Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Parents and politics

 It's fairly well known that most kids share the religion of their parents. This isn't surprising, since they are taught that this religion is a fact from day one. I can attest that my Catholicism wasn't something I originally thought about. It was just taken for granted that we were a 'Catholic family'. No rhyme or reason, that's just the way it was. As should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog, I did eventually question and leave the church (and Christianity) entirely.

But just like religion, parents also seem to pass on their politics. My parents are conservative, and for the first many years of my political life, I was too. But why? The simple answer is that I was taught early on that the Republicans are the good guys and the Democrats are villains that are to never be trusted. Young children are programed to learn from their parents and elders, so I soaked up that political view and never questioned it for several years.

I'm ashamed to say that in my first two presidential elections, I didn't vote on politics or issues. Heck, I wasn't really that informed on the issues. Everything that I 'knew' can from the void of integrity known as Fox News. We would sit down and watch Fox News every night, and their rhetoric was the only argument I would hear. So I didn't really put any thought into my votes. I just scanned down the ballot and checked next to anyone with an 'R' next to their name. It didn't matter if I never even heard of some of those people. They were a Republican, so they had to be good right?

Interestingly, it wasn't until I lost my faith, that I also took an honest audit of my political opinions. For the first time I looked long and hard at the issues and asked myself "What do I really think about that?" rather than simply regurgitating what I was told I should think about that issue. What I found is that I am certainly different politically that I thought I was. I am not a conservative that deifies Fox News. Actually, I have trouble even calling Fox News, 'news' anymore. But that doesn't mean I'm some hard core Democrat now.

Nope. That party has plenty of issues as well. I will say I agree a bit more with them than the Republicans, but I would actually have to classify myself as a political mixed bag. I'm now registered as unaffiliated and my past two election ballots have been pretty diverse. In fact, I voted for a third part candidate for president that past two elections. They didn't stand a chance, but at least I voted my conscious. If forced to label myself with one word, that word would probably have to be progressive.

To this day, my parents still assume that I am politically more similar to them than I am. But maybe that's because I tend not to bring up politics and rather just avoid the issue. I just wish we could on day see a world where parents do not install young minds with religion or politics before they are old enough to make an informed decision on these issues. I've overcome it in my case, but I see far too many that blindly follow what they were conditioned to believe in their youth. Perhaps one day reason will prevail. But I fear that will be a long, long road.

-Brain Hulk

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