Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Family Politics

I had an interesting conversation today about how people tend to stick with the political party of the household they were raised in.  It seems that we are all pretty much wired at birth to lean to the right or left as we see politics through the lens of our parents.

My father was a very political guy.  We knew months out when an election was coming because he filled every inch of our corner lot with signs for every Democratic person running.  Didn't matter if it was an election for president or neighborhood council, he was doing what he could to support the democratic party.  Being a union guy we also had left over picket signs that I would have to dig through to find things that I lost in the depths of his garage.  

Though my dad was very political, I can't ever remember him having a discussion with any of us kids about politics.  Still he impacted my politics.  I am not a registered Democrat but an independent voter.  I have mixed views on unions.  I,  however, do find myself agreeing with the liberal camp more often than not.  I talk to my mother and two of my siblings about politics often because I know that I can commiserate on the current state of affairs at any given time without much debate or argument.  

The interesting thing though is that most people I know are pretty similar to my family. They stick with what they know.  I have a close friend who is way republican and listens to Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric all the time.  Her kids also ended up republican .. I am convinced that they were brainwashed by being exposed to some many Rush Ramblings that they couldn't help themselves.   

I have one friend who explained how she 'came out' to her parents four years ago as a democrat.  She was not tarred and feathered though I am sure her family is saying some extra prayers for her return to the fold.  It was a big deal for her to be the first left winger in her family.  She hid it till she was well into her thirties.  I think a lot of folks are like that, afraid to break away from the family norms.   I have another sibling that doesn't talk much about politics with his family.   I suspect he could be a closet Republican but I am not sure. I never have nor probably never will ask him.  If he ever admitted to going to the other side I would ask how he found a bridge to that mindset.   I think it would take a lot to cross over from the subliminal cues (sort of) that my father gave or my republican friend gave her kids to something new. 

Over the past two decades however, family dynamics have changed.   We have had more divorces, blended families, single parent families, more electronic diversions and less Ward and June sitting at the table with Wally and the Beav.  We have also had more and more people, especially young people (who will have families) breaking away from the influence of family and registering as Independents.  I think that family dynamics do effect our political views and  as the 'few' that break away from their family norms become 'many' we will see a true change in our political system.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Oftentimes I think that I should have paid more attention to the political affliation of my EX-husband at the time we were dating. It really did presage that our paths would diverge. It's hard to create a life together when your philosophy is so different than your partners. Yes, I know Matalin and her hubby do it, but generally, don't you want to be with someone who likes the same flavor of Koolaid as you?

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