A big part of our homeschooling philosophy is to talk about everything, and that includes politics. My boys are years away from voting, but that doesn’t negate them from the conversation. Chuck and I are honest about our political views and subsequent frustrations, and we try very hard to offer them objective information about what’s going on in the political arena. You will not hear us downloading hateful rhetoric into their young, impressionable brains. We tell them what we believe and acknowledge that they might grow up to believe differently from us.
Mostly, we boil everything down to the most important consideration, which is: What do you believe is the role of government?
When a friend of mine gave me the heads-up about Marco Rubio coming to town, I thought it would be a great opportunity to involve the boys in the political process. I always take them with me to vote, so why not take them to see a real, live candidate?
We showed up about 45 minutes prior to Marco Rubio’s arrival. I didn’t know what to expect at all, so we just went with the flow.
This sign reads, “Never Trump, because my children deserve better than a bully!”
We secured a great spot for watching Rubio’s airplane land. Like a clown car, 20+ people disembarked from a very small aircraft, a mixture of press, campaign officials, and other folks. They must be packed like sardines in there.
(Yes, that’s Ethan standing next to Jeremy. We have a visitor for a few days!)
Finally, Rubio made his appearance.
To get the crowd warmed up, a trio of Tennessee Republicans gave brief speeches as their official endorsement for Marco Rubio’s nomination – Former Representative Zach Wamp, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Governor Bill Haslam:
We also had prayer.
Then it was time for Rubio to take the stage. People cheered and clapped and pulled out their phones to capture the moment.
I am HAPPY to report that there was no name calling, no screaming, and no hate speech. Rubio made some choice comments about Donald Trump hiring illegal immigrants and using fear tactics in his campaign, but I expected that since he’s the front runner. Most of Rubio’s comments had to do with aligning his politics with those of Ronald Reagan’s and emphasizing how his parents moved from Cuba to the United States to live out the American Dream. They started from nothing and retired with dignity. Presuming his story is true and not sensationalized, I agree that’s part of what makes our country great.
I have two favorite quotes from his speech. First, “The American Dream isn’t about how much stuff you have. It’s about having the opportunity to live the life you want.” (That made my Libertarian-leaning heart swell.)
Second, “When I’m president, you won’t always like my decisions, like when Tennessee plays Florida. Just don’t read my Tweets.”
Well played, sir. (The crowd yelled a resounding, “GO VOLS!”)
Overall, I was pleased with the experience. The boys were observant and curious, particularly of other parts of the event. We talked about the media presence and the role of those who were standing on stage behind Rubio. Rallies are live shows. Everyone plays a part.
Tomorrow we’ll go to the voting booth and Tennessee will make its presidential preferences known. I wish I could say I was a die-hard fan of a candidate, but as it stands, there’s no one who truly represents my belief system as it relates to the purpose and role of government. I will vote because I can’t imagine not voting, but I wish I was passionate for a specific candidate. I admire that about those of you who will pull the lever or punch the ticket for someone you really, truly believe in.
As for Marco Rubio, I’ll leave you with Jeremy’s final assessment, which was, “He makes a very compelling argument.”
P.S. I was on the lookout for a crew from The Circus, but I didn’t see anyone. Such a bummer! That would’ve been exciting. (If you’re not watching The Circus, you should be.)