My 10-year-old son is triumphant because he thinks he has me in a bind. He knows, from frequent dinnertime conversations, that I’m keen on Obama. And he assumes, because I wear my feminism on my sleeve, that I’ll feel obligated to vote for Hillary so that we can celebrate the first woman president of the United States.
"You’ll have to vote for her because she’s a girl," he taunts.
"Woman." I correct, barely listening. How did I raise such an annoying child? "Eat your broccoli," I tell him. "I’m voting for Obama."
"She’d be the first girl president ever," he sing-songs, as if he were dangling a piece of Godiva bitter-sweet chocolate in front of me.
"Woman president," I correct. "And I like Obama."
My son thinks about this, chews his broccoli, speaks with his mouthful: "He’d be the first African-American president," my son tells me.
"Can I be excused to watch The Simpsons?"
"Are you just voting for him so we can have the first African American president?" he asks.
"No," I say. "I like him. He seems smart to me."
"So even though we could have the first girl president ever, you’re not going to vote for Hillary?"
"Woman," I correct. "Yes."
"Can I be excused now," he asks. "The Simpsons is practically over."
"Drink your milk," I say. No Socratic grilling at the dinnertable, I think.
Then, he gets vindictive, super sly. "Did you know Obama goes to church? He’s very religious."
"Go watch The Simpsons," I say. He must have seen the annoying New York Times article by Jodi Kantor last week, "A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith". Why do they run these articles on the front page where children can see them–and read those salacious headlines?
"He talks about God all the time in his speeches."
"He believes in a separation of church and state," I say. And then, I must explain what that is–and I do it so well that I almost persuade myself that I believe Obama believes this is a truly sacrosanct divide. I just wanna believe.
"So you don’t want a woman president?" he says, a dog with a bone.
"I do, but…"
"What if Lisa Simpson were running? She’s super smart. What if she were running against Obama?"
"I’d vote for that girl in a second!" I agree. "She is super smart."
"Woman," he corrects, and ducks out of the room to watch his show
"She’s eight!" I shout after him–and wonder if that children’s military academy that’s always advertising a disciplined respect for authority in the back of The New York Times magazine has any openings?