Breaking away from political conditioning

My dad’s biggest fear is that I will one day become a liberal. For him, having voted for Bush twice and being a devout fan of the O’Reilly Factor, my move to the coast five years ago (a breeding ground for extreme liberalism, he believes) has done nothing to calm his fears.

Every holiday I am now subjected to a litmus test of political quandary on subjects ranging from abortion to immigration.

I was told once that we are politically conditioned from childhood to support whatever party our parents subscribe to. If one’s parents are liberal than you are very likely to be a liberal and vice a versa.

This makes sense. I was also told that, should you diverge from the party of your parents, you are more likely to claim no party, or independent, than your parent’s opposing party.

Yes, I began my political awareness mired in a sea of right wing party agenda and yes, this influences my thought process on issues today, but my own personal life experiences and relationships, outside of the nuclear unit are what have truly shaped my political opinion.

In high school several of my friends became pregnant. One had an abortion, two decided to keep their babies. I was brought up close and personal with the issue. My experience was suddenly much more than what I had been able to glean from after school specials.

I was able to make, what I believe to be, a reasonable assessment of the issue. An appreciation of the way young lives can be affected and of the consequences of forcing babies to have babies.

Coming from a catholic background, where I know many find abortion akin to murder, I DON’T think taxpayers dollars should be forced to subsidies the procedure.

Gay marriage? I have a lot of gay friends, so this is a no-brainer for me. It should be legal. Love is love, not to offer marriage is discriminatory and besides that, it would be a boom to the economy and promote monogamy.

What I’ve learned from personal experience is that it’s much easier for people to say no to gay marriage when they don’t know any gay individuals or have any personal experience with the issue.

Immigration? Coming from an immigrant family (my mother emigrated here from the Philippines when she was 20) I sympathize with those having a hard time getting here, to the land of milk and honey.

I’ve seen families torn apart by deportation. It’s a complex issue, but I do think there should be some reform to the system.

Immigration reform? Yes. Amnesty? No. Legalization of Marijuana? Yes. Gun control? It’s complicated. Universal health care? Eh. Maybe. Trillion dollar budget? No way!!

Politics are hard. Personal experience makes it hard for me to relate to an overtly conservative moral agenda and yet when I see the dysfunctional social programs that liberals espouse and throw money at, I’m discouraged.

My dad, being of “the old school,” has an easier time making up his mind. I know he’s had much more life experience than me, but somehow I also think, in a way, he’s been much more closed off to the world, and whether that is of his own volition, I can’t really say.

It’s hard trying to reconcile political differences with family. For now, I’m just trying to prepare for the political landmines I’m sure to be wading through at Easter dinner. I’m gathering information, from everywhere.

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Breaking away from political conditioning