From the Playground to the Polls

SS Member Image By drodriguez 08.08.08
From the Playground to the Polls
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Mixing kids and politics may seem like a strange notion to some. Many parents probably don’t talk to their kids about politics because they just don’t think they would be interested. But what if they do care and what if they were given a voice in the public arena? One company that specializes in children’s wear, If Kids Could Vote (IKCV) is taking this cause to the front lines.

Earlier this summer IKCV started a petition to “make 12 the new 18” by urging officials to lower the voting age. The company admits the campaign is mostly in jest, but makes a few good points just the same. It is true that most, if not all, decisions made in the political arena will directly impact our children’s futures. Getting kids more involved in politics when they are young might prove to be invaluable to them as they make decisions growing up.

From onesies to t-shirts, the humorous line of children’s wear IKCV puts out is sure to be a conversation starter for kids and their parents. One of their more popular t-shirts reads “I can’t vote?Please don’t blow it.” with an American flag imprint in the middle.

Another clothing line called Tutti Bella offers a line of political t-shirts for children as well. You can either get a shirt that reads "Lil Republican" or "Lil Democrat" in a tiny size for your child.  These t-shirts come with the iconic elephant and donkey emblem in the center.

Former consultant for UNICEF and founder of If Kids Could Vote, Peter Cenedella, tells the story of how he started the unique kid’s clothing line, “I came home from work one day and my daughter said, ?Daddy, I want to cancel being an animal doctor and run for president!’ That’s when I realized kids and politics could mix in a really hopeful way. Most of all, kids don’t want to be cynical. They want to believe and be engaged, and let’s face it ? American politics could really use an infusion of that kind of youthful attitude. That’s why we started doing this.”

To sign the IKCV petition to “make 12 the new 18” or to check out their clothing line for kids you can visit www.IfKidsCouldVote.com .  And to check out what Tutti Bella has to offer you can visit www.TuttiBella.com .

Have your children expressed any interest in politics yet?

Do you think they would enjoy expressing themselves with political wear, like the t-shirts offered at If Kids Could Vote or Tutti Bella?

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  • danesmom By danesmom
    08.29.08  

    WOW..I cannot believe how personal some people take politics...and how these questions have prompted such heated and lenthy off topic answers...The questions again..

    Have your children expressed any interest in politics yet? Not yet, but our neighbor who is 12 has nothing but the elections on his mind.

    Do you think they would enjoy expressing themselves with political wear, like the t-shirts offered at If Kids Could Vote or Tutti Bella? My son is not interested in any of these things yet, and if and when he is, I am going to allow him to make his own mind up about what he believes and hope that he can be passionate about his beliefs AND respect the judgements of others. There should never be just one side to a story. But shirts exactly LIKE or similiar to these will be welcome in our house, for either side.

    I do think it would humorous to have an official vote for those in the 12-18 range having no impact on the official vote, but just to see what the minds of our future are holding.

  • jenndta69 By jenndta69
    08.20.08  

    Some one sounds bitter. I personally think it's a great idea. The people that are being affected the most in this climate are our children. My child is interested in who becomes the next President. In fact, she had chosen a different candidate than we did durning the primaries. Children are more capable in making choices than they are given credit for. She should not be able to vote, however they do deserve an opinion! That's what makes this America.

  • bufflady By bufflady
    08.20.08  

    i think it is great to get kids to be interested in the process but no, they shouldnt be able to vote at such a young age - it is too important a decision

  • swedeheart By swedeheart
    08.19.08  

    I have to agree with most of the statements above. Too one-sided (no matter who that candidate is) and kids are basically not informed enough to make a decision on their own. Sounds like parents using their kids to advertise.

  • jenr02 By jenr02
    08.18.08  

    Wow... the site is very one-sided. That bothers me, even though I honestly haven't decided who to vote for (don't like either of them honestly).

  • lostcowgirl2005 By lostcowgirl2005
    08.17.08  

    Oh no our kids do not need to vote next they would want them to go to war at age 12 lets get real. Our kids are having to grow up way to soon as it is. Let them be kids while they can.

  • jagnandez By jagnandez
    08.17.08  

    I think that kids should learn politics at a young age so when they are old enough to vote they are eductaed to form their own opinions. but that is a seperate issue from letting them vote at 12. next thing we know they will be able to drive at 10. one thing is learning and another is doing. to be able to make your children well rounded individuals you have to be open minded and teach them to be one too. you just cant expect them to be if you are not. it is important to teach them to love their country and stand up for what they believe in whether it is the same thing you believe in or not.

  • 1hotlilmama By 1hotlilmama
    08.16.08  

    I just wish they offered McCain shirts...if they had McCain and not Obama I would still think it one sided. I have always taught my children the same way I was brought up. No matter who is the president, you don't speak badly against them (I even practiced this with President Clinton even though I find him to be morally bankrupt & reprehensibly). It's important to teach children to be respectful even if you may not always agree with everything the President does. He's the leader of our country and therefor deserves respect. Period.

    I did find another site that had children's shirts for both candidates, so I bought one McCain and one Obama for my twin boys. I'm want to teach them it's important to vote, no matter who they may choose as they get older. They are still pretty young, but it's a lesson so many kids miss out on and I don't want mine to be some of those kids.

  • babyhalim By babyhalim
    08.15.08  

    Many of the above posts are complaining that the site is one-sided, but they seem pretty one-sided themselves. It begs the question, would they be complaining as loudly if it was one-side toward McCain?

  • villager By villager
    08.15.08  

    Oh if only Adults Could Vote responsibly. Some of the opinions here make me wonder. Which candidates are against sports and 4H, specifically? When did hunting become a priority? I doubt it's because American kids don't get enough to eat. So is it about their right to bear arms? And take them into the schools you don't want to fund by paying taxes?

    I hope your kids are more educated than these posts reflect.

  • thecowgirl By thecowgirl
    08.15.08  

    Kids already grow up fast enough. Make 12 the new 18? That's crazy.

  • Candes By Candes
    08.15.08  

    Weren't we supposed to be talking about t-shirts and IKCV? Ugh! I'm choking on propaganda gayleyf.

    FACT: The site is one-sided and very disappointing. It should be IKJCV they'd be Democrats according to the founder. That's fine and dandy but be forth-coming.

  • gayleyf By gayleyf
    08.15.08  

    Hannah Montana for president? Couldn't be worse than the current administration. Okay, that is a joke (just barely) but I think the point of the shirts is to be humorous and ironic and not really to get 12 year olds to vote but to get adults to think about the future in 20 years, when today's 12-year-olds are 32. What kind of world do we want it to be for them? Personally, I'd like it to be one where the US isn't embroiled in endless wars that we started for no legitimate purpose, and where our country has not lost all of its moral currency and where the air is breathable and the energy renewable and the economy is not slanted toward making the very rich richer, where healthcare isn't about making insurance companies money.

    Maybe the guy who started the t-shirt line thinks the same and maybe that's why the shirts favor Obama. Maybe if there was a Republican candidate out there willing to say that our country is too dependent on oil and that there are no short-term solutions to our energy crisis and that conservation and creating a sustainable way to power our country go hand in hand; one who was willing to stand up to an illegitimate war and to stand up against an absurd tax system, maybe then there would be t-shirts for the GOP candidate, too. Oh wait, there was a Republican candidate who said all those things: John McCain, before he drank the Kool-Aid and became Bush supersenior.

  • ygarza5 By ygarza5
    08.14.08  

    GREAT IDEA... TEACH KIDS ABOUT POLITICS BUT WHAT A SHAME THAT PARENTS THINK THAT THEIR KIDS HAVE TO BE ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE POLL AS THEM. IT IS ALL TOO ABVIOUS THAT THIS SITE IS GEARED TOWARD PROMOTING OBAMA. A ONE SIDED SITE NOT LETTING PEOPLE PICK. IT ALSO CONFIRMS THAT PEOPLE SEE OBAMA AS A STAR AND NOT A POLITICIAN AND THAT IS A SCARY THOUGHT. I DONT WANT OUR PRESIDENT TO HAVE CELEBRITY STATUS. LOOK AT ALL THE CELEBRITIES.... THEY HAVE NOT BEEN VERY GOOD EXAMPLES TO OUR CHILDREN. PLEASE GIVE YOUR KIDS A CHOICE AND LET THEM DECIDE ON THEIR OWN AS THEY GET OLDER.

  • dlbrangers By dlbrangers
    08.14.08  

    As someone who is interested and active in politics, I had run across that site before. I love the premise of involving children and take my children to participate at KidsVote locations on Election Day.

    I couldn't agree more that our kids need to learn far more about politics, government and history. I always take my children to vote with me and we have discussions about the candidates and their stances. Children certainly have a tendency to lean the same way as their parents (except, maybe in those teenage rebellious years!). That doesn't mean that they will learn all that they should know from their parents and I am absolutely positive that they aren't getting a good background in the schools.

    It has long been my contention, that in order to teach civics appropriately, they must have a solid foundation in US history first. My experience is that history is not being taught as in depth as it should be and, in many cases, it is being taught from the instructor or publisher's opinion. On our summer vacation this year, we chose to drive and listened to Bill Bennett's book, America: The Last Best Hope. If any of you want to read or listen to a great, in depth, fact based presentation of America's history; then I highly suggest this book. Our school systems would serve our kids well to teach from this text.

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