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An 9 year old gets it, why can't a 39 year old?

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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:45 PM
Original message
An 9 year old gets it, why can't a 39 year old?
Edited on Thu Aug-10-06 01:47 PM by Pacifist Patriot
I had to back up a bit and explain the concepts of precincts, Supervisors of Elections, voter turnout and a variety of technologies to the 9 year old but he was a wonderfully quick study. The child is just moving into fractions and has a fair to decent idea of percents.

I can't remember what our conversation was about that spawned the discussion about election integrity, but there is nothing like a 9 year old to push you into a verbal corner. Whatever we were talking about resulted in his asking, "So mom, does that mean it's possible George Bush shouldn't really be the president?"

*deep breath*

And thus brings about a differentiation between vote suppression, vote manipulation and election fraud. He grasped the idea of voter to polling booth ratio startlingly quick. Let's look at some snippets of the conversation.

----------------

Me: So if Precinct A has 100 registered voters and the computer reports a 250% turnout, what does that mean?

Son: Whoa, wait a minute. That's not possible. That means everyone would have voted 2.5 times.

Me: What does that tell you about the computer programs?

Son: For starters they suck. Fire the programmers.

Me: Okay fine. But what does it tell you about the results?

Son: You sure as heck can't use 'em. You've gotta do it all over again. There's no reason to think the split between the 250 votes is the same as the split between the people who really did vote.

Me: <grinning like an idiot> That's my boy!

-----------------

Me: So you see, not everyone votes. You have a voice only if you are eligible to register to vote. You actually do register to vote. And you show up to vote.

Son: Who decides who is eligible to vote?

Me: There are laws that spell out exactly who can and who cannot vote. For example, you have to be 18 years old. And in our state you can't have been convicted of a felony.

Son: People in jail can't vote?

Me: Not if they are convicted of a felony, no.

Son: Why not? Just because they f***...oops, sorry mom, just because they screwed up doesn't mean they aren't affected by what the government does.

Me: Well, lawmakers decided that was an appropriate part of their punishment.

Son: But they vote when they get out, right?

Me: Um, no. They have to apply to the governor to get their voting rights back.

Son: Whoa!!!

Me: What?

Son: He's a Republican.

Me: So?

Son: If some guy was once a Democrat, ended up in jail and wants to vote now, there's no way the Republican is going to give him his vote back.

--------------------

This kid grasped the difference in turnout between precincts with 1 polling machine for every 20 voters and 1 polling machine for every 200 voters. He screamed "hacker" before I could blink when I talked about touchscreen paperless voting. When I explained the role of the Supervisors of Elections he was stunned when I told him that such positions were partisan races. Our election system floored a 9 year old. A 9 year old! And I'd put him in the average intelligence category. I'm not signing this kid up for Mensa any time soon. This kid was connecting dots before I could finish my explanations.

I have not discussed this in front of him before so I know he's not parroting me. This was all new material to him. And he got it. He got it.

I will never believe that grown adults don't understand. They just don't want to give a shit.





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Bjornsdotter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nice job!

Don't you just love it when they really, really understand it all. It is such a feeling of accomplishment for a parent.

:toast:

Cheers
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It was a scary feeling too.
I felt like I was dancing a thin line between presenting the facts and letting him draw his own conclusions and indoctrination. I tried hard to discuss it as neutrally as possible. In my example of vote suppression by means of disproportionate distribution of voting machines I made the Democrats the hypothetical "bad guys."

He knows I'm no George Bush fan (understatement of the century) so I've got to be careful.

Thanks!
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think they're afraid to admit what's going on
They know the vote is diddled, but if they start admitting it to themselves and other people, they are going to have to do something about it and they're already working 60 hours a week and falling farther behind and they don't have time to think, much less show up at the polls with a sledge hammer demanding paper ballots.

The tiger is still sleeping on this one.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I agree.
Most of the people who have metaphorically put fingers in their ears and sung "la, la, la" have done so because admitting the truth is more painful than blocking it out. Ignorance IS bliss sometimes. In the short term anyway.
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ocd liberal Donating Member (333 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes, excellent job!
My six year old always says "there's that man who steals from the poor to give to the rich!" when he sees Bush on TV. He was also the one who insisted that we open the Bush toilet paper and USE it, not just let it sit there!
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. LOL! There is such a thing as Bush toilet paper?
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ocd liberal Donating Member (333 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Yes there is!
I think you can order it from the "Funny Times" monthly newspaper.
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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. Next show him how it's done in Australia.
I never appreciated our Australian voting system until I learned
what you have to put up with in America.

I had just assumed that every democracy makes it easy and fast
for every citizen to vote, and counts the votes quickly in a
transparent and easily verifiable manner.

Add to that our proportional representation sytem, as opposed to
your "first past the post", and even the smallest minorities can
have an influence in politics.

I'm sure America could teach Australia a great many things, but
when it comes to voting, you would be hard pressed to find a
better example to follow.

And there is no banned list here. You could assassinate the prime
minister and you'd still be expected to vote with the rest of us.

But all the free beers you'd be shouted may make it difficult to
number the squares correctly. ;-)
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I've got to hand it to this kid.
He did ask me if every country did it the same way. Canada and Australia came to mind first when I assured him that not everyone was as stupid as we were. As I've said elsewhere, there are two things the U.S. should never export. McDonalds and Democracy.
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. You have every right to be proud of him. It's likely also good parenting.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Ouch! There goes my arm out of its socket.
;)

Thanks!
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. "80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on."
"80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on." RFK

They are capable of understanding. They're just ignorant.
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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. The republicans I know show no sign
of being ever able to see past their wistful delusion
that * is fighting in the middle east to bring them
cheaper oil.

The can handle the fact that they've been lied to and
manipulated. They can live with the ever increasing
death toll of American soldiers. They won't even mind
if a few nukes are hurled around.

But if gas keeps going up,
there is going to be hell to pay.

It doesn't seem so long ago a fan of Buschco expressed
surprise that America wasn't fighting Iran and North
Korea at the same time as iraq, seeing "we were over
there already."
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Same here.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Unfortunately I think his aphorism has morphed.
"80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't CARE what's going on."
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