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Political War Wages at the Dinner Table


Hey, Cherie!

I'm a 14-year-old girl who is interested in politics. I don't know anyone else my age who is interested in national politics. It's not like I can vote! I wish I could because I think I am more informed than a lot of adults who don't even think about it or just believe what they hear in an ad or don't even bother to vote at all!

Anyway, the reason I am writing to you has to do with my family. Everyone in my family is a liberal Democrat. My mom is a teacher who is active in the Teacher's Union, and my dad is a social worker. They do good things and are good people, don't get me wrong. But they think everyone should think just like them!

Well, the truth is, I am a big supporter of Ron Paul. He is a Republican. I don't like the other Republican candidates very much. I think one will say whatever he thinks you want to hear, and the other will try to tell you everything you should do. But Ron Paul says everyone should get to be themselves, and no one should tell you what to do, including the government. I agree with that! When I told my parents, we got into this big fight. Now every night at dinner, they lecture me about stuff to try and talk me into their point of view. But they don't listen to my point of view! I think this is hypocritical. Do you know how old Ron Paul is? He's really old but to me he is younger and more open-minded than my parents. You might not think this is a big deal, but I hate having all these fights with my parents, and I want it to stop. But I don't think I should have to think exactly how they think, do you?

—Freedom Fighter!

Hey, Freedom!

First of all, I give you major props for following politics and for caring about it. I can really relate to your letter because I'm a liberal Democrat who comes from a long line of liberal Democrats, and my son is all about Ron Paul. The difference is, this year he's old enough to vote for the first time. It's pretty natural for parents to want their kids to think like they think. But your letter is a wake-up call to me — and let's hope to your own parents — that have raised you to have an independent mind.

They should support your using it.

I suggest you show them this column. They may have a "light bulb" moment like I did. The key here for your parents, for you, for me and for my kid is to listen, and not just talk at each other to try and change the other person's mind. Easier said than done. And I do get the attraction to Ron Paul, by the way, even though he's not my guy.

One other thing, you can do volunteer work for Ron Paul, even though you're not old enough to vote for him. You'd need your parent's permission because of the you're-still-a-minor thing. But it's a way for you to get involved in politics in a meaningful way. And after your parents read this, they might just give you permission.

Hey, Cherie!

Do you ever get this weird pain when you look at a certain person? I swear I'm not crazy, even though this sounds crazy. But I have this substitute teacher for French who just started a week ago. When I look at her, I get this weird pain in my you-know-what. Is something wrong with me? Am I a pervert?

She is old enough to be my mother, which is so gross, but she has big you-know-what's and her shirts are kind of tight and made of shiny material like this bright red one that she wears. This does not make my you-know-what feel good, more like funny but not the ha-ha kind if you get what I mean. What should I do? This week I ditched class! Oh, I am in seventh grade.

—Not A Joke

Hey, Not a Joke!

Hey, not laughing. I hope I'm filling in your you-know-what's with the right you-know-what's, but I'm pretty sure I get the gist. So you've done the whole sex-ed thing, right? Or wrong. If you somehow missed the whole sex-ed thing, let me assure you that as far as I can tell from your letter, what you're experiencing is so no big deal. Your body reacts automatically to things sometimes. Especially, for boys who are in or around the seventh grade. Your body could react to something that makes your mind go: "Ewwwww." Like ... a shoe. A boy once wrote me that his mom's high heels gave him a you-know-what. You are what you do, not your you-know-what. And you are totally normal. Now go back to class, big guy.

Cherie Bennett is a best-selling author of books for teens and young adults. Visit her website at To find out more about Cherie Bennett and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



1 Comments | Post Comment
LW1: It is good that you are thinking independently. Now what you need to do is to not fall into a trap that oh-so-many adults have fallen into, across the political spectrum.

Do not listen or read only the blogs, columnists, TV panels, etc. that support only your candidate. It's really, really important to hear what the other person is saying.

Too many people make up their mind and reinforce their decision by doing just that, People do this all the time when they're buying a car or some other big-ticket item -- they want to reassure themselves that they've bought the best TV and they look for positive reinforcement to keep feeling good about their decision. This is fine for purchases; disastrous in a democracy.
Comment: #1
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 8, 2012 11:12 AM
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