Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conservative Instincts

Yesterday, giddy as I was from the growing confidence I have that Barack Obama will become president, I found an excuse to call home and talk politics.  Excuse: Debates over + My mother's statement maybe the debates will clear things up for me.

The debates didn't clear things up for her, she is leaning...Clinton.  She will write Clinton in, unless something convinces her to jump to Obama in the next 2 weeks.

Then I talked to my brother Chris.  "So you're coming home?"  "In two days."  "You voting for McCain?"  "Not a chance"  "Obama's a Liar, infanticide, capital gains tax(?)."  "When did he lie, you've been fooled, capital gains tax(!?!)."

Why does my family support McCain, or better asked, why are they closed off to the idea of an Obama presidency.  The vote totals in my family this year will be 3 McCain, 1 Obama, 1 Clinton.  Generally I know why they are Republicans, abortion bad, taxes bad, government bad.  Of course I strongly, violently, hopelessly disagree with their political instincts, but how were these instincts formed?  How were mine formed?  In my family these instincts, for me and them, are solid as rock.

It seems clear they are formed as children.  I can remember Chris lobbying me as a 4 year old for Bush in 1988, and again in 1992.  The strongest issue for him has always seemed to be abortion.  He wrote an apparently researched paper on abortion in high school, had said various democrats want to kill unborn children.  The whole "It is a private choice to be made between a woman and her doctor" thing does not register at all.

There is also a distrust of government, and a seething hatred for taxes.  Chris works hard for his money and he doesn't want government to take it.  Government of course uses the money to provide police, education, national defense, money when you are old so that you can live, and other things, but there's no chance this matters.

As for my father and my brother Mike, they are less vocal about these insticts, but they are there.  My father has listened to Rush for decades, and when I made it a habit of listening to NPR on the kitchen radio, I found Mike listening to Rush on the same.  My family's Missouri home is close to Webster University, and once we we driving through campus and my father saw two young men holding hands, and he turned his eyes away, and made clear he thought it disgusting.

So three of five voting members of my family are COnservative Republicans, and even today with 10% of the country finding the country on the wrong track, they do not consider voting for any democrats.  The instinct was there early, but how did it start?  This post does not know, but a majority of Americans do not have it.

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