As the nation ponders...

Charlie, my five-year-old, has become interested in the presidential election. The only thing I've told him about it is that President Bush wants to fight bad guys, and John Kerry wants to talk to bad guys, even if the bad guys just want to hurt people.

"Does that mean people who vote for John Kerry are bad people?" he asked.

"Not necessarily," I replied. "It does mean they're making a bad choice."

My words seemed to have had more than a slight effect on him. Yesterday, when the kids were out trick-or-treating, my wife reported that Charlie saw a yard sign and sounded out the words on it. "K...eh...r...ee...Kerry. Those people are voting for John Kerry!" he exclaimed.

Meanwhile, all the kids he was walking with started walking up to the front door. "Hey, don't go up there!" Charlie yelled. "Those people are voting for John Kerry!" My wife tried to explain that this really wasn't the time for arguing. Besides, wouldn't he at least like some candy from them?

"No," Charlie said. "It might be poisoned!"

My son, the right-wing nut