When I was just two, I was sitting on my uncle's lap while he read a newspaper. The year was 1980. I saw a picture of Ronald Reagan, pointed to it and said, "that man's a pig." Everyone laughed and a little liberal grew up to become a big one who still tells that story with amusement. But was it funny? According to this article, maybe not.
Some of my earlies memories involve politics. I remember the red, white and blue confetti I tried to catch on my tongue during a Walter Mondale rally. I remember carrying signs for Dukakis around my neighborhood and making calls to pro-choice voters when I was 8 to remind them who to vote for. My family lived, breathed and ate liberal politics and as their child, so did I. If my father or mother believed in G-d, she was a democrat. But was it right that I was exposed to this so young?
Child psychologists say maybe not. And to be honest, sometimes I wonder. My knee jerk response to almost any question of politics is always a liberal one. But when I really sit down and think about it, there are some issues that I am conservative on, certainly more conservative then my father, that is. My stance on immigration is practically reactionary. And my stance on some economic issues is more conservative than my father. But in my family, I was taught that not only was the other side wrong, they were stupid. And there is nothing more loathsome to my father than stupidity. Neither of my parents ever even entertained the possibility that I might think for myself and draw my own, possibly conservative, conclusions.
I have struggled for years to find my own voice amidst the rhetoric in my head, the "that man's a pig" simplicity of children that helped me see the world as divided into good--democrats--and stupid/evil/bad--republicans. I do not wish that on my child. I want her to make up her own mind, albeit her own LIBERAL mind. See, I know I would have a very hard time should my kid go all Alex P. Keaton on us. But I also have a need to let her develop into her own person with her own thoughts and feelings. Yesterday, my sister suggested I get Sam a "My Mama's for Obama" onesie. And I want to. I thought about it. But then I stopped myself. I remembered how how hard it has been to find my own voice.
I will take Sam with me to the polls today when I cast my vote as a registered democrat. I will vote for who I was trained to vote for from years of hearing it drilled at the dinner table. And the fact is, I believe I am right. I believe in Obama. I believe in what this country can be. I want Sam to have a sense of hope, a belief that she can affect change. But I do not want to brainwash my baby. So she will not wear an Obama onesie today, even if she might in the future.
On some of these issues, this democrat is undecided.