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  • Betsy Singleton Snyder

Activism: The Kids Are Watching

It is no secret to people who know me well, or who know my husband, the former congressman, that we have political opinions. I once tried a relationship with someone whose politics were vastly different. It didn’t go well. That particular man could be admired for holding strong beliefs, but he was too busy to get to the voting booth. That, I could not stomach. Bye-bye.

Having grown up with a mom who dragged me to the polls as she waited in long lines to vote, I have made my voice known in the smallest and largest elections, assuming that there is no such thing as a small election. They all count.

I have followed in my mother’s footsteps, and, on occasion, taken my children to the voting booth. My husband and I still do fundraising for causes and candidates we support, and I realize that our children are watching us. They are always watching.

They watch us follow political campaigns and talk back to the television. (Yes, we talk to the television, especially news shows and talking heads.)

The boys watch us support our local public school, where my husband has spent hours cleaning the overgrown lot near the edge of the parking lot, attending to the loose wires that needed repair, and filling the bird feeder he installed for children to watch nature from a classroom window.

They have also seen momma go to public meetings, marches, press conferences, and give prayers at gatherings where people feel deeply about how life should be lived for the betterment of all. Last week I went to D.C. to lobby on behalf of a bi-partisan—it’s a miracle!—piece of legislation. Remember: partisan does not equal politics. Finding common ground is hard these days, but it should be our goal and a great example to the younger ones.

The kids are watching.

It is clear that some other children have been watching as well. Yes. The children of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were watching, and learning, and now advocating. They are protesting, lobbying, writing letters, giving interviews and making their voices heard. No matter what your opinion on their ideas, I applaud their activism. Actually, I give them a standing ovation. It is an attribute I want my kids to possess. I want them to speak up for themselves, and for those who have little or no voice.

Apparently, Kansas has no age limit on who can run for governor of that state. Six teenagers have entered the race: a Democrat, three Republicans, a Libertarian, and an Independent.

The kids aren’t just watching. They are doing something. It's built into our history. I am so in.

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