I never knew which political party, if any, my mother or father belonged to or who they voted for in any election. It was just not a conversation I ever recall being discussed around the dinner table. With five children, the comments I recall were, “stop kicking him,” “spill the wine, but not the milk,” and “will you please tell you mother what we are discussing.” (As I mentioned previously, my Russian grandmother never learned to speak English.
My grandfather believed that not being a member of the Communist Party—or any party—kept him and his family safe during their years living in the Soviet Union. Clearly my own father took that advice to heart since he was neither a member of the Democratic or Republican party as far as I know.
While my children were young, we never discussed politics with them. Part of the reason was because we were too busy being harried parents to pay attention to the details of politics, but another was our desire not to influence the opinions of our daughters.
Now that they are adults, and particularly during an election cycle that is impossible to avoid, we have had some very interesting conversations with our adult children. It is interesting to hear their political views which they have formed on their own.
When my children were young—before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and 24-hour news—they were not exposed to the violence, name-calling, and incivility which is what we see on television today during this presidential election. All I had to worry about was shielding them from television sex and profanity. Did my parents worry about what we saw on television during the years of assassinations and violence in sixties and seventies?
I would love to be able to sit down with my father now—a man who lived in a Communist country and therefore had an interesting perspective on both sides of the political spectrum—and listen to what he would say about the election of 2016.