The Republican and Democratic Conventions, which take place at the end of July, will dominate the airwaves. Kids will be taking it all in, and because the level of negative and insulting discourse has been much higher in this political cycle, it’s smart to prepare them for what they will undoubtedly hear.
How to do it? It’s easier than you think to simply bring kids into the conversation about politics. Kids are paying attention, whether you think they are or not, and simply asking them what they know, or have heard, can open up a conversation. Talk them through the process itself, show them some movies that feature some of the highlights of political discourse in our history, and underline the importance of being absolutely informed about each candidate. (The recent Brexit scandal will open this conversation up pretty easily).
No matter your political inclination, being an informed voter is key. You want them to grow up being excited about voting, and you want them to learn to develop their own political identity. And, you want them to think about the issues that both parties AGREE ON, not just what causes friction.
So, here’s a little project for July – explore our unique American electoral process by watching a few of the dozens of films (fiction and documentary) in this genre. Perhaps it will make what will likely be highly unusual 2016 conventions go down a little easier.
Here’s a great list, compiled by IndieWire during the 2012 elections, that covers fictional classics (American President, Primary Colors and Manchurian Candidate) to docs about specific races (Street Fight about Corey Booker and War Room about James Carville and Clinton)
5 Things that are Harder than Registering to Vote: We love this video of Obama encouraging voting by showing you things that are much harder than registering. It’s perfectly pitched for kids.
REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: Cleveland: July 18-21
DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION: Philadelphia: July 25-28