shirts, pamphlets, and talking to anyone who’d listen about the guy we hoped would be the next President of the United States. “Mitt,” I’d say. “Like a glove.” The kids happily played behind our table, laughing and putting Romney stickers on their faces.

“Want to help me hand these out?” I asked my six-year-old Austin, who dutifully stood at a busy intersection near the main hall and handed out buttons. Because it was the first straw poll of that election cycle, the press corps was out in full force, and soon Newsweek had a camera on him.

“Who are you supporting, young man?” the reporter asked.

“Mitt Romney,” Austin nervously responded.

“Are you skipping school to do this?”

“Yes, he is,” I interrupted, “but Romney believes in education.”

That was when my kids were thrust into the political realm in which our family has lived in for the past seven years.

[Keep reading this article, which is the last of my 2012 coverage for Parents Magazine!]

Comments and Discussion

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5 Responses to Parenting Through Politics

  1. wendi chamberlain says:

    Its taken a few days to get over my overwhelming sadness. This felt like a kick in the stomach to me and our country. But that being said, I just wanted to say thank you so much for your courageous work. I personally think that your work will have long-lasting effects. As a Mormon, I’ve always hoped that we could have more united efforts with other faiths whether it be humanitarian or religious liberties. Our values and desires are united through and because of our Savior. Sure there are theological differences, but as we continue to work together, we become stronger as a force for good, for our country, and for all of God’s children. I know that we can and we will continue in strength as a positive force.
    God Bless,
    Wendi Chamberlain

    • Terry says:

      As a Mormon also, wendi chamberlain has echoed my feelings exactly. When I first happened on your site, I immediately thought, now here’s someone who gets it. Someone who realizes that doctrinal beliefs and moral values do not have to be sacrificed for the sake of joining together with others of differing faiths to fight for a common cause.

    • Terry says:

      As a Mormon also, wendi chamberlain has echoed my feelings exactly. When I first happened on your site, I immediately thought, now here’s someone who gets it. Someone who realizes that doctrinal beliefs and moral values do not have to be sacrificed for the sake of joining together with others of differing faiths to fight for a common cause.

      I want to thank you for a very heart-warming experience. You site has been a great teacher to the religious community, and to me.

      God bless!

  2. Terry says:

    Manifest Destiny, Mitt Romney, and the will of the people
    Like millions of other people in America, I was stunned when Mitt Romney fell short of being elected president of the United States. And, like millions of other people, I agonized over that fact. “How could this be?” was my plea to the Almighty. During the course of the campaign, I saw a man—who is probably the best financial fix-it guy on the planet—sharpen his political skills enough to totally embarrass a sitting president in their first debate together. I saw a man who went from doubt in the minds of Republicans to near rock-star status the near the end of the general election campaign. I remember reading about Mitt’s supplication at the Colorado Red Rocks rally when he prayed that if being president was truly what God had in mind for him, to please help him be humble so that he would be worthy of the calling. Then there were the stories that began leaking out about the countless hours Mitt has spent in his life helping others. What really cemented my conviction as Mitt for president, however, was Ann Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention. She spoke of her love for Mitt and what he planned to do for the country if he was elected. Near the end, she looked at the audience, and with the total conviction born of having been married to him for so many years, she said, “This man will not fail.” You had to believe her. That, coupled with his prayer at Red Rocks, gave me the utter conviction that Mitt was on the path of divine providence. I believed then, and still do, that Mitt—because of the experiences he has gone through in life—was being prepared by a higher power to lead America back from the brink of the economic calamity she was heading towards.
    So why didn’t it happen? Was I wrong in my attitude?
    With all my good feelings and expressions of same from many others, I had forgotten one vital fact: God never forces anyone to do anything. The free agency of mankind is paramount to Him. (There is a lecture on that subject which I won’t get into right now.) The point is, as Americans, we had the choice of accepting God’s gift of potential monetary salvation, or rejecting it. Unfortunately, too many voters, for whatever reason (and there are many), chose to reject it. By doing so, they have opted, even if unknowingly, to accept the consequences of their choice.
    We lost the presidency, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve lost everything, or that it’s over for us. There are still fights we can fight, battles we can win to elect decent men and women to political offices in this country. I hear talk of what a great ground game the Democrats had. Fine. We’ll have to go them one better and develop an even greater one. I’m not saying that we have to get as down and dirty as they seem to have no qualms about doing. That’s not the way. What is going to be required is a more active participation from those who previously have not given it. We have to be very vocal when we know our constitutional rights are being infringed upon—and they will be. Over this last four years, Obama has shown us the direction he would like to take this country. His campaign theme of “Forward” is pointed directly at his ultimate goal: socialism—taking from the hard working and giving to the lazy (or distribution of wealth, as the Dems term it).
    It’s going to take a lot of work, because the other side won’t quit or give up. We have to save America from herself—from those who seem clueless about the destination this country is heading towards and what lurks there when we arrive.
    It won’t be easy, but if when triumph in the end, it will be worth it.
    God bless America!

  3. Terry says:

    (Imperfection raises its ugly head. The second to last sentence should read “It won’t be easy, but when we triumph in the end, it will be worth it”.)

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