Monday, August 04, 2008

A Conversation With Mark

Mark is five years old. The following is a mostly verbatim account of a conversation that he and I had earlier today. He is a very curious, albeit stubborn fellow, who is quietly brilliant in his own way. He's a difficult kid to teach on most occasions, but he has a cache of knowledge that he delves into at times to produce questions and express ideas that are well beyond his age.

Mark: "Dad, are Americans in a war right now?"

Me: "Yeah. What made you ask that"

Mark: "Are we fighting the Germans again?"

Me: "No, Germany's our friend now."

Mark: "But they weren't are friends in Call of Duty 2 and 3."

(The Call of Duty game series is a first-person war simulation that, much to my wife's chagrin, Mark enjoys watching me play)

Me: "No, they weren't our friends in World War II, but the Germans are different now. They like us, and we like them."

Mark: "Then are we fighting the Russians?"

Me: "Nope."

Mark: "Are we fighting communists?"

Me: "No, we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Mark: "I don't know any of those places. Are they far away?"

Me: "Yes, they're very far away."

Mark: "Are they on Earth?"

Me: "Yes. Would you like to see them on the globe?"

Mark: "Oh yes."

Me: "There's Iraq, and Afghanistan is right by it."

Mark: "Wow that's on the other side of the Earth!"

Me: "I know."

Mark: "Why are we fighting them?"

Me: "Well, the government in Afghanistan helped some people kill a lot of Americans, so we invaded and overthrew their government. We invaded Iraq because George Bush wanted to."

Mark: "George Bush is the president, right?"

Me: "Yes."

Mark: "Did a lot of people get killed in that war?"

Me: "Yes."

Mark: "Then why did George Bush want to fight that war?"

Me: "Good question."

Mark: "Is George Bush a bad president?"

Me: "I think so, yes."

Mark: "Do you still want Ron Poop to be president?"

(He calls Ron Paul "Ron Poop" just to bug me).

Me: "Yes, but he isn't going to be president."

Mark: "Why not?"

Me: "Because not enough people support him."

Mark: "But you do."

Me: "Yes, that's true. But I'm only one person, and it takes tens of millions of people to decide who the president is going to be."

Mark: "Well, I think that Ron Poop should be president too."

Me: "Why is that?"

Mark: "Because you like him so much."

Me: "But why do I like him so much?"

Mark: "I dunno, but it has something to do about freedom, you always say."

Me: "That's right, buddy. Hey, do you want a cookie?"

Mark: "Ooo yes!"

Me: "And I'll let you have a glass of Dr. Pepper if you tell me who the best president was."

Mark: "Ron Paul?"

Me: "Nice try, but he hasn't ever been President."

Mark: "Then I dunno. It's not Lincoln because you hate Lincoln."

Me: "But whom do I like?"

Mark: "None of them?"

Me: "Close, but come on. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?"

Mark: "Thomas Jefferson!"

Me: "Yes, and in the Declaration of Independence, he said that we are born with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of what?"

Mark: "I dunno. Just give me my Dr. Pepper, please."

Me: "OK, buddy. Just tell me who we're fighting in a war right now."

Mark: "I already told you that I don't know those places. I just know that they're on the other side of the Earth and they're not Germans, Russians, or Communists."

Me: "Good enough, Captain."

Mark: "Don't call me that. My name's Mark."


  1. I have to admit that Jefferson was a great President, but I'm curious as to why you wouldn't choose Washington? Perhaps we've had this discussion before, but please remind me. Can you guess who will be our worst President, if elected in a few months? I'll give you two guesses, and either one is correct.

  2. Washington's temperance made him a great president, but he too often listened to Hamilton.


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