My first political lesson came, about fifty years ago, via television. As any other kid during that time, the Decisive Decade (the 1960s), while political assassinations, JFK, Malcolm X, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., RFK, and a host of others, changed America’s social and political landscape, I sat in front of a black-and-white television and watched cartoons on TV. There was Rocky and Bullwinkle, which taught me, through Rocky’s and Bullwinkle’s main adversaries, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, two Russian-like spies, who the enemy was during this Cold War. So at 6 years of age, I knew Russia was America’s super-enemy.
My political lesson though, about democracy, came during an episode of a cartoon I don’t remember, but that episode was entitled, “If I Were President.” In it, there was a major election taking place in the animal kingdom for King of the Jungle. I don’t recall who was the lion’s adversary, but the lion and his opponent campaigned throughout the jungle, imploring the various animals to vote for them. When the election was over and the animal kingdom votes were counted, it was a dead tie. The voting rolls were checked and cross-checked against those animals who had voted, and lo and behold, one solitary animal did not vote. The two candidates went in search of this animal, to convince it to vote for one or the other, because its vote matter and would be the deciding vote.
I don’t recall which candidate secured that deciding vote, because that wasn’t the point of the episode. It was a lesson in classical democracy, about the importance of voting, about the importance of one vote: one person, one vote. I didn’t know at the time, but this lesson didn’t apply to our Federal Republic when it came to voting for the president, what with our electoral college. Funny, all these years later, we have a cartoon-like character, Donald J. Trump, who owns a mansion and a yacht, soon to assume the presidency of the United States, who didn’t win the highest office in the land according to what I had learned at 6 years of age about classical democracy.