Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wil Wheaton, Voice Of My Generation

I think many people of roughly my age -- by which I guess I basically mean Gen X and a bit of early Gen Y -- will read this and instantly identify. It's worth clicking through the ad if you're not a subscriber -- and don't be fooled by the slug-line.

The thing is, though, I know better than to bring up politics with my dad. Ever since he started listening to talk radio for hours out of the day, he's slowly lost his ability to objectively look at the facts and draw his own conclusions. If Rush, Hannity, Dennis Prager or O'Reilly say it, my dad believes it as surely as he believes anything. Thanks to this abdication of rational thinking, both of my parents completely bought into the Swift Boat Liars, still believe that Saddam was connected to 9/11, and recently decided to move to Montana, which my mother described as "the real America" to me and my siblings. When Schwarzenegger ran for governor, my mom's impression of him, having worked with him as a model in the 1960s, mysteriously transformed from "a steroid-shooting lech" to "a total gentleman, who was always taking his supplements, which were injected in those days."

(...)

Didn't [my dad] understand that we disagree because he raised me to believe in and support the very things he now proclaims are destroying America?

This is the thing that always gets me about my mother's Republicanism: as far as I can tell, she's the one who raised me to be a liberal. Living abroad, being involved in the arts, having gay friends, and going to a private college in the northeast may have reinforced it, but everything liberal about me has its roots in her. Which is what makes it so confusing when I now see her espousing something that's so grossly contrary to everything she spent my childhood instilling in me. And she refuses to see that side of things.

The weird thing is, I think I understand why she became a Reagan Democrat (and later a Bush Republican): the Democrats were a shady bunch during her young adulthood, and most often ineffectual as well. First there was LBJ and Vietnam, the mess in Chicago, and later on the flailing of the Carter administration -- I'm sure Reagan looked like a pretty good deal to disillusioned Boomers back in 1980. I don't know if she understands that I look at Republicans and see exactly the same thing: a bad war, pervasive corruption, and complete ineptitude in every endeavor. She predicts that one day I'll be a conservative myself; I don't think she realizes that her president is currently cementing in place my gut-level revulsion at the very thought. Seven or eight years ago, I honestly might have been swayed. But as long as there's room for someone like Bush in the party, I want no part of it. To choose otherwise would be, to my mind, a wholesale betrayal of everything I believe in, everything I value in this world -- all of which are rooted in the way she raised me.

Anyway, it's comforting to know that Wil's been there, too.
11:39 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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