(Also, a caveat: the kids realized rather quickly that our household form of government differs from the American form. We seem to be a constitutional monarchy with a very weak Parliament. Also, the constitution isn't exactly written. So we have some limitations that we are filling with imagination, and we will continue to bump up against those as we go through the election process.)
Without further ado, here are the positions of the candidates:
1. What is your plan regarding the crossing of the black cat onto our property?
Mr. Kermit: I think we should scare it off with a broom whenever it comes.
Miss Fleming: We must remember the people living around us, so we shouldn't spray the cat with a hose. We should thrash our arms around wildly to scare it away.
Miss Green: Sometimes the cat needs to cross our fence to get back to her property, so even though she must be driven away, we mustn't hurt her. I propose that we wave our arms or make frightening gestures.
2. How do you feel about providing incentives for saving money short-term? If you agree, what incentives do you propose? If you don't agree, why not?
Mr. Kermit: Yes, the reward should be a dollar from the government. It should be given when the person is finished saving, before she spends the money on the special item she has been saving up for.
Miss Fleming: Everyone should save money in three categories-- church money, saving money and spending money. Incentives are a good idea. But when we are saving for things we want, the item itself is the reward. I am against other incentives.
Miss Green: Saving for the item provides a sense of accomplishment in itself. We need to encourage everyone to save toward a goal, like the purchase of something they want. I think the government should help citizens find something to save for and help them stick to that goal. The government should sit down with each citizen and help them decide on something to save for, and later when the citizen wants to spend money on something else, the government should remind them that they are saving for something else. I don't think there should be a consequence for not saving because it is the person's own money. I think the government ought to make the citizens aware of the benefits of saving. I want to educate the citizens so they can make wise decisions for themselves.
3. Tell me your ideas on improving our infrastructure.
Mr. Kermit: I want to paint everything. I don't know what color. Some citizens have very bad allergies, and I want them to feel better so we should have wood flooring. Plus, shoes make a nice tapping sound on a floor when it is wood.
Miss Fleming: We should paint because it will be a job for everyone and it's fun and I've never gotten to paint before. We shouldn't use wallpaper because people might have two kinds of wallpaper they want and we can't have both, but we can have more than one color paint. Chores: We like variety. We should switch every month-- living room to kitchen to laundry room.
Miss Green: We should put up new wallpaper over the old scraps in the bathroom. I prefer paint, but it is difficult to remove the old wallpaper and if we use wallpaper, we won't have to remove the old. As for chore assignments, having the same chore for a long period of time helps a person learn to do the job quickly and efficiently. But some people are not satisfied with their jobs. If someone wants to trade, and finds another person who is willing to trade with them, they should be allowed to trade. But no one should be forced to give up a job if they don't want to trade.
4. Do you think speech should be limited? If so, what limits should the government place on it? If not, why not?
Mr. Kermit: Sometimes I do. Citizens shouldn't say bad words and mainly if they say 's-word' to someone they should get hot sauce or soap. Or if they say it they should have to write down how the other person might have felt when they said that to them, and also write down all the nice things about that person.
Miss Fleming: I believe there should be a few limits on free speech. The government has put limits on cursing, swearing and other strong language that is in the world. The words I would like to abolish are "dumb", "nuts", "crazy", "mean", "little one", and "s-word". If I am elected, the first month I will put up a sign that says, "Put a watch over your mouth. Do not say dumb, nuts, etc." If a person says one of the words, he or she will lose a point or two. The words will no long be regarded as 'minor' bad words, but as regular bad words.
Miss Green: I agree that there are several words that should be abolished and should no longer be regarded as minor bad words. After all, if the thought is what counts, they are no better than horrible words when applied to a person in a derogatory manner. The point system works very well and ought to be continued.
5. Do you think Triss ought to have her own cell phone?
Mr. Kermit: Yes. And it should be respected and not thrown around. Then citizens wouldn't have to use the government's phone if they go on bike rides. Triss could use her own phone. And she could call her friends. Everyone could chip in to pay for the minutes.
Miss Fleming: If I am elected, Triss will get a phone. Citizens in other countries have cell phones and the other citizens of our country will benefit from Triss having it. The other citizens ought to help pay for it because they will benefit.
Miss Green: If Triss had a cell phone, she would need to buy minutes. Getting a cell phone for Triss is not a good idea unless she has help paying for it. It would be useful when the nation needs to do two errands at the same time. The Queen Mother and Triss could communicate via cell phone while both are out at different places. If the other citizens did not mind helping to pay for an item they cannot use but would benefit from, it is a good idea. We need a special referendum on the ballot to decide whether the citizens of our nation ought to be taxed to pay for a cell phone for Triss. They would benefit from it even though they couldn't use it.
6. Do you think the government ought to enforce time limits on the computers? If so, how do you think they should be enforced? If not, why not?
Mr. Kermit: Yes, because citizens need to not get their brains all rattied up and have big, bad headaches. I think it should be an hour per day, including schoolwork. The punishment should be not having the computer the next day. The government could use a chart to keep track of it.
Miss Fleming: I believe that citizens should have seven hours per week, not including schoolwork, and use them in any amount. But citizens should not be able to store up hours for use he next week. The consequence should be only four hours the next week. A chart is a very good idea. My idea is to make a chart for the week and have seven slots and when you use an hour, you put an x in one of the slots. If I become President, it will be my duty to design the chart myself.
Miss Green: My idea is that citizens should have a certain amount of hours per day and if they go over the hours one day, then however many hours they went over will be taken off the next day. Miss Fleming suggests that if hours are not used, they should not be carried over to the next week. I disagree. If citizens happen to be doing different things, then all their time for the week is completely lost. With my system, even if they happen to not use all the hours, they will still have rollover hours or minutes. The consequence for going over should be losing the same amount of minutes the next day. I agree with the idea of a chart, but since everybody's is going to be a little different, timers should be kept by the computers and also a piece of paper on which is written the total number of hours, and citizens should add and subtract minutes as needed, with the government's assistance as necessary.
7. Do you think individual study time with mom should be increased? Why or why not?
Mr. Kermit: Some citizens do not need as much time because they are younger and do not have as much schoolwork. Some kids might need it and some kids might not. I haven't decided on this issue.
Miss Fleming: The reason I believe citizens should have more school time with the Queen Mother is because many times they have come out feeling that they needed more time with her, that their time was collapsed and taken away. If I am elected, I shall make sure the one hour time span is increased to two hours, or at least an hour and thirty minutes, because I feel that children need more time with their mothers. If I am elected President, I believe we should have more time so we can learn more things that we need to learn. In doing this, we can create a relationship, and relationships are important-- as important as education.
Miss Green: I have seen the Queen Mother's schedule and these times bump right against each other. Lengthening the segments would create an even longer school day and would cause the Queen Mother to have less time to do other things she needs to do. All the citizens that I have seen do their work with the Queen Mother seem to come out right on time. I don't think more time is needed. If there are special needs-- if there isn't enough time for reading and discussion or someone needs help on math-- the Queen Mother should have a separate time block at the end of the school day to help any child who needs extra time. This would prevent another citizen from having to wait even longer for her first turn.
Thanks for reading, and please don't forget to comment on any of the issues that are important to you! (This is an educational activity for the kids and the more feedback they get, the better the lesson will be.)
Also, if you feel so moved, will you link to this post on your blog to let others know about it? There is something strange going on with Bloglines and none of my posts are hitting the feeds. Thanks.