35 and Still Leaning Left

I’m sitting at JFK after a long weekend, and I’m asking myself an important question: Socially and politically (is there truly a difference these days?), who am I?

The question springs not from the convention I just attended but from two periphery aspects of the trip. First, I met my uncle for dinner Saturday night. Over drinks we discussed politics, President Obama, last year’s election and campaigns, the candidates, who, if anyone, might have been able to do a better job and, of course, the current economic downturn. I told him that I voted for Obama and that, despite my total disagreement with the government’s two major stimulus packages – the first signed by George W. Bush and the second by Obama – that I am happy with my vote.

My uncle is not a fan of Obama’s because of his near absence of any sort of relevant track record, nor did he like his opponent in the presidential election, John McCain. I told him that my wife and I, in the Iowa Caucus, caucused initially for Joe Biden, but he did not get enough support at our location, so we shifted our support to Obama.

(To flesh this out: McCain was my favorite Republican candidate. I considered, at first, an Obama-McCain race a 50-50 proposition. When Obama chose Biden as his running mate, it locked up my vote; McCain selected Sarah Palin, making the McCain-Palin ticket my third choice behind Obama-Biden and Anybody Else-Anybody Else.)

My uncle, a staunch republican, makes no secret where he stands. He told me as I got older I would come around to his side. I’ve been told this before by several people, including this same uncle in the 1990s. And yet, here I am, leaning as left at 35 as I did at 25 and 15.

Why? I like to believe it’s because I force myself to think long-term. The universe is bigger than me. When I’m gone the world will not pause to mourn. It will move forward like a speeding Buick smearing bugs across its windshield on a hot summer night. The universe will not notice whether I am here. I’m okay with that. So it is one of my goals that the world be a more accepting place, a more logical and forward-thinking place, for my children and grandchildren – and their grandchildren – than it is during my time. So, yes, I am proud that the President of the United States is an intellectually elite, personable, realistic, plain-speaking, ambitious, technologically savyy, fair, diplomatic person. And I think, although I find his race and the race of all people subordinate to their brains and how they use their brains, it is a good thing for the United States, and therefore the world, that his mother is a white woman from Kansas, his father is a black man from Kenya, and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. Much of this country is stuck in “old-think.” It’s time to try out some new ideas, even if they fail with great consequence, to discover new and important successes.

Second, I sped through David Perlmutter’s book ‘Blogwars,’ an academic study of the evolution of political blogging. As a member of the media, or perhaps a former member – nah, I’m still active – it is my duty to challenge the status quo. By modern definition, to be a Republican is to live in fear of change, or rather, fear of social alterations. I cannot and will not condone such a stance.

There is a lot of libertarian in me. I want the government – and, for that matter, all those who have zero impact on my life, and me zero impact on them – to stay out of my affairs. Stay out of my life. Neither of the U.S.’s two major political parties are willing to do this. Where they differ are the motives behind their intrusions. Democrats feel they can live your life better than you can, so they want to offer lots and lots and lots of help – too much help – that corrodes one’s ability to react, survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Their actions disempower us and make the world “easy,” which is dangerous. Adversity is good. Challenges are good. Struggle is good. It helps us discover who we truly are and strengthens our character. Speaking broadly, Democrats are that mother who won’t let her preschooler climb a jungle gym because he might fall; when that preschooler gets to elementary school he is excluded from playground games because he never learned the tools he needed to keep up.

Republicans are different because they insert themselves into our lives not to try to make things better, but to tell us what we can’t do. They tell gay people they can’t get married. They tell pregnant women how to use their bodies. They tell their own citizens who have disagreements with this country how they can and cannot protest – even peacefully.

It’s a no-brainer for me. If the government is going to interfere in my life, I’d rather it have good intentions than bad. That is why until Republicans are able to show me something different, I will be voting Democrat.

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3 Responses to “35 and Still Leaning Left”

  1. I’m a fan of Obama too. But I don’t believe what we see is all there is. Surely there is something beyond the physical world. There are signs of transcendence: the origin of the universe, right and wrong, consciousness, religious experience, out-of-body near-death experiences, even music. All of these point to a supernatural reality beyond the physical world. To me that’s good news. We will survive death, and therefore this life can have eternal significance.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Alan Horne Says:

    There is but one way to salvation. I pray you find it.

  3. hadoomystery Says:

    Chris, I appreciate your insightful and inspirational thoughts. I hope you are right.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write.
    HM

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