I remember hearing often when I was growing up that everyone starts out as a liberal and gets more conservative as you age. For me and my husband, at least, the exact opposite is true.
We both grew up in very conservative households. We parroted back our parent’s ideals and beliefs, because that’s what we knew. Speaking personally, I supported Republican candidates and ideas when I was freshly able to vote. I even went to a Tea Party meeting once.
But the world has changed, and so have I. Meeting people outside of the social circle I grew up in, reading things that my parents would have considered inappropriate liberal rhetoric, and questioning those “beliefs” that I had been brought up in brought about a political revelation.
I think there comes a time that kids and young adults break away from what they’ve been taught and start to think for themselves. Sometimes it comes early, for others, later. Some people never go through it at all.
Politics is one of those things that, especially in recent times, can be very divisive. In my family, Mike and I are the outliers – the lone liberals in a sea of conservatives. My mother, thankfully, has banned everyone in the family from talking politics when we’re around. While it’s never been explicitly stated, they know our political views do not align with theirs, and it’s become a kind of don’t ask, don’t tell situation.
I guess the shift in our beliefs came gradually. And in many respects we were lucky – we shifted together. We read a lot, and talked a lot. It’s probably obvious if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, but I tend to be a people pleaser, especially to those I’m closest to. It was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t agree with the ideology was raised in. Interestingly it all really came at the same time that I shook of the mantle of Catholicism and embraced the fact that I’m an atheist.
I don’t remember what started the change. But it wasn’t women’s rights, or LGBTQ+ rights, or any of that that caused the change. Sure, those helped push the needle drastically in the other direction, but that wasn’t the final nail in the coffin for me. It was science, and science denial. I learned a lot about a lot of things in my collegiate science education. And once I started watching things like budget cuts, knowledge freezes, denial of probable science… I was done. I was teetering on the edge before then, but that kicked me firmly off of the cliff. I can’t, in good conscience support a party that denies basic science.
And then came the cascade. Social issues. Racial issues. Economic issues (don’t forget, I do have that handy little MBA, too). I’ve been banned from watching the debates because I get so enraged listening to both Trump and Pence spew bullshit and outright lies. The thought of Amy Coney Barrett sitting on the Supreme Court makes me nauseous.
But I also recognize that people are allowed to have their own thoughts and feelings on things. And I don’t assume that just because something is my belief, doesn’t mean that everyone should hold the same.
I’m terrified of what’s going to happen with this election. I think that no matter who wins, there’s going to be a lot of unrest. I think at this point, no matter who wins, people are going to say that the election was rigged. I think that there’s going to be a lot of angry people. And I’m worried. This country is a powder keg with a high potential to blow.
I don’t know. I just don’t think there’s going to be any winners this time around. I think there’s a lot of us that are trying to play the long game and figure out, no matter who wins, what we’re going to do in four years. And we’re also trying to figure out how bad things might get in the interim.
At the end of the day, I’m worried.