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Inland Empire Business News 10-15-2014.001
Inland Empire Business News 10-15-2014.001

Political Parents in an Apolitical World

As listeners of my weekly radio show know, I regularly encourage parents to talk about politics with their children. Not at a granular level, of course; I don’t expect most 10-year-olds to keep track of how many seats the Republicans need to take control of the Senate, nor do I think it’s necessary to map it out for them (although you may want to explain to them what a majority party is, and why it matters). What I’m talking about is making the goings-on of government part of your everyday, dinner table discussion at home.

It doesn’t have to dominate the conversation; it can be as simple as taking a current crisis our country faces – Ebola, ISIS, you name it – and talking about your view of the President’s handling of the problem. If it were my house, I would explain that I heartily disapprove (but you knew that).

Who’s the Vice President? Yes, Really

Another important thing to address with kids is who the Vice President is. If that sounds strange, consider last week’s widely publicized Jimmy Kimmel Live segment, where producers scoured the streets of Los Angeles to ask ordinary Americans who Joe Biden is. If you’ve seen the video, you already know that too many people had no idea. I wonder how those people feel now that they’ve seen themselves humiliated on national television. More importantly, this isn’t just an embarrassment for them; it’s an embarrassment for our entire nation.

We may find ourselves laughing when we watch something like this happen to other people, but what if our own children were asked who the Vice President is? Could they answer? Could they identify him from a photo? Would they, unlike at least one of the people in the Jimmy Kimmel segment, be able to tell someone what political party the Vice President is part of? If your kids are still in single digit ages, you may not be thinking about this too much yet – but I assure you, if you wait until the teen years to start imparting a working knowledge of government on your children, it may be too late. The time to start talking politics with your kids is while you have their ears, and before the inevitable teenage rebellion sets in.

Teens and the “Presidential Thing”

Speaking of teens, Vice President Biden spoke at a rally in Portland, Oregon last week that was attended by many local high schoolers. On camera to an interviewer, many of them admitted they were there because they were receiving extra credit for class. One girl that received ample camera time gushed profusely about Joe Biden, stating unequivocally that she plans to vote for him “by the time the presidential thing comes around” because she will be 18 when it happens. If your teens are referring to the 2016 election “the presidential thing,” it may be time to turn off post-season baseball for a bit and ask them if they know who the Vice President is. You have friends who will think this is insane; after all, political parents are frowned upon in an apolitical world. But who cares? Someday, your kids will thank you.

Ed Hoffman is the host of the Main Event on AM590 which airs Saturday 9:30AM- 10:30AM and Sunday 4:00PM- 5:00PM.

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