I took the time to explain an exceedingly simple (which means basically wrong) version of health reform politics to my five year old today. Already a Barack Obama fan she fell right into line. “I want everyone to be able to see a doctor,” she said. She knew daddy was checking the news all day to find out if the Democrats had secured 216 votes to provide just that (see, basically wrong, but right enough for five).
When the vote was scheduled for 6PM EDT I told her she could watch, but that it would be boring for her. “I want to watch it!” she said. When the vote moved to 9PM I broke the news that she’d be asleep before health reform passed. That triggered a conversation about how she would learn the outcome. (She doesn’t usually see me in the morning and perhaps she assumed that her mother couldn’t provide a sufficient news service, which is of course false but not to a five year old.)
Since she can read short words we worked out a system. I will place a note by her door with one word, “yes” for passage and “no” for failure. I asked her what to do in the event the vote doesn’t occur. She said that naturally I should leave no note at all in that case. (This girl really understands how to efficiently code information!)
Finally, I asked what picture should accompany “yes” or “no.” The answer, “A smiley face for ‘yes’ and a frown for ‘no.'” She knows just how daddy feels about this issue. At bedtime she told me, “I will be really happy if health reform passes.” Now that’s party discipline!