Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The election we were bound to lose.......

     This story goes back roughly 15 years and revolves around our daughter Molly's unsuccessful bid for student Senate while she was in 3rd grade.  No hanging chad cliffhangers here but it did give us some insight on the kind of daughter that God had given us....

     Mid-bite into a chicken finger at the dinner table one evening she shared her news of that day with us (She may or may not have had pigtails at the time, she rarely wore them, but when I think of young Molly, I always see her in them), "I'm thinking of running for Student Senate" she said, with a
dab of ranch dressing still clinging to her lip.  We were both instantly excited, as honestly the news reports from the 3rd grade heretofore had centered largely around who had cooties and what everyone was wearing, this, however, was real news.  We peppered her with questions about the job, the field of candidates, the length of time we had prior to the election (it was the week, that's even shorter than a Canadian election (36-74 days)),and many more pertinent queries. Truth be told it was me asking most of the questions, I had run for a few things in my time, so I knew the cutthroat world she was about to enter.  I quizzed her on her platform, which was non-existent (how naive), and after some discussion about things that were important to her, shorter drinking fountains, longer recesses, nicer teachers, we settled on few that were sure to resonate with the 3 foot tall electorate.  By the time we were at the milk and cookies stages of supper, we had formed a pretty decent game plan to sweep this thing.

     I met her each day as she got off the bus that week, anxious to hear the latest election news.  She was faring well in the bathroom polls and there didn't seem to be any dirty politicking going on (I
tried but she wouldn't go for it).  The polls would open on Thursday after lunch and we believed we had a good shot at a win.  I continued to caution her on taking hard stances on issues with her classmates to avoid alienating any potential voter.  I'd have sent candy in for her to distribute but the school had a clear policy against it and we couldn't risk the scandal this late in the election process.  We all had a restless night on Wednesday, well at least I did, Molly seemed to sleep fine in her footie pajamas, snuggled in with her stuffed animals encircling her.  I paced the floors and got up to Google the most popular hairstyles for winning candidates. Morning came and all too soon, I bundled my sleepy little candidate off to school.  I had considered taking the day off, but it seemed like overkill, I had already arranged to work locally that week.  We anxiously awaited the sound of the approaching school bus.....

     She skipped off the bus, surely this was a good sign, wasn't it?  She unpacked her backpack and we waited to hear the big news, but she seemed per-occupied with petting the family dog and other
None of these worked for Molly
banal activities.  I finally cleared my throat and said, "Um, Molly, the election?"   She got a puzzled look on her face, I'm sure it was election fatigue, but then she seemed to remember and stated, "Oh Bri (It's Bri with an I, not Bree with an e, I always messed that one up) won and Ben and I tied !".  A tie?  We had no contingency plan for this and apparently upon further questioning the run-off was the following day.  Things were looking darker for us, the Ben in question was from a large farm family who ran the most popular agricultural destination for 3rd graders in the area, a Picking Patch complete with corn maze, corn cannon, cookies and cider, you couldn't buy better brand recognition (Hell, the kid smelled like cinnamon, I swear).  With virtually no time to restrategize (her bedtime was at 7), we had to let the chips fall where they may, and count on our prior election activities to help us to pull off a win.  Off on the bus she went again.....

     I had to wait until dinner to find out this time (I hadn't anticipated the run-off and actually had to work that day) and although she delivered the news with a smile and seemed to have a healthy
appetite,  I could tell she had been crushed by the defeat, Ben had won by one vote.  My food got cold as I pondered where we had gone wrong, and I muttered out loud, wondering who had changed their vote?  The response I got to my unintentional query was loud and overstated "It doesn't matter who did it Dad ! Ben is my friend and he will do a good job!" Molly shouted.  It only took a few seconds to realize that the electorate that I had failed to sway, was sitting in a booster chair directly across from me, Molly had voted for her friend Ben and not herself, her crushing defeat was dealt by her own hand.

     I went to bed that night still fretting on how this thing had gotten away from us so easily.  I blamed myself, I should have seen the signs earlier. Molly would capture flies and release them to the wild and eventually she had the whole household doing it, she lacked the killer instinct.  I should have backed Ben from the beginning, he had the name recognition and association to cookies, that I should have realized was unbeatable.  Molly, on the other hand, a few years later would lobby successfully for the release of a class pig that was intentionally bred and raised to be used for a class pancake breakfast.  She had no business in politics, she was better suited for tree-hugging or humanitarian efforts.   She joined the girls wrestling team that year, and never won a point, much less a match (The girl she
Our little election loser
wrestled most looked like an octopus on the mat).  Molly shocked us the next year when she signed back up for it, knowing that the year was going to go the same, who in their right mind would sign back up to be repetitively pinned by their opponent?  Molly, of course.  It took a long time before I realized that type of kid that we had accidentally raised, a kind, considerate bleeding heart, and by the time she announced she was a vegetarian and was going to pursue nursing in school I had all but given up hope of raising a normal kid.  The moral of this story is simple, if you are going to back a candidate in an election, try and get to know their character first, even if they are family.   I've made that mistake and it took me years to realize the kind of kid we raised. 




cuzdee said...

Awesome. And apropos yes for Timmy's upcoming. Election.

Judy Johnson said...

As usual, you have delivered another winner! No wonder we have such "messed up" kids in the world. You and Char are clearly at fault. Thanks, Bill, for another great read!