My Awesome Experience Talking Politics with a 10-Year-Old Being Raised by Republicans

boy-holding-american-flagSadly, my sister and her husband are both Republicans.  Though I wouldn’t call either of them “political hobbyists.”  My brother-in-law tries to act like he knows what he’s talking about (he’s doesn’t have a clue), and my sister for the most part won’t talk about politics at all.

Though I think I’d best describe them as the typical Christian Republicans.  The most “Christian” thing they do involves going to church on Sunday (if they wake up in time) and probably about 98% of what they know about politics comes from Fox News.

Needless to say, at family gatherings, we don’t discuss politics.

All that being said, my oldest nephew (he’s 10) recently decided to stay a few days with my mom.  Granted a lot of people say their family members are bright, but this kid is really intelligent for being ten.  It’s hard sometimes to talk to him because he can carry on adult conversations, but you forget sometimes that he’s only 10 so he’s not always going to understand everything.

While I was visiting the other day he happened to ask me what the difference was between a Republican and a Democrat.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of a loaded question to answer so that a 10-year-old would understand.  Not only that, but he’s not my child.

I could answer the question the way I would tell my child (for the record I don’t have any), but trying to explain this to someone else’s child is not exactly simple.  Especially when I know his parents aren’t Democrats.

Needless to say, it was one of the more enlightening experiences of my life.  I’ve explained politics to many people, but never a 10-year-old.  And especially not a 10-year-old whose parents are Republicans.

I didn’t even know where to start.  Social issues?  Economic?  How do I explain either where he would understand and without essentially telling him, “Your parents are full of crap”?

I started with the social approach.  He knows what homosexuality is and he’s clearly intelligent enough to know being a good person versus being a bad person.  He’s a Christian, so I simply asked him what he learns about Jesus in church.  His answer was basically to be a good person, a caring person, to love one another and be generous.

But that’s when he mentioned that he was taught that homosexuality is a sin.  At least according to the Bible.

Then I mentioned that Jesus Christ never once spoke out against homosexuality.  In fact, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality even once.

That’s when I posed the question, “Going by what you’ve been taught about Jesus, would you think he would judge homosexuals or embrace them?”

He said embrace them.

Then I asked him if he finds girls attractive.  He begrudgingly said he did.  He’s 10, they still have “cooties” after all.  That’s when I asked him, “When did you decide you liked girls?”  At first he really didn’t know how to answer that.  Though finally he said he just does.  He wasn’t sure why.

That’s when I said to him, “It’s the same way with homosexuals.  They don’t know why they like someone of the same sex, they just do.  They were born that way the same exact way you were born to like girls.”

Then I asked him if he could write his name with his right hand (he’s left handed).  He said he could, but it would be “really ugly.”  So that’s when I said, “So you have two mostly identical hands.  Yet you can only write well with one.  When did you choose to write with your left hand?”

Naturally he said he’s always written with his left hand.  And it’s true.  Even when he was a tiny baby he always favored his left hand.

So that’s when I told him, “See, we’re wired to be certain ways.  Our sexuality isn’t really any different than which hand we write with.  You didn’t choose to be left handed any more than someone chose to be homosexual.  You can try to write with your right hand as much as you want but it’ll never feel as comfortable as writing with your left.  It’s part of who you are.  It’s just like our sexual orientation.  We are how God created us because as a Christian I can’t imagine God creating people to be sinners.”

Then he countered with, “Well what about criminals?  Did God make them bad?”

I paused for a second, and presented with a situation a professor once presented for one of my classes to answer, “Describe race to someone who was born blind without using color.”

He sat there for a good 10-15 seconds before he said he didn’t think he could.

Then I asked him, “So are racists born, or is racism learned?”  He guessed learned.

That’s when I said, “See, bad behavior is learned.  People aren’t born bad.  You can usually trace bad behavior back to something.  The way they were raised.  The family structure.  What kind of financial situation were they born into.  Mental illnesses.  While some might be more inclined to be criminals, ultimately it’s always a choice.  The same way it’s a choice to be racist.  Someone isn’t born racist.  You can typically trace that racism back to mental illness, the way they were raised, where they were raised or even events in their life that might have caused them to form racial stereotypes.  But they weren’t born a racist.”

“But when it comes to homosexuals, that’s not the case,” I continued. “There’s no scientific evidence that pinpoints what causes homosexuality.  Straight parents raise gay children and gay parents raise straight children.  Most homosexuals have no idea why they’re gay.  Just that most of their lives, even as very young children, they always felt an attraction to the same sex.”

Though I told him at the end of the day, it’s all about just being a good person to everyone you meet because you don’t know what they’ve been through.  The server at the restaurant who’s not giving good service could have just lost a loved one.  The cashier at the grocery store who isn’t that talkative might be someone who suffers from severe social anxiety just trying to make a living.  But don’t judge anyone because you never really know what they’ve been through that’s made them the way they are.  Just be a good person to everyone and at the end of the day you’ll never know what impact your kindness might have made in the lives of others.

And if you do that, that is what being a Christian, and a good person in general, should be about.

But he didn’t left me off the hook with that.  He then brought up economics.

Economics I struggled with.  I didn’t want to step into territory where I might be telling him his parents don’t know what the heck they’re talking about (even though that’s what I really think), but I wanted to phrase it in such a way that he could figure it out on his own.

“What’s better, helping 98 percent of people or just 2 percent?” I asked.

He answered 98 percent.

Then I asked, “What makes more sense, spending money to help the poor or to give more money to the rich?”

He said to help the poor.

Finally I asked him, “What’s should we spend more money on, education or bombs?”

He said education, because education is what makes people more intelligent so they don’t need to use bombs.

Like I said, he’s a pretty smart kid.

Then I told him that most Democrats believe that we should help the poor, that we should focus on helping 98 percent of people instead of just the top 2 percent and that education is one of the most important investments we can make in this country.

Republicans support pretty much the opposite of all of that.

And it will be up to him to decide for himself what side of these arguments on which he wants to stand.  Because it wasn’t my place to tell him what’s right or wrong.  Nobody should do that, not even his parents.  The only thing anyone should do is tell him what they think and let him make up his own mind.

Will anything I said to him make any kind of a difference?  Who knows?  I guess time will tell.  Though I feel I might have learned more from trying to explain all of this to him than he did from anything I had to say.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Sparks13

    I think you did a damn good job of letting him tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. I’d like to see his parents explain why a single one of his answers was incorrect.

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    • LEsteban223

      It they watch Fox, they’ll find plenty of spin for their kid. I just hope the kid’s savvy enough to see through the bull. I have a feeling he may very well be.

      • Sparks13

        If they watch Faux, their kid is too smart for them. I don’t know where he’s learning the truth about right and wrong, but I’m glad he is.

      • LEsteban223

        Some kids are naturals at spotting b.s. better than many of us “grumps”.

      • Sparks13

        They have a much broader view of reality than we did as children. Thank goodness for computers.

      • LEsteban223

        That, too.

  • Carol Laxner

    I am almost certain this conversation never took place. But it’s a good story.

    • Allen Clifton

      And I would be 100% certain that you’re wrong.

      • Pipercat

        Nice of you to join us!

    • CatWhisperer

      Then you have never been around a smart kid who questions life. They are out there–I raised one, so I speak from first-hand experience.

    • jillyneutron

      When my son was 11 years old he asked the very same question. It’s a great opportunity to teach your children how to think, rather than what to think.

    • SirViP

      By age 10 I read more books than a large chunk of adults do in their entire lifetime (war and peace by age 14). . . speak for yourself.

  • love the swamp

    Thats the problem with American politics on both sides of the aisle. They keep trying to legislate morality and what is religiously correct. You should have been a good brother and stayed out of it. You should have told him to ask his parents, who obviously have different religious views than your own. You as an adult should have known better than to have this discussion with a 10 year old. Shame on you.

    • Allen Clifton

      Oh, get off your high horse.

      • love the swamp

        You were the one on your high horse when you had the conversation with a 10 year old. I don’t disagree with what you said, I just disagree that you felt you had to have this discussion with a 10 year old.

      • slavicdiva

        You seem to think that if Allen had answered his nephew’s questions as you suggested, then the boy would have stopped questioning. There are lots of things that children are not comfortable discussing with their parents, but might be comfortable discussing with other adults in their lives.

        For me, it was the whole puberty thing – my mom was forever embarrassed to talk about anything remotely related to bodily functions or sex, so I knew not to ask her. Fortunately, I had a sister who was 20 years older than me who was willing to answer my questions. She didn’t lie, she didn’t put me off, and if she was embarrassed, she didn’t show it.

        Similarly, I was raised Catholic – but started questioning whether I believed any of that stuff by the time I was around 12. I saw too many people professing one thing in church, and doing the opposite outside of it (children notice these things). I didn’t have anybody to talk about that with, but I had the ability to think it through for myself.

        I think Allen did an excellent job encouraging his nephew to think for himself, and to understand things for himself. That is respectful both to the child and to his parents.

        If any adult had answered my youthful questions as you suggested, it would not have stopped me from asking, and would have made me think less of the adult I’d asked. Non-answers don’t satisfy real curiosity, and don’t respect the child as an individual person. The nephew obviously feels comfortable enough with Allen to ask him questions; Allen took the child seriously and had an appropriate conversation with him rather than ignoring him or brushing him away.

      • Donna Davenport

        Great post, diva…

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Why? Kids are young, not stupid.

      • Jo Clark

        Why? What are you afraid of?

        It takes a village. I’ve got two grandkids, my son’s kids. My son has passed, and their mom is a moderately liberal woman. Her parents are pretty conservative. We all live in a one mile stretch, so contact is frequent.

        I’m not afraid to speak my mind around my grandkids or answer their questions. They’re smart. They can make their own decisions about what’s right and they do. I consider it more as giving them all sides of an issue and letting them think about things.

      • KitariRianae

        If he had brought the conversation to a 10 year – old, you’d be right. But when a child comes to you with questions the best thing you can do for them is answer them honestly. It sounds like this kid is inquisitive enough to ask others; he’ll get a different viewpoint from everyone and form his own. That’s how I learned about politics.

      • October Phillips

        Seriously! I think Allen handled this very well. If a kid at 10 is asking questions responsible adults in their lives should interact. Its called being an uncle. I am sure that Allen would have no problem answering to his sister and brother-in-law about anything he said to his nephew. He chose his words carefully and had a give and take conversation with him. I would and DO do the same thing. Its called being a family. I do not insult the intelligence of children or their desire to understand how the world works. Its nice to know I am not alone.

      • Dur

        why answer a question honestly when you can just let his parents brainwash him instead, amirite?

      • laurie

        Allen, you are on the highest horse of all!

    • Sane_American

      Uh, I think it’s the right that’s been legislating morality. At least blame the right (pun intended) side.

    • Tim weber

      I think you did a great job, I have a little sister and will never hesitate to answer the questions she has about the world (but my parents and myself see eye to eye for the most part when it comes to politics). Now if I could just get my 12 year old sister to ask questions like this kid.

    • proud2beDem

      NO THEY don’t keep trying to legislate morality , only the Right seem to bring in the bible and beliefs into the mix . I watch a lot of news and to yet have I seen or heard a Dem. bring their religion or the bible into the conversation , only the fact of what is the right thing to do in a certain situation , you cannot consider that the same as what spews out of the mouths of Bachmann , Palin ,Gomart

    • andy

      Thats how we get these false educated voters that keep voting against there own interests. Teaching children lies is child abuse. Give him the facts then he has a choice

    • ShanaLeBeau

      This was not a random ten year old, this was his nephew and he didn’t introduce the subject, the (apparently quite bright) child did….a child who, very likely, has been a little bewildered by the “us-v-them” attitude he hears expressed even within his own family.

    • Jo Clark

      Oh, no, are your fee fees hurt because a child is being given the opportunity to think for himself? Angry knee-jerk reaction because of that ‘lib’rul indokternashun’?

      The only one here trying to legislate morality sounds like you. Morality, for the most part, is not a two-way street. Either something is morally correct or it’s not.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      Hmmm, seems to be the conservative way. Talk only with people who reinforce your beliefs.

    • Donna Davenport

      You sound like one of those whackjob home-schoolers who don’t want their children exposed to anyone in society until they reach 21….Good luck with that….

    • jimhummel

      I think you are wrong. If a child asks you a question, the child deserves an answer. I think this situation was handled admirably.

    • SirViP

      “Thats the problem with American politics on BOTH(???) sides of the aisle. They keep trying to legislate morality and what is religiously correct”

      You really just sounded like an idiot.

  • Jen

    I think this shows that there is hope for the world. A 10 year old that wants to understand things, is curious about politics, and when asked, “gets it.”

  • Cynthia Gurin

    Excellent essay, somewhat surreal read. however, sandwiched as it was between two giant racist anti-Obama Tea Party ads.

    • korhal

      I saw the same thing. Forward Progressives needs to eliminate offensive ads.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        That is a quirk of the hosting site. I have Adblocker, so I don’t see any of them

      • SirViP

        adblocker ftw!

      • Alex LaBianca

        My ads were for hotels in Syracuse. You should cut down on your politics.

      • korhal

        I really should. :/

  • Steve C

    I love this! I had a similar conversation with my 10 year old niece, who is super intelligent as well. She has been nominated twice by her school to attend youth ambassador programs in D.C. She asked me back in April what the differences between the 2 parties are and I did almost the same thing. Asked her questions that enabled her to use critical thinking to answer the question herself. She knew that I am a Democrat, her parents aren’t political at all, however her grandfather from the other side is a staunch Tea Party Republican. When I asked her what she thought the biggest differences were between what she knows about how I view things and how her grandfather views things, the response I received kind of shocked me. “Well Uncle Steve, I know you like everybody. You always tell me how important it is to treat everyone the same. My grandpa doesn’t like poor people, brown people or gay people.” I asked her how she came to that conclusion about her grandfather and she “hears him talk.”
    Children are not blind or deaf to the actions and words of adults.

  • ShanaLeBeau

    Allen, is your sister still speaking to you? I am a huge advocate of answering children whenever it’s possible and I think you did a great job but I’m worried that you might have gotten yourself in a deep hole with the parents of this sharp child. (and if you want an “awkward position”, try being the lunch lady at a day care and having one of the kids ask you about “good touch/bad touch”….)

  • dutch163

    well done!

  • Alexander DeWolf

    Great article. The only thing I have to say is that not all Republicans are hateful,greedy, Christian, old white men. I would ask the child questions to find this out first. Still, what you said to the child does promote compassion and hopefully some thinking on his part.

    • JohnnyR

      yep.. not all Republicans are hateful, greedy,Christian, old white men… but… all hateful, greedy, “Christian”, old white men are Republicans.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      No, but all hateful greedy old Christian white men are Republicans.

      • giankeys luvs shemale porn

        hey!,,,,,,why am I only allowed ONE upvote???????

  • danibull

    Very cool thing to do with a 10 yr. old. I’m sure his parents would have twisted the democrats positions if the situation was reversed. Maybe you could teach at a grade school and start indoctrinating kids when they are only 5 or 6?

  • Izzy66

    This is not a explaining Politics, this is explaining Homosexuality and not a lot on much else. I guess we’ll just have to wait until a Woman talks to him about Misogyny before he understands How his parent’s politics are already suppressing and restricting their most personal and private rights.

  • fja123

    Only problem I saw: Would not “mental illness” be a born trait, and thus “God-given”? Some bad behavior may be learned, but there is an initial predisposition for all behaviors, good and bad. Someone may be forced into crime due to social circumstances, but a serial killer is compelled to kill. It’s not a question of whether they’re good or bad; just how society deals with their actions/behavior.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      I don’t think there is a simple explanation for the origins of mental illness.

      • fja123

        Agreed, but there are mental illnesses that are innate, therefore negating Mr Clifton’s assumption that all bad behaviors are learned and that mental illness is one of the “teachers”; it is not. Mental illness may be a factor in a bad behavior, but it takes away the ability to “choose”, Whether innate or environmental; it doesn’t teach. Some people are just born “bad”.

      • Ginger

        Actually, often many mental illness does need a environmental trigger.

  • nnyl

    Another angle would have been to ask him if he knew what Jesus said about the poor. In my experience with them, many conservative Christians ignore that part of the message.

    My stepson was 7 during the 2008 election season. He knows his mother is a Democrat and he knows I am politically active, sometimes with the Democrats (because you have to be to get things done in my 80% Democratic community) and sometimes as an independent. His father doesn’t talk politics.

    When we passed McCain signs out in the country, he made a comment about McCain being evil. I told him, “He isn’t evil, he has a different vision on how the country should be run.” I could tell him why I thought McCain’s ideas were wrong for the country without painting him as a villain.

    I think part of the problem with the current state of political discourse is demonizing those who disagree with you.

    • SluttyMary

      He was right about McCain being evil.

      • nnyl

        I’d say more foolish, grandstanding, and very, very bitter.

      • LEsteban223

        In a word, evil.

  • CatWhisperer

    Wow, great job presenting both sides in an unbiased fashion. Even an intelligent 10-year-old kid can understand what makes sense and what does not.

  • sfwm.son

    I think you were NOT right to be talking to a 10 year old about homosexuality for that much time. The rest of it, right on.

    • fja123

      Why? The kid said he likes girls. Do you think talking about “them” will change his mind? 10 yr olds are more aware about cultures today than they were 40 yrs ago. Better he learned to respect others at an early age than be influenced by ignorance later.

    • Dur

      Homosexuality isn’t a taboo. It doesn’t have to be hidden away from people. You must be a very sad and hateful person if you think it is.

      Some people are gay. GET OVER IT!

      • Kevin

        Dur, go outside, homosexuality definitely is still taboo.

      • Saje3d

        Only in Bigot-land.

      • giankeys luvs shemale porn

        only to regressive religious trash

      • sfwm.son

        you all need to calm down. I never said anything about being gay or that it was wrong. I questioned the length and tone of the conversation with the ten year old. The kid, Clifton says already knows about gay people. He should have let it go after the god loves everyone part. I am not a sad and hateful person, so drop it.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      Why? You think kids don’t know homosexuality exists?

  • JohnnyR

    seems like the kid is pretty well grounded in what is right and wrong…. maybe he’s ready for the lesson on hypocrisy…???

  • Kevin

    You told him that there is no scientific evidence on what causes homosexuality, but said that people are born that way and its not a learned behavior. There is some research that points to it being inborn and some that points it being learned. So, aside from your disgust at republicans, you may have been a tad biased. The science may not be out on it, but have you ever really gotten to know a few homosexuals? Many will tell you they were attracted to the OPPOSITE sex early on. Some may have endured sexual abuse, which obviously would alter their sexual behaviors. And some were gay since early childhood. So lets try not to use blanket statements to cover all homosexuals, because just like everyone else, they have different stories. We might not be as predictable as you unscientifically think.

    -Gay independent

    • fja123

      I get what you’re trying to say, but I also believe you’re combining homosexuality with bisexuality, and confusing behavior with innate attraction.

    • Ginger

      ” some that points it being learned.”- no there is not.

  • Karen Rose

    The problem comes when the parents insist that they “hate the sin but love the sinner”. That Republicans want to help the poor by teaching them responsibility instead of dependence, and that buying bombs protects our freedom.

    Conservative values *sound* good, which is why so many people blindly believe in them.

  • teacherme

    I think that this topic was wonderfully explained and really excellent, especially if it was an unplanned discussion with the 10 yo. After reading it, I wondered, “How can anyone be a Republican?”

  • Christoph

    I believe you missed the point with explaining the difference. You brought too much baggage to the issue which is big problem in explaining and understanding politics. It is the baggage that divides peoples and that is truly its purpose.
    A Democrat is by simplest definition is one who believes control of a nations policies should be decided by the many. A Republican conversely believes the process should be in the hands of a few “pun intended” Selectmen. Usually these days it is men they select.
    America is a compromise of these two seemingly opposite ideas. We are ruled by a few, but selected by the many.
    All the rest is your baggage and we all have baggage.
    Start simple, with yourself and with your nephew.
    Their are political liberals, social conservatives, progressives and there still exist a place for the staunch conservatives and none of these are what should make one a Republican or a democrat. It is at its finest a choice on who should the nation. Not what policies or choices these representatives make. That is between the elected official and their constituents.. or in a perfect system they would be.
    Start simple, ask this child if he believes in we should be a nation with laws made to serve the few or should be pushing ever more toward laws that are both created for and condoned by the many. And then ask which political philosophy is the best way to get there.

  • Steal Mind

    A fantastic piece of propaganda I would gladly tear apart over a live conversation. Are you up to it?

    • giankeys luvs shemale porn

      yes! shall we start with the socio-economic comparing of repub VS democrat federal policies over the past 25 yrs; and the totality of impact upon ALL americans seeking equality?

      live or here is fabulous! lets play!

    • SirViP

      Yes, propaganda coming from liberals . . . whereas conservative “sources of information” tend to do poorly on fact-checking sites. Please, everyone knows bigots are the propaganda machines. Go back to your mcarthyism, your fuckyouwhatsmineismine policies and your roundabout asinine beliefs.

  • rossbro

    Good talk !

  • Curtis Scarbrough

    If the kid is that smart at 10, he’s probably going to grow up to be a democrat.

  • gene27514

    I’m a progressive, but I think you got the economic argument wrong. A client of mine gave me some valuable insight. Many people have become quite successful. They’ve worked hard, and tried to be good people. They know how hard it was to succeed, and have a real sense of pride in their accomplishments. They are able to share (tithe their 10% religiously) and still provide a very pleasant life for their families. The American dream.
    When asked, a republican will say its hard work, focus, driven by goals, accepting delayed gratification by working for the future. That is what they believe. If they did it, anyone can do it, since they will tell you there is nothing special about what they did. Therefore, if someone is poor, it must be because they did not work hard enough, did not work smart enough, or did not want it hard enough. Frankly, they were too lazy to be successful. And they do not deserve any of my hard earned money!
    A democrat says yes, hard work, focus, desire, and all the things mentioned are very important, but so is a little bit of luck. (Republican Luck has nothing to do with it.) If a person gets cancer, it can wipe them out, regardless of how hard they try. Many successful men have wives that allow them to be focussed. What if their wife got cancer when they were young. …
    Democrats accept that even the best of people can fail, especially if left on their own. All a person needs is a little help sometimes. A start. A boost. Democrats are proud of their accomplishments, and even prouder when they can help others. Their motto might be, there for the Grace of God, go I.
    Economics: Ronald Reagan was a terrific communicator with at the perfect combination of folksy demeanor and confidence. He was sold on supply side economics and believed in the Ayn Rand idea that only free enterprise was the source of all good things, while governments only leach the power out of the market engine, always doing more harm than good. Alan Greenspan was a true believer as well. They were perfectly willing to let the market run full steam ahead, no restrictions, no oversight. Everyone would benefit, the poor most of all. Its a theory that history has proven over and over to be a wishful dream. The only prosperity will occur in the upper 1%.
    Progressives love the idea of wealth creation just as much. Their method is to have policies that expand the wealth of the middle class, with lots of upward mobility for the poor. Some programs work, and some don’t. But the goal of a progressive government is focussed squarely on the middle class. That group is large enough, and will spend enough money to fuel growth. Free education, low cost housing loans to qualified buyers, minimum wages above the poverty line, programs to encourage renewable energy which keeps dollars in the US economy instead of shipping petro dollars overseas. Anti-monopoly laws that break up corporations that are too big, that have monopoly control of markets. Anti collusion laws. Investments in the infrastructure. Aversions to wars, especially pre-emptive wars. With a booming, prosperous middle class, the wealthy do darned well too. It is not a class war we seek.

    • Cemetery Girl

      To me, I feel that as a progressive our society is only as strong as our weakest links. To have a strong country it means that we have to do what is in our power to strengthen our citizens. Equal opportunity for education, so even though we can’t force people to learn those that have the desire have the tools. Equal opportunity to healthcare so people don’t feel like they need to put off routine healthcare until there is clearly a problem (thus creating greater expenses that must be covered by someone.) If we do what we can to help people excel then we all win. It is our problem is some inner city kid had to share an outdated textbook or if an elderly person is having to decide between food or medication. We the people must care for our people and make this someplace worth living.

    • giankeys luvs shemale porn

      (a) I love what U wrote as I also am progressive (b) FOX “news” will now condemn U as being a secular commie Kenyan moslem anti American martian who hates white christians

    • Randall

      That was pretty much perfect.

  • Andrew Long

    very well done, Allen. bravo and a great lesson for all of us!

  • Adam Knapp

    Now have this same conversation with his parents.

  • katgal1232

    My daughter voted for president for the first time in the 2012 election. It was very exciting and she took it very seriously as she does local and state elections. She had just finished a semester of humanities, political science, and several American History courses. Her comment was, “a woman that votes repug just must be mentally ill.”

  • William Fite

    I feel sorry for your nephew. You fed him nothing but crap. First of all Jesus did talk about homosexuality and was against it. Read the Matthew chapter.

    Secondly you grossly state that Republicans don’t care about 98% of the population, they only care about the top 2%. That is also a load of crap. We just don’t think the government needs to give the poor everything. We believe they need to do earn it themselves. Yes there will always be the ones who can’t help themselves. If you look at the data, who volunteers the most and who donate the most, Republicans.

    I feel sorry for this kid who has an uncle that is so dead set in feeding him BS. If I was his parents, I would never let him visit you again or let you talk politics to him.

    • miketothad

      Even a ten year old could prove to you that you lapdogs don’t have a CLUE what you care about. Your 90% white party has made a platform out of demonizing and dehumanizing the poor. I’ll sure as hell keep my kids as far away from you hateful morons as possible.

      • William Fite

        Thank you don’t need liars and mooches like you around us.

      • miketothad

        Bobby Jindal just blocked lawsuits against BP, because he knows that what the REAL “conservative” country club thinks of you politically illiterate idiots.

      • William Fite

        Stopping frivolous lawsuits are a good thing.

      • miketothad

        “Frivolous lawsuits”… you’re a true right wing lapdog, Mr. Nobody.

      • giankeys luvs shemale porn

        ” we are suing the president”
        ……………..hours b4 we go on our august vacation/break

      • giankeys luvs shemale porn

        I don’t lie and have been a self employed chef since 1989 here in SE florida; now also adding a 2nd L.L.C. for opening an antique/classic car show company
        ” liars and mooches”??
        geeeeeeeee,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,aren’t U the SH*TBAG who BITCHED about name calling???
        seems U just got busted again,,,,by ME again

  • laurie

    I am a lesbian and lean Democrat politically. With that said, I found this article narrow-minded and arrogant when addressing the parents of this inquisitive 10 year old. “Sadly, my sister and her husband are Republicans.” Using, “Sadly” makes the author come across as pompous. Skip it and it’s a factual statement. The explanation of differences between the parties is disrespectfully narrow and shallow, even for a 10 year old. Too polarizing for me!

    • Randall

      Laurie, you have clung to one sentence and are making a big deal out of it. That in and of itself is sad. Secondly, I don’t know how much time you have spent around children, but from experience, you have to narrow your thought processes and approach in order to connect with someone of that age.

  • Johnny

    Man! i just wrote this whole thing out and it got deleted when I opened an account. okay here we go again…

    Personally I would have said to him, “republican” and “democrat” are words people use to group others into nice little boxes and assume that these little words explain people’s stances on extremely complex issues. I would go on to explain to him that while some people may believe gay marriage is okay they may also believe that abortion is a sin; or that others may think that we need gun control in this nation but we should, at the same time, restrict immigration. Then I would explain to him that when people call other people a liberal, conservative, socialist, progressive, moderate, republican, democrat or any other name they are assuming that they know everything that this person stand for, even though they really don’t know. (Here I would tell him that he should never assume and that he should never name call). I would go on to tell him that if you call yourself any of these names you are being lazy and not looking at every issue individually and choosing for yourself what you feel is right or wrong while letting others make those decisions for you. That those people who make the decisions are usually people who pander to the lowest common denominator of fear hate and slander in order to get to the positions to make decisions. I would end my little discussion with him by saying I love him, his mom and his dad very much and that we are guilty of calling each other dirty names like “republican” and “democrat,” that he should make decisions for himself and when he gets older to vote for people who HE believes will make America a better place. Because deep down that is what everyone wants even though we sometimes disagree on how to get there. (I may throw in how corporations and other powerful minorities love fueling battles between red and blue in order to sneak in their shady agendas, but that might be a discussion for another day). We would probably just go get some ice cream and play in the yard or something after that.

    *that’s just where I would have gone with that question…

    -…that was the rewritten version I think the original was better but i hope the point gets across. =/

  • Terry Major-Holliday

    I had a similar experience in trying to explain the Affordable Care Act to high school students in my advisory group. As an educator in a public school, I had to be sure not to try to present one side over another, so I simply explained what the Act was about, and some of the effects it might have on them, going forward in their lives, as most of them were seniors and heading out into the adult world for the first time. Some of them asked why members of the GOP were so angry about it and wanted to repeal it, and again, I tried to answer neutrally. It was very hard! I asked my fellow teacher in the same advisory group how I had done as far as being neutral, and he told me that it was fine.

  • Guile Williams

    Good job, although I do not agree with your notion that it isn’t his parents place to tell him what is right or wrong. It is our job as parents to guide our kids on a path that leads to them being successful. Some of that guidance is teaching them what is right or wrong, what is acceptable or not, behaviors that are public and private, etc.

  • Terri

    I’m in this situation every day as my spouse is a conservative (in all senses) Republican Fox watcher. I try to teach my children these very things, without making their dad seem like a nut job. It’s kind of neck-snapping; he’s deeply compassionate, in certain cases, and would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation if you needed it. I really have not figured this all out and probably never will. But must preserve the kids’ relationship with a father who loves them very much, and vice versa. My approach is to explain things when asked, talk with them about news and current events, and to let them be exposed to what their dad watches and listens to as well. They’ll have to choose for themselves.

  • WFP

    Given the framework you provided, he had little choice. Jesus truly loves homosexuals but he also loves sinners. Loving someone and approving of their behavior is something quite different. You made a great case for criminals but failed to recognize that a great percentage of “homosexuals” have reasons that date back to even early childhood. (This is scientifically collected data, not opinion).
    Sure, a little loving wonderful boy was no match for you. You are correct, you really don’t know what you are talking about and you really believe a lot about Christians and Conservatives that is exactly wrong. They do not hate gays. They do not want to give rich people money or take it from the poor.
    Your analysis that because they disagree with how you do some things means that they are all against what you are for, and all for what you are against is more childish than the innocent little person you were misleading by telling him that.
    Please do some homework, find out what you actually are talking about. Find an intelligent conservative to talk to (apparently your sister and brother-in-law aren’t).

    • Laura Hurt

      there’s no such thing as homosexuality?
      a great percentage have reasons that date back to even early childhood? Ahh, so because some homosexuals were abused, abusing people leads to homosexuality? Where are those numbers? And uhm… are you sure that those numbers include how many abused people exactly ‘turn’ homosexual? I am fairly sure that you will find that a large large majority will be straight. Therefore, there is no link between being homosexual and being abused. Sigh.
      Since Allen is a christian himself, he really does know quite a lot about it. And even if he wasn’t, it is a proven fact (you know, REAL facts, with real numbers) that non-religious people generally know more about religions than the religious themselves.

      • WFP

        If the faulty logic you display in your reply above and your misinterpretations of my comments are any indication, there is no wonder you believe it significant that you outthought a child.

      • Laura Hurt

        lol I don’t even know what you’re replying to. Faulty logic? Misinterpreting? I out-thought a child? No clue what you’re referring to.

  • Camoleft

    You outdid yourself with this one, Allen. Thanks.

  • Morgan Dominy

    I’m totally going to steal the “handedness” analogy. I mean in theory I could try to have a relationship with a woman, but it would be “really ugly.” Not to mention 10% of the population is left-handed, and 10% of the population is gay. Wow. This really is the perfect analogy.

    I might also have to steal the answer to the “What about criminals?” question because one of the tendencies of fellow Christians (and friends of other faiths) is to try to tell me that being gay is sinful and then compare same-sex attraction to temptations to rape, murder, etc. They ask me silly things like “well do you think serial killers were born that way and can’t help it?”

  • Lets_Think_Again

    Thank you; well done. You treated the youngster like a thinking being, told him the truth and pointed him towards figuring things out for himself.

  • Meggie

    My son is over 40, and I had the same discussion with him….he seems to think that any kind of agenda is wrong for any political party. If you accuse the GOP of pandering to sociopaths, of using hateful techniques such as pandering to racists, or of shaming the poor and making them feel inadequate, worthless and full of self blame for a system that is stacked against them (so they keep voting to keep it that way), the rejoinder will be, “Well, Democrats say they are going to help the poor…isn’t that pandering?” I am reminded of the discussions when he was 10 about whether people should give to charities, given that one reason they contribute is to make themselves feel better about themselves. Well, at least the charities get something out the bargain…it’s not like the Faustian bargain that the poor and the gullible have with the GOP, where maybe, if they win the lottery, they will have to pay less taxes. But if the far more likely event that they don’t win the lottery, they will be royally screwed out of their Medicare and Social Security payments. I blame the karlroveans for filling people’s heads with the kind of crapola that says that any kind of clearly political motive is, in its very essence, a bad thing. I guess he would rather we pull the issues out of some goddamn hat.