Discussing American Elections… With Your Kids!

I don’t have kids. But I write Children’s Books. And… get this… I was a kid once! To my benefit, I had a great, educated and involved childhood.

My parents watched the news. They voted. Yes, they even took me into the ballot box with them. I remember in 1996 when President Bill Clinton was running for re-election, they took me to a giant rally in downtown Toledo, Ohio as Clinton was making his way across the country to the Democratic National Convention. The thrill of seeing the President of the United States speaking right there in front of me was something so very cool… and I wouldn’t be old enough to vote until Election 2000.

In 2000, I made a point of doing it again: I went to see Bill Clinton “handing the torch” to Al Gore in a massive rally in Monroe, Michigan. Hillary and Tipper were there… news cameras all around. Unfortunately, the temperatures were sweltering and senior citizens were passing out… but that’s what always happens with Bill Clinton. The man doesn’t know how to read time, apparently.

In 2002, I met Rudy Giuliani on his National Book Tour for bestselling autobiography Leadership.

In 2003, I went to a book signing for Senator Hillary Clinton for her autobiography, Living History.

In 2004, during the Democratic primaries, I traveled to Iowa to work for one of the candidates running for the nomination. Seeing the process of the caucuses was so interesting… the most on-hand educational thing I’ve ever done when it comes to politics.

Also in 2004, thanks to living on the border of two swing states, I got to see the effect of celebrity on Presidential politics, as well. I went to events that featured James Taylor, The Dixie Chicks, Roseanne Barr, Gloria Steinem and Michael Moore.

In 2008, I went to several events for Senator Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primaries. And I met Chelsea Clinton on an airplane while I was working.

Living in Hawaii during the 2008 general election, I missed out on all candidate visits or rallies. After all, Hawaii isn’t a swing state.

In 2009, I was visiting my parents in Toledo when I learned that Sarah Palin was appearing in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for a book signing. What a fascinating political figure Ms. Palin is… so I knew I had to go.

As you can see, due to my upbringing, I’ve always had an immense interest in politics and elections. Election night is like the Super Bowl times 1000 for me. I like to watch the returns and look at individual counties and Senate races in an attempt to read the tea leaves for National implications. And I do also make predictions… though I’m keeping those to myself this year.

In 2012, it was my goal to see both candidates live and in-person. I saw Mitt Romney this past summer in Bowling Green, Ohio. It’s always a different ballgame when you see a candidate through your own eyes, with no opinion or media input distracting your gaze.

I wanted to see President Obama. Unfortunately, the only event that he held in Toledo, Ohio was only open to UAW workers. I’m in a union— but not UAW. And I honestly thought it was sickening and unfair that a United States citizen couldn’t get a ticket to see the President of the United States just because they didn’t belong to the UAW. Ridiculous. I understand requiring tickets… but limiting them to only UAW members? Talk about ensuring an endearing audience…

At any rate, through this year, I will have voted for 2 Democrats running for President. And 2 Republicans running for President. As for local and statewide races, if I went back to 2000 when I was 18 and added everything up, I’m betting that my ticket would be split– about 52% D and 48% R. I vote for the person— not the party. I know what I believe in. So I look for the person that best represents my view.

It’s my goal to teach children about the election and politics like my parents taught me. Before the 2016 election, I hope to have a unique and informative iBook available that will help parents talk with their kids about politics, elections, political parties, political figures currently on the scene and historically— and much more.

Until then, I wanted to devise away to get the conversation started this year.

So we decided to do a “soft launch” of our new book Casey and Callie Cupcake on Election Day! By a “soft launch” I mean that the book is now available for pre-order… and will be shipping before the end of the year. What are the advantages to pre-ordering? For every pre-order we receive, we will donate a book to a school library in your name.

On Tuesday, children, parents and teachers can go to www.PeteThePopcorn.com to VOTE for either Casey or Callie Cupcake. Casey and Callie both have their own campaigns going on— one believes in free cupcakes for all. The other says that people have to work hard to make cupcakes, so they should sell them. One says every cupcake should have sprinkles. The other says frosting is the way to go.

As you can see, we’ve made the “issues” sound like things that children will understand, but which will also make adults think. Sure, we know that issues become more complicated when we are talking about serious issues like taxes and health care. But, as humans, we understand more about ourselves when we are attempting to explain something to another person.

Also, maybe those issues don’t line up like what one would expect. We have to learn that, when we are looking at candidates for office, this isn’t a damn Frankenstein experiment. You can’t take a piece of “pro-gay marriage” and a piece of “anti-tax” and a piece of “conservative on health care” and a piece of “pro-choice” and a piece of “pro-military-spending” and a piece of “pro-union” and a piece of……….. whatever………. and then stick all of those pieces into one candidate to produce one perfect candidate for office.

We have to learn that there is no chance of coming up with the perfect candidate. But we need to look at the issues that affect us in this order: 1) What affects the country? 2) What affects my Children? 3) What affects me?

So, when you’re looking at Casey and Callie and their positions, if they are at odds with what you feel in your mind… remember that there are no perfect candidates. We choose the ones that most represent our beliefs.

During election years, we all (especially those of us in swing states) get tired of advertisements. We get jaded by negativity. Watching Congress in action, we shake our heads because things just don’t get done because of partisan divides.

But how do we change all of this? By raising children that understand how important our right to vote is. Our next generation needs to know that choosing candidates based on issues instead of parties is OK. The children that will be voting in 2016, 2020 and 2024 should learn that, no matter how tired we adults become with the process, that this process is so unique in the world today– and it’s what makes us Americans.

Tell your friends that are parents— take your kids to www.PeteThePopcorn.com before 8:00 PM on Tuesday to vote for Casey or Callie Cupcake. Have a conversation with them about elections and voting. It will feel good and it will get you thinking, too.

And if they want to know more about Casey and Callie Cupcake’s book— it’s a Frosted Fable About Being Fantastic Just the Way You Are! A great lesson for us all…

Thanks for voting.




Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 


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