Monday, November 05, 2012

VOTE!

photo courtesy of Ben Newman
Dear ones, I hope you are all safe and sound after Hurricane Sandy. I am checking in today just to say, "Vote tomorrow, please!"

It's amazing to have this barometer of the children's growth and development, isn't it? Four years ago, when Obama was elected for the first time, Ben was 9 and Birdy was 5. And four years before that, Ben was 5 and Birdy was 1. (I'm just showing off now, being such a crazy subtraction prodigy and all.) But I was remembering Ben asking, during that election 8 years ago, "So, if George Bush were driving in his car, and he saw me, would he try to run me over?" And I realized in that moment that perhaps we had not offered a very nuanced interpretation of good and bad.

But oh, I am feeling it, this hope again. Hope for justice, for fairness, for compassion and intelligence and the understanding that women must retain the right to make decisions about our own health and well-being, that healthcare is a right, that we must prosper together and the rich should not get richer at the expense of the poor. Among many, many other things. I know you understand.

I was explaining to the kids about the voting machines in Ohio--just the fact that, in two counties, in a swing state, the voting machines are owned by an investment firm that's done business with Tagg Romney, an investment firm whose executives are some of the biggest-ever donors to the Romney campaign. And the thing about kids? They understand intuitively, about fairness. "Even if they don't cheat," Birdy said, "It just feels like cheating already." Like if you happened to buy the field where your kid's big soccer championship was going to be held. What? I'm not influencing the game. Just standing here, owning the field, is all. You, yeah, you--this is actually my field. No, go ahead, keep playing. I'm just saying.

That culture of wealth and intimidation? It's not how I want my children to grow up. Which is why--spoiler alert--I'm voting for Obama tomorrow. Also, I worry that Romney would actually try to run the kids over.

xo

72 comments:

  1. Me too!! Aye, I'm so anxious for tomorrow.

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  2. Also voting for Obama tomorrow!

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  3. Me too... Already voted... For President Obama... in Ohio, on one of those Romney owned machines :/

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  4. Anonymous9:54 AM

    One of my dear ones said she wouldn't tell me WHO exactly she voted for, but it was the candidate that rhymes with "Hakuna Matata" and not the one that rhymes with "I hate women." Difficulty with rhyme aside, I am so tired of feeling like I *have* to read these endless articles about the election and the potential lawsuits and recounts etc. that it is a pleasure to read something witty that also really resonates. Thank you!

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  5. We're basically libertarians over here, so you can bet we were up in arms about the Romney voting machines. Good grief. What a joke!
    Also, we too have had to tone down our comments about politicians since in the past our kids made a few comments implying that they thought certain politicians were actually going to hurt people. I mean, they DO, but... you know.

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  6. My word captcha was "moneyppl." Money people indeed.

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  7. I have been obsessively reading the news and even have gone as far as checking Iowa Political Markets (money talks, and Obama is up 70 to 30% in their investment market for who will win the election) - this made me feel much better about the whole situaion. I don't know why I even bother worrying about it, the whole veneer of media hype over "omg, who will win" has fallen off a long time ago, but somewhere deep inside I am still caught up in "what if the bad guys win". I am yet to rationally explain the situation to my kids though. At 7 and 3 they just know that Obama is good and the other guy "thinks wrong about things that are important to mommy and daddy" - this is about as well as I can do..

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    1. Yes. 7 and 3 is different. Ben and Birdy watched all the debates--they were actually riveted in a way that forced me to be respectful and to not run out of the room screaming. But 7 and 3 was, for us, "We're voting for the person who cares about people."

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  8. Melanie11:49 AM

    I love your blog, but feel the need to comment, because, after all, this is America, and I have the right to. I am voting for Romney. After my 12 hour nursing shift tomorrow, I will drive to the polls and vote. Just as I voted on the way to the hospital when I was in labor with my daughter. Had a contraction in the car, ran in, voted, then drove on to the hospital. Today I tuned in for a recipe or funny family anecdote, but got a political ad instead. Oh well. But there. I said it. I'm proud to have said it. I hope you don't mind.

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    1. Not at all, Melanie! Although "political ad" ruffles me a little--the same way I hated when that person who opposed the Dixie Chicks' comments about Bush told them to "shut up and sing." This is what I do. And I'm really, truly glad you're here. xo

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    2. But also, p.s., can I just say that I LOVE that you voted while you were in labor? You go, girl!

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    3. Melanie12:30 PM

      I agree, Catherine. "Political ad" was not the right choice of words. I didn't think so at the time, either, when I wrote it, so I will take those words back! No hard feelings? And, yes...voting while in labor is my "cool" delivery story, if you're that sort of geeky, political type, of which I am. Thanks!

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    4. How's this for geeky/political: this interaction is making my day. xo

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    5. Melanie3:23 PM

      :)

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    6. But can I just say something? every time I hear 'I am voting for Obama' there is usually an explanation. In your clear and concise post, Catherine, you explain why, in the comments several people say why. I also know that saying that Obama is a good person is not saying exactly why people vote for him, but it is saying something. But, at least in my experience, I have not heard too many whys from the other side.
      PS. I am also very nervous for Obama and the issue with the voting machines. And, I think I am nervous because we already lived through an election that was decided by SOTUS. In a person's lifetime I think one election like that is more than enough.
      Thank you, Catherine for this post.

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    7. Thanks, Ines. And Melanie, this made me think of you!

      http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Pregnant-Woman-Votes-En-Route-To-Hospital-177482731.html

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  9. The glory of having your own blog is that you get to say what you damn well please. IMO.

    I will be voting for Obama tomorrow as well, and am proud that he's in my very own city of Madison as I type!

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  10. Ben's comment about George Bush made me laugh. Just yesterday, my 4-year said something about how she hopes Romney never comes to our house because he would steal all our stuff. And I was like "What? Wait." Because I'm positive I never said anything like that. Apparently she had translated our discussion (with her older brother) about healthcare and how some people don't have enough money to go to the doctor into Romney wanting to take people's money.

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  11. Big kid proudly voted for Obama in his middle school election last week, but had to admit he was, "a little nervous for him, Mom - because my Humanities class was about a 50/50 split..." He was excited to announce in carpool on Wednesday that Obama won by a landslide, much to the dismay of our young republican carpool buddy, who doesn't want Obama "because he's a SOCIALIST!" (but has no idea what that means anyhow LOL)

    But the best part was when my normally super-analytical 9-year-old told me in Target on Thursday how glad he was that Obama won, because now he gets to be president again. I had to gently remind him that only *middle school* had voted, and that they don't count so much :) But his daddy and I plan to count tomorrow...

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    1. Oh, poor guy! It's hard to remember what's what.

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    2. Well, they were certain last night as they toasted with us :)

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  12. Allyson12:43 PM

    We live in NY, where our votes for Obama don't really count (we're not exactly a swing state), but we will vote tomorrow, too. I've been assured that our polling place has power, even though our house doesn't yet.
    My kids boo every time they see a Romney/Ryan bumper sticker. My nine-year-old is especially into this election. I keep having to remind him not to call Romney an idiot, at least not in front of people. He even still has strong feelings about the other Republican candidates for the nomination. Yesterday he asked me "What was that whole deal where Rick Perry had a sign with the N-word on it? What a jerk!" I love kids!

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  13. Nellie1:07 PM

    We live in an area with a liberal city smack dab in the middle of an extremely conservative rural area. It's sappy, but it does my heart good to see the people in our area proudly display their political yard signs for any candidate. I try to impress upon my kids (a 9 yo and two 6 year olds) how privileged we are to be able to choose our leaders and express our opinions without fear of punishment. It's pretty freaking awesome. :)

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  14. Romney won my daughter's middle school election. They didn't tell the names of the candidates; just listed the major issues and where each candidate stands. My daughter says the kids voted against equal rights for gay people. I'm very sad about that, but hey, we're in Mississippi, so what do you expect? (Also, I'd like to point out my daughter knew which one was Obama and voted for him. I am a little proud.) I just really, really, really hope Obama wins the real thing. So ready for it to be over with so I won't have to worry anymore.

    And your interaction up there that you enjoyed so much is one reason I love you so. You're too kind. xo

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  15. A great post, thank you!
    My kids are 8.5 and almost 6 and they have been chanting "O-BA-MA" for days now. I have tried to explain as well as I can for the understanding they have what each candidate stands for and what they have said they will do. The issue of women's rights is huge in my family and one thing that has struck my kids (daughters!) is that me and their father are voting not just for ourselves, but on behalf of them as well.

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  16. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Proud to be voting for Obama in Ohio tomorrow!

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  17. Oh, I love you AND all your commenters!

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  18. Excited to take the kids with me to vote for Obama tomorrow. Not so excited that their father, my lovely husband, will be happily pulling the lever for the other side. We have a big Senate race here too ( Warren/Brown) and we'll split on that one also. We both grew up with parents who often voted for opposing candidates and while I don't love the feeling that my vote us cancelled out, I do love the discussions it sparks with the 8, 6 and 5 year old who will probably also someday marry their political opposite:)

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  19. KyCat4:25 PM

    Voting for Obama tomorrow, but as a pro-life liberal, voting is always conflicted for me. :-( The good news is that all of our conversations with the kiddos are nuanced, so no one is labelled all hero or villain.

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    1. Hey KyCat,

      I don't know if you'll find it convincing at all (most likely not, since it's about someone changing their mind about being pro-life and is is probably not so much persuasive as it is reinforcing to people who already agree) but there is at least an argument to be made that "Obama has already done more to reduce the number of abortions than any other president ever has..." (http://bit.ly/UdLNz2) Again, I don't know that this will make anything any less conflicted for you, but I thought I'd put it out there, just in case.

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    2. KyCat2:29 PM

      Cheryl - Thanks for kindly discussing a very difficult issue thoughtfully. :-)

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    3. KyCat2:40 PM

      But no her article does not change my mind on personhood.

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  20. Kristina4:31 PM

    I like political discussions where most everyone agrees and is on the same side! I will be voting for Obama tomorrow, but I have to say that I don't think Romney would actually run the kids over ; ) I do think that Romney is a decent guy, and it's his political base (and pandering to this base) that gets my feathers ruffled.

    Like Stephanie, my household might be split tomorrow. My husband voted for Obama 4 years ago, but I'm not sure he will this year (even though he's from a family of Democrats - his step-mom and dad were out going door-to-door in Colorado last week). He's a liberal on social issues, but is leaning toward a fiscal Republican. We'll see (although, he probably won't tell me who he voted for).

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  21. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'll be voting for Obama in North Carolina tomorrow and I am SO TIRED of being made to feel like a villain for doing so!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Not sure why my general comment posted here, so I moved it to below. But I did want to say: Way to go, Susanne! You've no villain! :)

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  22. Tomorrow is my birthday, and what I really, really want is Obama's 2nd term. (-:

    Loren

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  23. This is one of my favorite things I've read about the election - and I work in politics! Catherine, I just love your writing (about babies AND politics). Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life with us.

    PS your new column in RealSimple is making me a subscriber again.

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  24. Clearly I spend too much time on facebook because I read this piece and wanted to click LIKE.

    Last election my kids were 7. They asked if I disagreed with Obama on anything and I told them that I wished he would come out in support of gay marriage. When he did, my kids said, "Now you love everything!" (Which isn't exactly true, but true enough.) Looking forward to voting tomorrow.

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  25. Monica5:57 PM

    I'm voting for Romney tomorrow, but the biggest lesson I want my 8 and 5 year old to learn from this year's election is that reasonable minds can differ. Now if I could only get my parents to grasp that concept as well...the other thing is, I am the lone Independent-who-often-but-not-always-votes-Republican in my circle of liberal Democrat friends, and I am a big, big believer that we should not only surround ourselves with those who agree with us on everything. I have a lot of respect for their opinions and we have a lot more in common than first meets the eye. We tend to agree on (most of) the ends, just not necessarily on the means to those ends. They don't see me as a Bible-thumping hateful ogre, and I don't see them as overeducated elitist Commies. :) I love this blog and always enjoy reading the comments section! Sounds like we'll all be voting tomorrow and discussing the issues with our children. How wonderful!

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  26. dale in denver6:21 PM

    Values. Its really what the election is about - I agree with President Obama's values, and therefore, agree with his agenda, direction and goals. In general when Obama speaks and the actions he takes reflect my priorities and my values which is, bottom line, when we all do better, we all do better. Women's health issues are a big deal for me personally, women's equal pay and marriage equality are a big deals for me as mother of 3 sons because I want them to have partners who are their equals, whether their chosen life partners are male or female.

    Obama and Gov Christie are living proof that government can work when we don't elect incompetent dip$hits that are hell bent on proving government doesn't work. I am not so disillusioned to believe there is no abuse and fraud in some of our welfare programs. But I am not so cynical to believe it is an overwhelming majority who abuse these programs either. My parents were not wealthy. They were not well connected. They worked hard, set great examples, and demonstrated their values and work ethic every day of my life – and they relied on some of the programs for low-income households that Obama supports and seeks to improve/enhance/expand. Without free school lunches, public education, Pell Grants, work-study and affordable student loans, my husband and I wouldn't be in the financially stable situation we are in now from hard work alone. We paid back our sutdent loans first every month because we didn't want our lack of payment to be a reason someone else couldn't afford an education. We pay our taxes without fail and without complaint because we view our taxes as investments in America. Are some of those investments duds? Probably. But overwhelmingly those investments are winners and we take pride in our own successes as well as the success of others - especially when that success is acheived by hard work, application of lessons learned, and not so much by a rigged system or solely by winning the ovarian lottery.

    Our household cast two votes for Obama in Colorado.

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  27. Hi, Catherine!

    I am a long-time reader, and I always enjoy your blog posts and everything you write. I am definitely in the minority here, but I will be voting for Romney tomorrow in Colorado. I know you don't actually believe that Romney or Bush would run the kids over :-), but I think that it bears repeating that Republicans aren't evil like we're sometimes painted to be....We care about people just as much as Democrats do.

    Regardless of who wins, Happy Election Day! What a wonderfully diverse country we live in; how beautiful is the freedom to let our voices be heard! :-)

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  28. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Hi Catherine,

    You're one of my very favorite writers ... I come to your site every Monday without fail -- to read your new pieces. I've been reading you since you were on BabyCenter. I looked for your new column in Real Simple recently -- and have read you in Oprah Magazine -- and I bought your book. I told my husband just the other day -- when I was googling "Catherine Newman no-knead bread" because I had misplaced the printout for this recipe -- "I can't WAIT until Catherine Newman just publishes a cookbook -- so I can buy it and I will have everything in one place by category -- and I won't have to keep printing them out ... and losing them."

    So there's that.

    But the thing about the voting machines. You're crazy. Seriously crazy on that. And of course you have a right to your opinion -- but if this is what you think of your country -- if you have this level of cynicism -- I can't believe you actually do have any hope left.

    That's sad.

    Obviously -- I disagree with your politics -- and for the sake of my three girls -- ages 17, 13 and 10 I hope Mitt Romney wins -- so the burden on them in terms of national debt won't be so great -- and as middle class folk -- he might be able to finally get the economy turned around -- because job-wise -- my husband and I are worried all the time -- but all that said -- even though I disagree with almost everything President Obama believes about the role of government -- I still don't think he's a bad guy.


    I have talked with my kids repeatedly at the dinner table this summer and fall - about how lucky we are to live in a country -- where two honest, decent men are our choices for President. It's the greatest country in the world -- but we have to try not to break everything down to these black and white choices of good and evil. I just don't think it works like that.

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    1. Anonymous,

      I'm sorry to inform you that you're supplying us liberals with excellent proof of a stereotype about conservative ideologues: that you people don't believe in facts or evidence.

      Catherine is "crazy" to suggest that the marriage of economic and political interests often leads to outcomes that favor those interests? Have you ever read a real newspaper or taken a real history class? Do you know the difference between an evidence-based position and one based simply on beliefs and "values"?

      The fact that Romney appeals to voters like you--people who care mainly about their own pocketbooks (and perhaps their own exclusionary "moral" values too), and whose grasp of economic policy is both weak and distorted by self-interest--is one of the many, many reasons that a Romney presidency is a horrifying prospect to me.

      I apologize to everyone here for the incivility, but you can't call Catherine "crazy"--about a FACT-BASED POINT OF VIEW, no less!!--and expect other readers to just treat your position as a legitimate difference of opinion.

      LT

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    2. Anonymous8:45 AM

      "Greatest country in the world"? How are the candidates foreign policies coming along? That is, how is the USA looking to other "greatest countries in the world"?

      tsk tsk

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    3. Anonymous10:08 AM

      I don't understand how anyone can be concerned about the deficit and think Mitt Romney will be good for our future. Romney has promised to lower the deficit over his term, yes, but he has also promised to cut taxes across the board, while also increasing defense spending (by 2 trillion) and Medicare spending (by 7 billion). These things are not all possible at the same time as he's proposed them. Are there more details that might explain how it will all work? Maybe; but, like his tax returns, he refuses to share them.

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  29. I don't think Romney actually drives his own car.
    But to the rest of it: yes, yes and yes.

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  30. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Happy Election Day LT!

    I hope you get everything you are hoping for -- and that all of us gals with the weak grasp of economic policy and distorted self-interest get put in our place.

    You're right. There's only one side to the story. There is the "right" side as a liberal and the "wrong" side if you're anything else.

    As to your observations of me -- I think I may have read a real newspaper once or twice -- I do get The Boston Globe delivered to my front door every morning. Would that count as real? And actually -- I majored in Political Science in college -- so I did take a history class or two. I guess I'd have to give you the name of my alma mater to make sure you think it is real.

    I'm not sure how I showed myself to have "exclusionary moral values" in my short post. If you could give us the list of what would be considered accepted "inclusionary" moral values I'll be sure to study it for next time and try to keep up.

    We disagree -- I think -- you and I about the proper role of government. And that's okay. Some people believe in more government -- some in less. And it was ever thus. Even at the time that Jefferson and others were writing the constitution.

    I think government can do less and still take care of people who need it -- like my sister -- who at age 41 lives in a nursing home because of her multiple sclerosis -- but then get out of the way to let businesses create jobs so people who are able-bodied can work and have the dignity of receiving a paycheck they have worked for every week.

    Luckily - we both get to vote -- and to have our voices heard. I still think your guy's going to win by the way -- and you will go to bed happy in the end. If he does win re-election we'll see how the next four years go.

    I may horrify you -- but I'll be praying for the success of whomever wins the White House today.

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  31. Anonymous8:17 AM

    And Catherine -- by the way -- I'm sorry that I used the word "crazy" -- I didn't mean that I think you are actually crazy -- (except in the way that any mother is who is trying to deal with kids' homework -- and how to pay the mortgage -- and where in the heck you put that big package of construction paper you just bought at BJs for a school project -- but now you can't find -- and oh yea -- what are we going to have for dinner -- kind of a way). I think you are wonderful -- and your writing is amazing -- and your recipes are too. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE seriously -- we need the cookbook published soon. : ) I'll buy it -- and give it as a gift to all my friends!

    I'm sorry if I made things unpleasant on your site. But thanks for listening.

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  32. To Anonymous:
    Although I disagree with most of what you said (though I hope you're right that "our guy" will win :)), I want to say how much I appreciate your calm tone and respectful approach.

    If more of us--and particularly, if the members of Congress--were willing to have this kind of civil discourse, the country would be a far better place.
    Jan

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  33. Or strap them to the roof inside a kennel and drive to Canada. My oldest used to blame every piece of litter he saw on George Bush, which is on the one hand a bit extreme to blame EVERY problem, down to wayward gum wrappers, on the president, but on the other lets him off way too easy since a coke cup in the gutter is nothin' compared to 100s of 1000s dead in Iraq.

    This year, he had a dream he stomped on Romney's foot and called him a "bum." My heart swelled to bursting.

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  34. How sad for all of you who continue the culture of hate and divisiveness and pass that along to your children. I have great respect for both Romney and Obama. They are both highly decent respectful individuals who love their family and their country. They just have different ideas. We need to teach our children respect and tolerance for ALL, not just for the liberal agenda.

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    1. Not totally sure that patronizing pity actually falls under the category of "respect," Julia. But thank you for the reminder.

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    2. Allyson1:53 PM

      Catherine, I love you.

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  35. Erin K.4:20 PM

    I was just telling my business partner about taking my 8 and 6 year old boys with me to vote this morning - and how my eight year old especially has been very passionate about the idea of fairness in relation to the election - he's especially honed in on the issue of equal pay for women - and boy-howdy can he get riled up over it! I totally agree that there are not many adults around who are as tuned into fairness as the kids are.

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  36. My 4 year old (at the time) daughter very casually mentioned to a friend that we were voting for Obama bc if McCain won he was going to kill people with guns. This came after what I THOUGHT was a totally reasonable and nonviolent conversation about ending wars. Yikes!
    This year my 5 year old son keeps accusing me of having Romnesia every time I change my mind about something (like if it's bath night or not).
    And Julia if the liberal agenda is about wanting our fellow citizens to be healthy and free to love who they want - I'm all in.

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  37. Anonymous7:24 PM

    There is still time to vote.....Canada is running as a party in the election.....check out "The Canada Party" election campaign video on youtube....Catherine, I think you will love it! And in case, Romney wins, we would love to have you and your fam in the Great White North where healthcare is universal, multiculturalism (not a melting pot) is cherished and elections are started and ended in a month......pretty good eh?

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  38. Amen.

    And for those 'economy minded'. The economy historically performs better under Democrats than Republicans and we have gone nowhere but up since it was driven into the ditch under the last administration. What has Romney said or shown that indicates he can do a better job? Just because he made himself rich does not mean he knows how do make you rich (spoiler alert: he won't, unless you are a CEO or one of his sons)

    Oh, and I just subscribed to Real Simple.

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  39. I'm in Ohio, and I've walked around with this feeling of hope bordering on potential despair all day. I've also been feeling a strange sort of nostalgia or something like it--the last presidential election was the same night as my partner and I's first date. Today he and I went to the polls together for the first time with our 8-week-old son in tow. Oh, that crazy passing of time.

    Major props to you guys there in MA! Love Elizabeth Warren.

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  40. Rachel1:53 PM

    Geez, let's not be paranoid witch hunters. OMG, so the investment firm owns the voting machines. They don't own the voters, my dear. (Obviously, as this is written post election.) Have a little faith, trust, and pixie dust.

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  41. Samantha7:21 PM

    I can't believe that you told your kids that the voting machines in Ohio were tainted by Republicans. Honestly, I'm shocked. I've always thought you were a level-headed person and this makes me question you. You had better fashion your family some recycled tinfoil hats for Yule this year.

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  42. Hi Catherine, I really meant no disrespect. I've been a fan of yours for years. I own your book. My family enjoys many of your recipes and your writing is always interesting and enlightening. But I was shocked that you and others here would teach your children that a presidential candidate would hurt them. 49% of our country voted for Mitt Romney. Let's show them also our respect.

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  43. Anonymous11:37 AM

    wow, I can`t help reading all these through the perspective of my own electoral experience. I´m 35, was born during a military dictatorship that ended when I was 7. Lived in a country governed by right-conservative parties, started voting for the left party, saw the left party win 7 years ago, voted for the left party againg 2 years ago....You now what? Nothing is black or white, not even candidates...former uruguayan president? He was the best in many many years, but when the parliament despenalized abortion he annulated the new law, because he is an anti-abortion catholic...Presidents are people, with positive aspects, negative ones, shades... Democracy is held by the people in general and thats the point, isn´t it? Read a lot, get involved, act in every place you can to support the things you believe in. Voting is a privilege.
    All, all the best, to all of you and your country


    Adriana

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  44. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Oh, and by the way, it is really funny when the kids start getting ideas about the candidates, I´ve heard mine doing that too!!

    xxx

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  45. That's kind of sad that you would think Romney, who has five sons, would run your children over.

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  46. Anonymous8:09 AM

    ok, I'm kind of not getting it...I think Catherine was actually laughing about the "running over with the car" question...

    Adriana

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  47. I have noticed that conservatives include a nose in their smiley face emoticons, while liberals let the eyes and mouth suffice. At least everybody's happy!

    :)

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