Take a look. Take a long look. Then come back and agree with me that Why Mommy Is a Democrat simply must be parody; it is so perfectly simpleminded that it could be nothing else. Spawn of the Onion, perhaps, or Mad magazine–something, anything but an actual serious effort at writing a children’s book.
After giving the post at American Digest some serious in-depth study, and Googling around (including a visit to the book’s website), I can only conclude that Why Mommy Is a Democrat is on the up and up after all, as serious as serious can be.
In the book, the words “Democrat” and “good person” seem to be used synonymously and interchangeably, and the illustrations–oh! the illustrations!–featuring what I can only conclude are meant to be squirrels (although they look more like antennaed aliens to me)–are quite stupendously hideous in a sentimental and strangely retro Dick-and-Jane-y way.
I can’t quite fathom having the concept of writing such a book in the first place, the need to explain the ordinary everyday political affiliation of a parent to a very young child. I just don’t think it’s an issue that’s uppermost in a child’s mind, or even something about which a child would care at all. But I suppose that, even though this is a children’s book, it’s really wasn’t written with the child in mind.
And it turns out the book is not alone. Research is my thing, and careful research has turned up a host of similar items, children’s books about Mommy and politics. So I now present them for your edification (by the way, all these books are quite real, although my interpretations of them might be just a tad suspect):
Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry: this one’s easy; Mommy must be an evil Republican.
Mommy Hugs: here Mommy’s clearly a loving Democrat–although that elephant illustration on the cover must be in error; the characters should be donkeys.
Mommy CEO: 5 Golden Rules: obviously a Republican again, and a dirty capitalist to boot.
Mommy Diagnostics: The Naturally Healthy Family’s Guide to Herbs and Whole Foods for Health: a Democrat, what else? Lives in northern California, perhaps Marin county.
Mommy Knows Worst: Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice: not only Republican all the way, but note the nefarious author: blogger James Lileks! Need I say more?
Mommy and Daddy Are Fighting: we obviously have a mixed marriage here: a Democrat has married a Republican (was this book by any chance written by the offspring of James Carville and Mary Matalin?)
Mommy is Missing: apolitical and unaffiliated, Mommy probably doesn’t even bother to vote; she’s a shirker
I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus : The Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide: Mommy is a liberal/leftist secular Democrat who is gamely fighting all the trappings of Christmas
Mommy You’re My Hero: a military Mommy, more likely than not a Republican, although she certainly could be a Democrat instead
Mommy Poisoned Our House Guest: can there be any doubt? Mommy’s a Republican all the way.
Mommy Under Cover: CIA Mommy.
Dear Mommy and Daddy When I Grow Up I Don’t Want To Be BROKE: written by the budding Republican child of Democrat parents, an ungrateful turncoat
Mommy And The Policeman Next Door: don’t ask, don’t tell; you don’t want to know
And, by the way, my mommy really was a Democrat. Still is, actually.
All kidding aside, children are nearly always indoctrinated by their parents in their initial political affiliation, and most of the time this affiliation lasts for life. In fact, one of the very first posts in my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” series talks about that at great length, here. But Why Mommy Is a Democrat is an unusually overt–not to say heavy-handed and preposterous–example of politicizing directed towards children.
Somehow, it reminds me ever so slightly of this:
“Elementary Class Consciousness, did you say? Let’s have it repeated a little louder by the trumpet.”
At the end of the room a loud speaker projected from the wall. The Director walked up to it and pressed a switch.
“… all wear green,” said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, “and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”
There was a pause; then the voice began again.
“Alpha children wear grey They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfuly glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able …”
The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only its thin ghost continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows.