Politicians and Grandkids Use Same Tactics
I love the Fourth of July and in my small town we really know how to celebrate the birth of our great country. The town decorates its self in red, white, and blue with flags waving from every business and light-posts are dripping with lush hanging flower pots.
Part of the Fourth of July festivities is a wonderful area called Tiny Town, a field that’s turned into kid central during the Fourth of July bash. Tiny Town is jam-packed with a blow-up slide, bouncy house, kiddy cars, face painting, and free arts and crafts. Surrounding the field are booths sponsored by sports clubs, school organizations, and the Boy & Girl Scouts all selling cotton candy, pop corn, soda, and ice cream. In the back corner of the field is a base ball diamond that becomes the Pony Ride where unhappy looking ponies tethered to a metal post walk drearily round and round while little children frown and cry when the ride ends after two rotations, and this is where my story starts.
Desiring to share the joys of Tiny Town with our grandchildren my husband and I loaded them into their car seats and headed to Tiny Town. Amazed by our good luck at finding a parking space right next to the back corner of the field we unloaded our energized grandkids. Holding hands and talking about all the fun activities that await them, we naively headed down the trail that dumps out next to the pony ride. My granddaughter immediately started pulling me towards the unhappy ponies; I pulled in the other direction. I quickly noticed the sign hanging lopsidedly from the dilapidated corral fence; it said $6.00 a ride. Now, some may call me cheap, but $6.00 for a less than inspiring ride on a depressed pony didn’t sound like fun and in my opinion would not be money well spent. I quickly added the second grandchild into the equation, $12.00 for a two loop ride; not happening.
My granddaughter looked at me with her sweetest smile and said, “Please, I really want to ride the ponies, please, please, please” I smiled sweetly right back at her and redirected her attentions to all the other activities they would be doing. My smile was returned with a frown and then one more round of ‘Please, I never get to ride ponies.” Above Audrey’s head my husband gave me a roll-of-the-eyes and we headed over to the arts and crafts booths where they painted wooden bird houses bright colors. Breaking her creative concentration ever-so-often, Audrey would lift her head just long enough to again plead for the pony ride. She smile sweetly, pouted demurely, and huff at me, to no avail.
We moved on to the blow up activities where they slid down the slide, jumped in the ball pit, bounced in the bouncy house, and climbed through an obstacle course. In between activities I would hear a new version of the Pony Plead; my response remained the same, it now became a matter of the will; I needed to win. With their hair full of static electricity we headed the grandkids back to the arts and crafts booths to decorate vinyl visors. Audrey found a large princess sticker covered with glitter, she had to have it, and placed it directly in the middle of the visor then surrounded it with flower and butterfly stickers. She then placed the visor on her head upside down so it looked like a glittery, brightly colored, princess visor/crown. The day was over and we headed back to the car, the only problem was we had to pass the pony ride one more time. I set my resolve and moved forward.
Audrey, assessing the situation and realizing this was her last opportunity to persuade Grandma into seeing her side of the debate, pulled out the largest weapon she could think of. Stepping in front of me and looking directly into my eyes, she said with passion, “Grammy, if you don’t let me ride the ponies I will never visit you again.” That face will forever be etched in my mind, eyes filled with determination, mouth set tight and firm while her hair flew wildly from static electricity and remnants of treats circled her mouth. The whole look was topped off with the princess visor-crown. Unable to suppress an amused smile I calmly said, “ I’ve raised three boys honey, that won’t work’” She tightened her lips and assessed me to see if there was any chink in my armor, nope, she sighed and walked to the car, defeated.
Over the last few months I have watched the news dismayed at how the politicians, Republicans or Democrats, sound like my granddaughter. They look straight into the camera and say the most drastic and disturbing thing they can to get the American people worked up. They smile sweetly, pout demurely, and huff at us in hope of manipulating the American people into seeing things their way. If they don’t get the response they want or the opinion polls suggest a need to redirect, they do so, and once again appeal to the American people to see things their way. This process is repeated weekly, sometimes daily, and I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of listening to the politicians speak with passion saying “It’s not a tax” when it’s a tax, or accusing one of lying while they lie. It seems to be impossible for the American people to know what truth is when it comes to politics. For every absolute truth spoken by a Democrat an opposite absolute truth is spoken by a Republican. So, who do we believe?
It’s not just the politicians I’m fed up with, I’m tired of hearing people in my community simply being a conduit for the news channels or worse hearing them repeat what a comedian said as if he/she has some great political insight. Wake up people, care enough to do some research; care enough to know even a little about what you speak, don’t just repeat what the talking heads said today. Like the politicians they will most likely change their tune by tomorrow or next week.
At times, I think I can see the princess visor/crown on their heads and remnants of past lies circling their mouths all the while pleading with passion for what they want the American People to believe. Let’s not give in! I encourage you to read many sources of political information. Listen to both Liberal and Conservative news so you can form an intelligent opinion and when the politicians start talking with their Princess visor/crowns on, stand firm in your convictions and knowledge, our country needs well informed involved citizens to make a difference.
Debora Shelford Hobbs