The Washington Post

How much media drove little Abby to tears?

In one of an estimated bazillion gazillion YouTube snippets, which, in the weirdness of the viral-verse, could end up propelling a heretofore unknown kiddie to cyber-stardom, weepy Abigael has pitched a memorable anti-electioneering hissy fit. 

And somewhere off camera, her solicitous mama, one Elizabeth Evans of Fort Collins, Co., is feeling the child’s pain after asking her baby girl to explain the cause of her misery.

“Just because I am tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney,” she snuffles.

“That’s why you are crying? Oooh, it will be over soon Abby, okay? The election will be over soon, okay?


My first reaction was, get in line, sweetie, behind the rest of your fellow Americans who have had it up to here with half-truths, outright lies, flip-flopping, back-pedaling, finger-pointing, noxious campaign ads and, of course, such obscene amounts of special interest cash that my late, lamented daddy, a longtime D.C. cab driver, made it a point to tell every politician who entered his taxi that the money they so eagerly vacuumed up was flat out “legalized bribery.” And that was before the Citizens United decision.

Then I had a second reaction to Miss Abigael’s 22-second star turn.

Exactly how much media does she consume that she’s become sick to tears of “Bronco” and Mitt? Did she stay up very, very late to watch the presidential debates, and then join in the pre-school analysis of same? Does she start her day with “Morning Joe” and end it with Piers Morgan? Is Big Bird sending out sly, subliminal political messages?

Can she do a passable imitation of Hungarian-born billionaire Thomas Peterffy who declares in a massive TV ad buy that he’s backing Romney because as an escapee from Eastern European socialism, he cherishes the capitalist system in the U. S. of A? Is Abby making sure her little pals understand that Bronco, the president, is not outsourcing jobs making Bronco, the Jeep, to China?

No, probably not.  It was an NPR report she heard while riding to the store with her mother that reduced her to tears, after a year-long cycle of political discord. 

The story broke on Denver’s 9News Reports, complete with Abigael’s YouTube moment, resulting in comforting words from mom and a contrite blogpost. “On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign’s gone on long enough for us, too. Let’s just keep telling ourselves: “Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.”

Maybe we should be grateful for Abby’s campaign fatigue, because somehow in her short life, she has already experienced democracy in all its imperfect messiness.

It may be too much for her bear at the moment. But when she’s older — say eight or nine — with her own pre-tween talk show and book deal — she can help educate her young cohort with this bit of 1947 wisdom from Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” 

Annie Groer is a former Washington Post and reporter and columnist who writes widely about politics, culture and design. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Town & Country, More and other publications, and she is at work on a memoir.

Annie Groer is a former Washington Post and writer and columnist specializing in politics, culture and design. She has also written for the New York Times, Town & Country, Washingtonian and More, and is at work on a memoir. Follow her @AnnieGroer.

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