When Zeca was four years old, Barack Obama was elected for the first time. I remember watching news coverage of the inauguration with the kids and the network showed footage of the presidential helicopter taking George Bush Jr. from Washington D.C. back to his ranch in Texas. Miguel, Luisa and I cheered as we watched him fly away and Zeca dropped her head and said, “I’m really gonna miss George Bush.”
This wasn’t the first time that we’d worried about her political leanings.
She’d once said that she would never fall in love with another girl.
She’d also disagreed vocally with Miguel when he said he’d refuse to fight if drafted into the Army and forced into war. He said, “I’d stand on the battlefield and put my gun down and refuse to hurt anyone.” Zeca said, “Well that’s dumb. I’d take all the guns and bombs and shoot my way out of there.”
But this George Bush thing was pretty weird…and got weirder.
The following summer, she told her friends at summer camp that she had been invited to George Bush’s birthday party and that our family would soon be taking a family vacation to Texas to attend the festivities.
We told her that she could not tell people we were going to George Bush’s birthday party. We didn’t tell her that she couldn’t love George Bush, though. We were going for the “love the sinner, hate the sin” kinda thing despite the fact that we felt like we were raising our very own Alex P. Keaton.
Most kids get attached to a cartoon character or a stuffed animal but ours got attached to a Republican president. (I am resisting making the easy joke at his expense).
Over time, of course, she forgot about George Bush and her views on most things seemed to moderate. That’s the one certainty about kids – their opinions on any given issue change rapidly and without explanation. One day they want their hot dogs cut into pieces and the next day they freak if they aren’t whole. One day they want to join the Republican Party and the next day they want to burn the flag in protest. Figuratively speaking. We don’t let our children burn flags – we don’t even let them make toast.
Today, a day after turning eight, Zeca and I were talking about winter and snow and being done with all of it. I suggested that we move to Florida but she said, “Florida has the highest number of shark attacks.” I then suggested we move to Texas and she said, “Oh mama, no. Texas is a Republican state.”
I wonder what her friend, George Bush, would think of her now.