COME TOGETHER LIKE SNEETCHES: Milkshake

 

 

Lisa Mathews,
frontwoman of the kids’ band Milkshake, explains the significance of this
election to her daughter, with help from Dr. Seuss’ sneetches.

By
Lisa Mathews

 

It’s
funny how fast years fly when you’re a parent. Our kids become our clocks and
before you know it, what was once a cute little giggling being is now an
eight-year old thinking about the world around her and asking questions. Today,
my daughter Jesse counted all the Obama-Biden signs in people’s yards, and as
we passed by a lone McCain-Palin sign, she immediately took note. She said,
“Mom…most people are voting for Obama and that’s a good thing, right?”

 

I
realized that try as I might to provide simple explanations about the
presidential election that happens every four years, this year seemed quite
different. This year, I felt I could no longer be neutral. I told her it seems
that most Americans-at least where we live-were voting for Obama. And that it was a good thing. And then we started
talking about why, and I found myself examining out loud the current political
state of things as I see them.

 

We
talked about the political maps we’ve both been seeing everywhere, and I
explained the red-colored states represented places Republicans might win, and
the blue represented states where Democrats might win. She asked, “Is that
because Republicans live there (pointing to South Carolina), and Democrats live
there (pointing to NY)?” I said, “well… Republicans and Democrats live
everywhere in America.” And she said, “Well, then… it should all be purple.” I
thought about how the nation has become so divided, and immediately wished her
solution would actually work. It certainly made sense color-wise, since
everyone knows red and blue make purple. I was reminded by Obama’s talk about
the country being not the blue states of America or the red states of
America-but the United States of America. There is hope and inspiration in his
words.

 

When
Obama and Hillary were running for the Democratic nomination, to me it was a
miraculous win-win in the history-making, ground-breaking election scene. Not
only was the first African-American running, but the first woman as well. I was
excited as I talked to Jesse about this. I explained that since the beginning
of these United States, there has always been a white male as president. But
here and now, and finally, there is potential for change.

 

I
explained how the whole thing was also a bit unnerving, since there are many
Americans who think neither a woman nor a person other than Caucasian should
ever be president. I told her because of this, if Obama becomes president,
there may be people out there who might want to see the president hurt rather
than give him a chance to lead this country out of the terrible mess George Bush
has created over his eight years as president. She couldn’t understand why, and
I pointed to Mr. Skinny, the Halloween skeleton keeping watch at our door. “You
see Mr. Skinny? That’s how we all look underneath. Same bones. But some people
don’t recognize that. They can’t get past the color of a person’s skin.” We
remembered Dr. Seuss’ Sneetches, and
how the sneetches all ended up broke but happy, finally agreeing that the way
they looked didn’t matter. “Stars or no stars!”, she said. And then I said,
“Yes. And maybe Americans, regardless of the way they look, will come together
like those Sneetches.”

 

I
vote for the person who I think has the same values I want to instill in my
child: trust, honesty, cooperation, a sense of fairness and equality, a respect
for others. And I think Obama is the candidate who best embodies these ideals. So
I’ll cast my vote, and hope we move in a new direction. And maybe when Jesse is
old enough to vote, America will not be such a divided place.

 

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