August 30, 2006

Mommy, why am I the way that I am?

Why am I a liberal?

I can go into a long diatribe about the inequalities of a capitalist economy and the importance of individual liberties, but these explanations don't explain why I'm a liberal.


1.) Is my liberalness a part of my biology? My dad is pretty left-wing, but we never discussed politics in-depth when I was growing up. A smattering here and a smattering there, but only on rare occasions.

Yet I see a correlation between the political leanings of parents and the political leanings of their children. My friend Amanda has two very liberal parents. Her mom and dad are card-carrying members of the Democratic Party and are proud to proclaim it. Unsurprisingly, Amanda is a Dem too. Conversely when I lived in Utah, I met a lot of people who were Republican because their parents were Republican.

But there are anomalies too. My friend Allison is one of the most liberal friends that I have. She joined the Peace Corps after college and taught health education to Armenian women. Her parents, on the other hand, are among the few remaining Marylanders who still support Bush. Why did Allison become a liberal if she grew up in a conservative household?

2.) Is my liberalness a product of my geography? I was born and raised in Maryland, a bastion of the Democratic Party. Presidential hopefuls don't bother coming here because they know our electoral votes will go to the Democratic candidate---even if the candidate is a 90 year-old man named Poncho.

Maybe my home state's liberal tendencies seeped into my blood.

But then again, I spent some of my formative years (age 17-22) in Utah, which is probably the most conservative state in the union. Why didn't my liberalism fade when I lived in the beehive state?

3.) Is my liberalness a product of my youth? I've heard many times that the younger generation is prone to liberalism but as they grow older they turn to conservatism.

But I encountered numerous young Republicans when I was at BYU. I mean, my entire campus is populated by Reaganites. Why haven't my fellow Cougars been infected by the liberalism bug? We're young after all! We should trump such ideologies.

* * * * *

I think my liberalism stems from something inside of me. Just as some people are born with a tendency for art or a tendency for science, I was born with a tendency to lean to the left. I don't know why this happened. I don't know why my innate self has such an appetite for liberalism.

If I was born a liberal, then there must be people who are born conservatives. But then again, there are some people who switch sides or bounce from one side to the other.

I'm talking in circles. My eyes have gone cross-eyed.

3 comments:

  1. Whoa! I didn't expect silence on such a great, introspective post. My father was a strong, idealist conservative (he's not LDS; in fact, he's not religious at all). I grew up a staunch Republican (at heart, since this was before voting age). Throughout my undergrad years I was conservative in my gut.

    Then I went to grad school in poli sci, and learned to think critically and question my basic assumptions. Why did I believe what I believed? Mostly because it was ingrained into my psyche from my youth. I reworked my entire political philosophical foundation in the space of a year or two.

    Today, I'm pretty dang liberal. As I get older, I get a little more cynical and practical, and I gain more respect for those who disagree with me, but my concern for collective social and environmental problems continues to grow.

    So, comparing to your 1, 2, and 3, I'm thrice an anomaly. :D

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  2. Honey, you really need to write more. My boredom is going unquenched as I visit your blog time and time again to find... nothing. As your boyfriend and dedicated reader, help us out here and write more often! Perhaps you could talk about NASA's scrapping of the shuttle launch, the impending death of Harry Potter, or the rise of realism in America... :) Just some suggestions that I would enjoy. Also, anything cursing Sitka the cat would be much appreciated.

    J

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  3. Sometimes I've wondered who I would have been growing up in a more conservative society, for example Korea. I think there are qualities in me, and probably you, that would have made us left-leaning whichever society we were in. Although who knows, if I were in, say Sweden, does that mean I'd be a communist? Because that's where lefties are out there...

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