[This was due for Bill C’s request on the 25th, I hope it’s not late but. er, my dog ate my post]
I once had a theory, back when I was about 10, that everything in stores should be free, as that would eliminate poverty. In my theoretical world everyone would only take what they needed and poverty would end. My folks had emigrated from Hungary in 1956, immigrants to the U.S shortly thereafter (legally, as was the practice at the time) and told me that my theory was basically communism. Hey, I was only 10, what excuse did Marx have?
While in High School back in the 70’s of California I fancied myself an independent thinker so when I turned 18 I registered to vote as non-partisan since neither party reflected my political viewpoint. Even by then I started questioning the left. My first year at Berkeley I saw a booth run by Iranians against the Ayatollah. I asked them what was so bad about the Shah and why they kicked him out just a few years back. Their reply was that they were politically naive at the time. Hmmm, sounds familiar.
Jimmy Carter was President at the time and although he was making a mess of our foreign and domestic policies I decided I’d vote for him for a second term. I figured he deserved it for no real good reason, but heck, we were living in dangerous times and who else had the experience of running the nation when we had the hostage situation in Iran. At least he tried to rescue them.
Now this was my first time voting and it was a Presidential election, on the Right was former Governor of California Ronald Reagan, and the Independent Hart. The only thing I knew about Reagan was that as Governor he closed down a lot of mental health institutions (read insane asylums) and let’s just say the quality of street people went way down. That, and he starred in Bed-Time for Bonzo among other forgettable films.
On election day I was driving home from school to go vote and the radio announced that Carter had withdrawn from the election. He quit! California still had hours to vote and he just gave up because he was pissed that people weren’t voting for him. It was a cold slap in the face for the left coast and the one thing I can’t understand is how he got even one, single vote after that. I voted for the Independent Hart and that was that.
Later, I heard speeches by Reagan and saw how the hostages were freed and slowly but surely I regretted my vote in my first Presidential election. At first I thought it was just an act, but later it sank in: this guy is for real and he speaks to my heart and to my logic. He made sense when everyone else didn’t. I’m proud to say I voted for his second term in spite of the Ray-Gun propaganda that permeated the California electorate.
I guess those years taught me the true meaning of conservationism, and the true meaning of the Democrats’ goal of the Nanny State taking charge of every aspect of our lives. That, and gun control. I grew up with guns so when I finally registered for a party, my choice was obvious. As for hiding that fact, I never backed down. I’m a proud Republican that will admit when my party is wrong e.g. immigration and rampant spending, but I’ll never deny it. To twist a liberal slogan that was popular back in my day, The Republican Party, Love it or Change it.