"Well, Jon, it's complicated; maybe too complicated for a youngster your age to understand."
"But Grandpa, you said I should ask if I had questions."
Bud More considered his grandson's request. The inquisitive seven-year old surprised him with this interest in current affairs. The presidential election was months away. Jon wanted to know who he was going to vote for.
"Yes, Jon. I did." Bud chuckled. "It's a good thing we are sitting down. This could take awhile."
"That's okay, Grandpa."
"Then let's get started. First off, what do you think is the president's job?"
"To be the boss?" Jon guessed.
"Oh, sort of. Back when America was starting out, a group of people met to decide what kind of government it would have. They realized that most people would be too busy for politics, but they would still want to have at least a little say in important decisions. It was decided to accomplish that by having the people vote for representatives. Those representatives would gather in the capital city and do the country's business."
"What kind of business?"
"Things like deciding on a budget, raising money for the budget and passing laws."
"Then what does the president do?" Jon asked.
"He oversees what the representatives do. He can say yes or no to their plans. He can also suggest ideas he thinks the representatives should consider."
"So he's the boss, right?"
"Not really. We are."
"His decisions can be overruled by our representatives or the Supreme Court Justices."
"Then why would anyone want to be president?"
"That's a good question, Jon. It's one I consider when I decide which candidate to vote for. Most candidates agree with the primary view points of one of the major parties. Now stay with me here, because here is where it can get complicated."
Bud could see the concentration in Jon's expression.
"America has two major political parties. Those parties have several basic beliefs and opinions. Sometimes they kind of agree, but mostly they disagree about issues. One group is called Republicans and the other is called Democrats. People are considered a part of the party if they vote for that party's candidates. Often times they don't totally agree with everything the party does. Sometimes even the candidates don't totally agree with their own party."
"Weird. So, what party do you vote with?"
"That depends, Jon. I consider several things when making that decision. I already know what I believe about most things, so first I decide which party sees things how I do. I don't just think about me though. I think about what is best for our country. What ideas will keep it strong so it will still be a great place to live when you have a grandson?"
"Wow. That's a long time."
"Our country is over two hundred years old. It has been a strong country the world respects. Other countries look to America for leadership, assistance and friendship. Some countries don't like America, but they have to admit it is powerful, wealthy, and that its citizens are free. We are fortunate to live here, Jon. Never take your citizenship for granted. That's why I vote. It's my right and I exercise it whenever there are elections."
Bud noticed Jon was zoning out.
"Anyway, where was I?"
"How you decide who to vote for."
"Oh yeah. Okay, so first I consider the party. Then I consider their choice for a candidate who will represent their viewpoints. I ask several questions: Does he have past experience? Is he a man of morals? Do others respect him? Does he respect the constitution?"
"That's a lot of questions."
"I told you, it's complicated. This year there are more questions. Has the president demonstrated he should be re elected and given four more years? Has he ruled in the country's best interests? Has he done what he said he would? Are we better off? Has he been moral? Has he operated within the Constitution's guideline?"
"Can you keep a secret?" Bud asked.
Bud leaned over and whispered a name.
"What do you think?"
"I wish I could vote for him too."
"So do I."
"Will he win?"
"Yes, I think he will."
Jon was quiet for quite a while. Apparently all his questions had been answered.
"But what if he doesn't?"
"I'll pray for whoever is president. It's a tough job and a president needs all the help he can get."
Jon settled against his grandpa, content.
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