Dear Mr. Bush: Don’t disappoint my mother …

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2001

My mother is a lot of things, but I’ve never really thought she had much interest in politics – until two weeks ago.

No, she hasn’t lost her mind and started a futile attempt to run for president. At least she hasn’t done that yet (she is still young).

In the 1960s, as other people her age were participating in protests against the U.S. government and waging &uot;love-ins,&uot; she was getting married. By the time Woodstock (the first one) rolled around, she was already a mother – times two.

And by the time the war was over, I’d come along and the family population was at five.

I always remember my parents voting when I growing up, and I usually had a good idea about which candidate they would vote for after conversations at the dinner table. But to my knowledge neither of my parents was ever what you might call politically active.

I don’t really remember our ever sticking a campaign sign up in yard, for that matter either.

So a brief political conversation with my mother a couple weeks back took me by surprise.

In reality her interest in politics is sort of a side venture to her real focus in life&160;- educating young minds.

She has been involved in child care all of her life. Mom has spent more than 25 years (probably more, but my math skills are slipping as &uot;mid-life&uot; approaches) working in kindergartens, day cares and church nurseries.

And as was fitting that’s how the conversation began.

Mom was telling me about how different the celebration of Presidents Day was at the Hattiesburg day care where she now works.

&uot;This year we actually got to talk about the current president,&uot; she said. &uot;For the last several years there’s been so much going on that we just avoided the subject so we didn’t have to explain anything.&uot;

I couldn’t believe it.

She assured me it was true.

&uot;Would you want to try to explain some of that stuff to a bunch of children?&uot; she said.

It’s an issue that, I suspect, many parents have had to face in recent years as former President Bill Clinton seemed always to be in hot water about one thing or the other.

But it’s one that lots of adults have looked the other way about.

Sure, Clinton jokes are funny to adults. But it isn’t funny when we live in a country in which young children can’t discuss who their nation’s leader is, for fear it will grind down into a legal, moral or sex education lesson.

Bear in mind, my mother isn’t trying to create little mini-Republicans in her class – hardly. She merely wants to be able to teach the children a little bit of knowledge about presidents – past and present – on a national holiday.

For now, Mom is content to give President George Bush the benefit of the doubt.

I hope she’s correct.

Bush has her support along with some little ones who will at least know who he is the next time Presidents Day rolls around.

As a note to President Bush: Please don’t disappoint my mother – or the thousands and thousands of small eyes watching your every move.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail at kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.