Kool-Aid, Anyone?

Kool-Aid, Anyone? July 29, 2016

I don’t remember if my parents ever bought it for us, but as kids my siblings and I enjoyed the sweet, red drink mix called Kool-Aid. The mix usually came in a small paper package with a picture of a smiling, red pitcher. It looked and tasted so good. It was a cheap, quick fix for any thirsty child. We kids must have guzzled this refreshing beverage at school and at community functions with peers.  My immigrant parents did not know how to read English well, and everything in the American culture was so foreign to them that the only American diet we regularly enjoyed was cereal with milk for breakfast.

However, when I became a parent, I never bought Kool-aid for my own children. That’s because as an adult, I learned to be more consumer aware. When I was expecting our first baby, I especially read a lot to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and baby. That was when I realized that this popular kids’ drink was not a healthy choice. It contains too much sugar, artificial colors and flavors, and little nutritional value. No wonder it was cheap and easy to obtain!

Now, the word Kool-Aid also refers to any marketed product that is more appealing than its actual substantive value. Americans usually use this slang when referring to attractive sloguns offered by politicians to reel in the unsuspecting voters. This brings us back to last week’s RNC and this week’s DNC conventions. After a year and a half of competitively campaigning for president, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton emerged as the top candidates for each of their respective parties. Going into the RNC convention, I had my fair share of doubts about Trump. After all, I’ve been reading and listening to news reports from a variety of sources almost everyday. A few accounts were positive and many commentaries were just plain negative.

Yet, after four days of speeches by admiring fans, influential politicians, adoring adult children, and then the Donald himself, the nonpolitician (oxymoron?) looked so presidential! He seemed so capable and strong, just what our nation needs. A video that has since gone viral, posted by one of his employees, a Black woman who worked for one of his son’s foundation, seemed to cement the positive characteristics of the GOP hopeful. Finally, there is hope for America to go forward on the #Trumptrain with great values, strength, and visionary leadership!

Well, after four days of speeches at the DNC convention, Hillary seemed to emerge as the more presidential candidate! Everyone in that large crowd seemed to paint a picture of a wonderful, hard-working, honest champion of women’s, children’s, and human rights. How can anyone overlook this admirable, home-grown leader for America? I have to admit that after all the flowery speeches, including heart and soul touching words by the current President and First Lady, I started thinking #I’mwithher! Maybe what I had heard and read about Hillary throughout the last two decades were not entirely accurate? I began to wonder if the top Democrat has been an unfortunate victim of demonization, and the truth was that she was indeed the best option for America’ future. Maybe her opponents are just being mean spirited and plain partisan for partisanship?

Then reality sets in. Counterpoints emerged on twitter, Facebook, and all over the internet. Facts, statistics, and information were drudged up to balance out the attractive rhetoric. I had to remind myself that as confusing as these two weeks of jammed packed super sweet, red cold Kool-Aid have been, there’s no pressure to decide now. I have some time to detox from all the marketing and relax my brain. After all, the kids still need my attention and my husband still desires my affection and support.

What about you–did the conventions persuade you one way or another?

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