Why is Mommy a Democrat? According to Zilber, "Democrats make sure everyone always has enough to eat, just like Mommy does." And Republicans want people to starve, obviously!
Do we consider the opposing messages that can be inferred from lines as simple as these? From a well-versed children's book reader, a poet, and a former student of classical children's literature, I find this appalling. I find both sides - writing either Why Mommy is a Dem or Eek, there are Liberals Under my Bed (whichever it is)- extremely polarizing and leading the young impressionable minds of future generations away from reason and finding common ground with their peers.
What has happened to Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, The Berenstain Bears, Ramona Quimby series, Mark Twain's books, Dr. Suess, Beatrix Potter, all the classics with their moral stories? Even the younger picture books -Where the Wild Things Are, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Bedtime for Frances, and the Hungry Little Caterpillar are just some favorites that come to mind. Heaven forbid you have to read aloud to a child these days.
Think about the first grader sharing with his friend that his mom is a democrat because she wants to give people universal health care? The kid probably infers his mom wants to take care of people when they are sick, and everyone else's mom would rather see them die of their illness. This may be an exaggeration, but that's how kids' minds are. They go in directions we can't even follow sometimes, and it's all about "why".
What's this all for, anyway? Is it because in 2004, George W. Bush won the polls of 3rd graders in private schools when asked who should be President? A silly book like this isn't going to sway young tots toward a political party if their parents have anything to say about it, anyway. So why worry, right? Political persuasion and parenting choices will decide at the end of the day- and we'll see Republicans and conservatives leaning away from these books while the liberals and Democrats stock pile them for all their kids, cousins, and play group families. I'm afraid we'll further polarize parents when their child's -and their own -greatest worries shouldn't be the politics of their house, it should be their spelling test, math homework, play time, and getting to baseball or swim team practice on time.
[Zilber] also rejects claims that he's adding to a poisonous political culture. The word "Republican" is never mentioned in the book, although an elephant -- the symbol of the Republican party -- does squash a homeless man's park bench. He calls that "a little background mischief" for the adults to enjoy.Interesting... a children's book written for adults. Maybe he's actually on to something. Maybe we need to spell out politics for the adults these days, who've all lost track of original thought and let political rhetoric fall down a sewer drain.
What about the other side? Is that going to be left up to Republicans?
Given his prior success, some people have suggested he sell out and work the other side of the aisle with "Why Mommy is a Republican."Hmmmmm....not for the money. So this is for....?
That's not going to happen, Zilber said. "As a Democrat, I don't do things just for the money."
So, in the name of rising above a petty political argument, I'd like to propose other book titles, for all the children's authors out there, and some explanation for those of you without imagination:
Why I Am a Patriot
The American Flag, How the Stars got their Stripes
My Favorite Song- God Bless the USA - the lyrics matched to pretty pictures
My Friends are Red, White, and Blue - celebrating differences, but togetherness as Americans
What Happened at Church on Sunday - fun, mischevious look at kids on Sundays
The Great Midwest- An illustrated depiction of the plain states and the glory of America's farmers
and perhaps some politically motivated...
How Mommy and Daddy Came in Legally
Working Hard for the Money
No Food Stamps for US
Elephants are my Favorite Animal
Why Mommy won't name my baby sister Hillary
We've got to type fast, folks, or Kindergartners might start thinking their parents actually believe in God, country, personal responsibility, sanctity of marriage, legal immigration, and working instead of taking government handouts. They might not fit in with the kids who have Democrats for mommies.