“Daddy, I like the President”

So, yesterday morning, my son David (6 1/2) says to me “Daddy, I like the president.”  I must admit, that is a view not widely shared in our household.  Yet as a Political Scientist I very strongly believe in the importance of instilling respect for our government and civic values in young people.  Quite a conundrum for someone who thinks the recent Rolling Stone article, “The Worst President in History?” makes a pretty compelling case (though worst ever may be pushing it).  My belief in civic values triumphed, and I told David, “that's good, our president is a very important person.”  I'll save the more partisan lessons about George W. Bush for when he's a little older.

The episode made me recall some of my earliest political memories of my mom and dad arguing about the virtues of Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan (and Independent John Anderson, for whom my mom actually voted).   I remember pretty negative feelings about Ronald Reagan when my mom informed me had once said, “a tree is a tree, how many more do you need to look at?”  Anyway, despite my great dislike for President Reagan, I grew up with an abiding respect for his office and our system of government, so I think before too long David can handle the truth about George Bush :-).  For now, though, I'm playing it safe. 

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