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Vote out politics

It’s election day in the United States, a time when we are reminded how much we detest politicians. After listening to their empty promises, mud slinging, fear mongering, hypocrisy, meaningless platitudes, and outright lies, we have to choose the ones who would do the least damage to our society. If we are lucky, our votes are actually counted.

Although we Americans detest politicians, we practice politics in our everyday lives.

I’m currently reading Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads. I turned to this book after all the times my family and I have had to deal with politics at school, in PTA, and various youth organizations. It’s sad that organizations that are supposed to help children generate the most childish behavior from adults.

I remember my mom’s experience with PTA. She got involved simply because she wanted to help my school. She started the teacher’s aid program and moved through the ranks until she became PTA president in 1972.

The school clearly had an “in” crowd. The connected people got the best classes, the most assignments working as playground supervisors, and the most invitations to birthday parties. If you were “out,” your existence at school could be very difficult. You could climb up the ranks on your merit, but you would not be accepted.

That was my situation at school. My friendships as a kid were determined by my mom’s political alliances. I was friends with kids whose parents were her allies. If a parent didn’t like my mom, her kids wouldn’t speak to me. I would find people I thought were my friends would turn against me because their parents found it politically expedient.

Although I’m 34 years and 70 miles removed from my old school, things are still the same. I’ve seen some recent examples of pettiness, snubbing, and juvenile behavior that are chillingly like what I saw when I was in elementary school. Yesterday’s schoolyard snobs and bullies are now parents who still display the same snobby and aggressive behavior. Ultimately, the kids are the unfair victims, just as I was.

If you find the politics engaged in by professional politicians distasteful, don’t practice it at home. And if you are going to volunteer for a youth organization, do it for the kids — don’t do it for yourself. Cliques, gossip mongering, and snubbing are for junior high. Grow up.

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