The Marshall Plan: Voters beware in elementary school elections

It’s nearly election time. The joyous season of endless political blathering, Facebook grandstanding, commercials with creepy music and, of course, thousands of urgent letters to the editor.

This fall there are clear choices out there for the type of leadership we need to fix this country.

Government shut downs and global politics pale in comparison to who rules the playground.

Real politics are local.

Real political change begins and ends at the elementary school level.

The other day I decided to check out the multitude of school election signs hanging in a local elementary school. They were creative, funny and at times a bit odd.

Just like our political landscape.

For example, I came across one poster that read, “Please vote for me, I already told my parents I won.”

This kid might have a few ethical concerns, but that never stopped a political dream in this country. In fact, it has furthered plenty of careers. Never let honesty ruin a strong run at an office.
It also shows a solid sense of humor and a serious will to succeed.

Another sign assured voters that the kid running for office is “not a creeper.”

This is reassuring in today’s political world. Truthfully, there really are a few “creepers” out there including a former president and a New York mayoral candidate with a really amusing last name. This guy was mentioned way too frequently by corny headline writers, comedians and tabloids.

There are plenty of solid traditional posters, like those that proclaim “no bullying, better lunches and more social activities.” Those are a bit boring.

Another favorite is the poster that shows little league success or a willingness to dress the part. I mean some kids really do dress like a treasurer.

Those running for president tend to be the kids that have it all—nicely matching teeth, cool hair and plenty of successful endeavors in and out of school. Their posters are most likely outsourced to a top-flight marketing firm or perhaps an overly enthusiastic parent.

These are the truly scary ones, because who, in retrospect, really has it together in elementary school? Or middle school for that matter?

Vice-presidential candidates tend to be Machiavellian. They are the under the radar types.

As a kid there is too much to stress about, including how your parents dress you, baby teeth falling out all the time, oddly cut hair, misshapen heads and, of course, the ever embarrassing nose pick that you thought was cloaked in secrecy.

Are these candidates fully vetted by the press? Do they have a scandalous history of homework neglect, talking too loudly in the hall or perhaps a careless lunchroom toss of a tater tot in pre-school?

The other major question in the world of elementary school politics is playground politics.

Does this person share a swing, offer a hand to those who fall, lead games of tag or are they talking to crickets?

We also know too few things about their politician leanings. In fact, we might only know that they like Super Mario Brothers, Power Rangers or perhaps they are the top Beyblader in the school.

There has to be a level of trust between student candidates and the school’s administrators. There can’t be any mavericks or revolutionaries in the mix.

Be careful of the kids that boldly proclaim an end to all homework or believe in serving only ice cream for lunch. Be wary of too many promises that are largely out of their realm of power. It shows that this kid may be a future president. Don’t be too daring or innovative for elementary school level politics.

There’s also the question of their favorite books. Are they of the Dr. Seussian school of thought? Perhaps they have been influenced by the traditional family values of Berenstein Bears, the foreign influences of Pokemon or perhaps the utopian leanings of Little Bear.

Choose wisely kids, because one day these little leaders will grow up.

We can only hope that the adults we elect this fall will do the same.

Lastly, remember that no one likes a creeper.

Marshall Conner is a regular contributor to the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at