Saturday, May 24, 2008

In The Majority

My brother and my son both kid me that I have turned into a "liberal." At nearly 60 now I am 5 years older than my brother and 22 years older than my son.

I'm not really a "liberal" and they are only kidding me in a good natured way. But it is like kidding someone about your own age about becoming a senior citizen or something. My brother does that. He's funny about it though because he actually asks for his "senior discount" and sometimes people just offer it to him. I've only one time been offered a senior discount and that was a few years ago. It did surprise me. Several times people have asked if my brother was my older brother. I think it is because we are in that age range when it is hard to tell.

My family has a long history of being distrustful of government. That's probably not surprising given the fact that our earliest American ancestor fled the Franco-German area of Europe to avoid persecution, poverty, near-slavery, and constant war. In their quest to find freedom and opportunity in a new land they suffered terribly. That's something that is passed down through the generations.

We used to pretty much vote in the conservative democrat block when there was such a thing. But even then that was as much a practical consideration as philosophical. For one thing there was almost no republican party here for the most part so if you wanted to vote in a primary election you only had the democrat choice. For another we voted pretty much for the individual rather than the party affiliation.

It is kind of funny in a way to think about this now because Oklahoma is considered to be heavily republican and conservative. And yet just a few years ago the republican party barely existed if at all. There's also an active libertarian party and probably a few others.

So there are many more party choices today than there were when I was in my teens and early 20's.

Still I have definitely moved in my political opinions more to the center. I am much more pragmatic now than idealistic. Although I do retain some idealism.

Besides I've learned that I will not get all of my way most of the time.

I have also learned that other people disagree with me and that they will neither be persuaded nor will they be able to persuade me about certain things. Further I have learned that I will not understand why they believe what they do anymore than they will understand why I believe what I do.

I prefer civility though and respect and courteousness. I am put off by confrontation and argument and blind partisanship and rudeness and crudeness and lack of respect.

At the same time I have become more inflexible on fewer core beliefs.

Used to I usually found myself in the minority. In fact I could pretty well guess the outcome of some issue or another by just predicting the opposite of what I wanted.

But now I find myself in the majority all of a sudden.

I've discussed this phenomenon with other friends of my age. One such friend was a near hippie but you'd never guess that now. So he's come more near me now but from the other direction.

He says we've turned into our fathers and mothers.

I think that's pretty much right, too.


~Betsy said...

As life wears on us, I think we do become our parents - to an extent. My parents worked hard for what they had and I am learning the same lessons. I live in a very democratic area (Pittsburgh is a lot of blue collar union), but I tend to lean more toward moderate conservatism.

Interesting post, Terry. You've made me think.

Lori1955 said...

Politics are one thing I have learned not to discuss with friends. At our ages, few of our beliefs are going to change. I however find myself in the minority as a moderate Republican. I think many of us move to the middle as get older and realize that nothing is black on white anymore.