The older I get the more I realize I am more like my dad than I ever thought was possible. Our sense of humor is nearly identical. Our cynicism is equally palpable. And I am happy to say, I think I’ve inherited at least some of his incredible sense of generosity and warmth. However, there are some things we’ll just never see eye to eye on. He’ll never like Led Zeppelin. He’ll never root for the Dolphins. And no matter how hungry I am, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to eat liverwurst. He eats it straight out of the can… with a spoon. But most importantly, we just don’t talk much politics. Why? Like my mom and sister, I am a big ol’ liberal. My dad? Very proud, very stubborn, card carrying Republican….
He’s… never exactly been wealthy. He doesn’t own a gun. He has zero interest in organized religion, and is actually quite a bit more hostile to it than the liberal wing of the family. He happily collects social security, as did both his parents when they were alive. His occupation for 30+ years was that great bastion of conservative ideals… he was a teacher. A drama teacher. He loves the theater. He doesn’t understand what the big deal is with homosexuals wanting to marry, or serving in the military (he served, went to Vietnam, and had no issue serving with plenty of openly gay officers). So… what gives? Well, part of it was that whole military thing.
You see, as conventional wisdom goes, Republicans = good for national security, Democrats = bad. And old habits die hard. That, and according to my dad’s accounts, when he came home from Vietnam he was spat on by hippies who called him a baby killer. I guess that more or less seared in the idea that left wing = dirty, stupid hippies. I guess I can understand. I’d probably have similar feelings had I experienced that brand of idiocy. But the rest is just nonsensical talking points that have no bearing in reality.. or maybe they did once.
i.e. Democrats are for big government and Republicans are for smaller government. My dad doesn’t like “big government.” Mmmk.. but wasn’t it GW Bush that created the Dept of Homeland Security and initiated the Patriot Act? “Big government” doesn’t get any bigger than that. He also doesn’t like big defecits. I don’t think anyone does, but I do know under Reagan and the Bush family, we racked up record deficits, with an actual balanced budget and a freakin SURPLUS sandwiched in between, during the Clinton administration. Who’s against deficits again? Arguments like these have been attempted, usually rebutted with some asinine Fox News-inspired talking point,where white is black and the sky is red, if it fits the narrative. What can I say, my dad watches Bill O’Reilly… sigh… a lot.
So, it’s a losing battle. But at least there’s a line somewhere. I’m fairly certain my dad would never vote for Rick Santorum, or someone equally nutty like say, Pat Buchanan. After crowing about how Sarah Palin was “hot,” he did concede that she’s an idiot. So why Republican? I think, more than anything really, it’s his team. His colors. He looks past the fact his party has been hijacked by religious zealots and military contractors. It’s just… his party. Always has been, and nothing’s gonna change that. So it goes. No political talks at the Thanksgiving table. I can live with that.