So - the littles and I are walking to the park after school, and they are delighting in counting the NDP election signs as they go (having been properly indoctrinated by yours truly, natch). But we come upon a Wildrose Party - Alberta's very own tea-party-party - sign, and Boy-o asks what this new sign is all about. In what can only be described as a knee-jerk reaction, I snap that "it's a sign for the spawn of Satan!" When this draws quizzical looks, I realize that I've got some 'splainin' to do. For starters, because my kids don't have a freaking clue who this Satan dude is...
So I begin by telling them that it's another sign for the election, from a party that Mama thinks is, you know, wrong. (Okay - so it's a bit of a sugar-coat. What I actually think is that all those bigot-ty, anti-choice, misogynist, poor-hating cretins should be put out on ice floes so they can hate each other to their hearts' content and leave the rest of us the hell alone, but I'm not so sure this is the right time for this particular explanation of my personal beliefs. Such a fine line between telling your kidlets the truth and scaring the shit out of them, no?) But of course, the explanation can't end there.
"Why are they wrong, Mama?" Boy-o asks.
"Well..." I begin... (okay, it was probably more like "Weeeeeellllllllllllllllllll," cause I was kind of scrambling in my mid-day brain for the right words to explain to a five-year old why I think the party that thinks his parents should burn in Hell is, you know, a bit off. Anyhoo). "I guess I have a problem with the way that they think about the world," I continue, "like, how they don't think that women who love women or men who love other men are as good as other people, or how they don't think helping people with less money or no place to live is as important as we do."
Boy-o thinks about this for a moment, and then asks: "Well, can't we just tell them why this is wrong?"
And here my heart breaks, because, of course it should be that simple. And of course it isn't.
"People are sure trying to tell them, buddy," I assure him.
"Oh" he nods sagely, "they don't have their listening ears on?"
Yes - well - there that is in a nutshell - right outta the five year olds mouth.
"Yeah - and they also don't believe things like art is very important, so they might try to cut funding to the arts, and to schools, and..."
"WHAT? No art!" Boy-o interrupts me, clearly horrified. "But MAMA! We can't have NO ART! The world would be so terrible and SO GREY! You have to DO something.... Let's call 911!"
And here, I feel stuck. I don't know what to tell him. The mama in me wants to pull him close and say, everything's going to be alright. There will still be anti-homophobia in the schools, there will still be arts funding, we won't close the precious few low-income resources this province has, women will still have a right to choose what happens to their bodies - our basic human rights won't be put to referendum. But I can't say those things - because I'm pretty sure they would be lies. Because I am honestly and frankly scared of what this province will look like with the Wildrose Mad Hatter Tea Party in power, for me and for my kids and for so, so many other people.
So I just tell him that no matter what, if the people who we don't agree with come into power, we just have to keep trying to make our voices and our ideas and our values heard. That this is the really important thing. And he seems satisfied with this and comforted.
I wish I was.