I was recently called a wacko. Nothing could be truer and if the person who so named me, had known me well, I would have laughed in agreement. But he knows nothing but a smidgen of my politics, and his opprobrium was limited to that fact alone. To that sir, I take umbrage!
I have heard, and it seems to be folk wisdom, that one becomes more conservative with age. I guess it stems from an accumulation of anecdotal observances of friends and family as they age.
It may well be true.
I know it was nearly true of me.
At one point in my life, I found my life in a place that was not pleasing. I was living in an urban setting in a city known for violence. I was tired of house break-ins, and all the petty crime that life entailed. I was tired of my job, tired of the people I worked with and we were embroiled in a fight within our organization over wages and rights.
And I found myself slipping into conservative mode. I wanted out, and that required savings, and anything that impinged on my ability to save money was something I was against.
Life got better. And it continued to be so.
I realized something as life got sweeter. My normal liberalism was returning. My life is great today. And my liberalism is flaming, in fact I’m not sure I’m not sliding well into anarchism. (please do look that up before you report me to the FBI–I’m a Chomsky type anarachist and I’m just beginning that journey of discovery, so don’t hold me to it. Being the eclectic I am, I am always trying to learn something new. I almost became a nun for goodness sake!)
Which suggests that something more is at work here.
I’ve become involved in some discussions with old school mates as of late. The discussions have often involved issues of the day. And I find a very curious thing. Perhaps I’m reading the tea leaves wrong, but well, judge for yourself.
I view the Tea Party as a loose amalgamation of disparate spirits. There are your fiscal deficit hawks. There are your, don’t tax me (but do fix the pot holes). There are the “it smacks of socialism/fascism/communism” to me even though I can’t actually tell you which is which, but I don’t like it. There are your basic racists and any anti-Democratic group sounds good to me given that THAT guy is in the White House types. There are your basic survivalists who just hate government, but are also itching to shoot it up. There are your religionists/fundamentalists who think the US of A ought to be based on the bible as they interpret it, along with all their ideas of social living arrangements made mandatory by God, speaking through them. There are probably more.
It makes for a messy group.
But in discussions, I find that those who are most impossible to engage in anything other than sound bites direct from Breitbots, Daily Caller, Blaze, WND, and the ever reliable bellicose grifters, Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, and so on, are people who over time, you perceive to be just really really unhappy individuals. They have fallen into their conservationism as a defense to their miserable lives.
I paint this portrait with the proviso that not all need apply, but as they say, if you find yourself answering yes to three or more, you may have a problem that is leading you to be a Conservative:
- You are divorced or separated, and you feel that you are not at fault, having spent your life working to provide for your spouse who is an ungrateful _________.
- You have no education past high school, or if you do, it was toward a trade or low-level technical job.
- You are self-employed and have no more than six people who work for you.
- You have long given up an dreams of opening a second shop, franchising your business, or crossing that threshold to being a “businessman”. In other words, you still are working along with your employees.
- You work long hours, and while you make a decent living, you still can’t afford all the things you dreamed of having at this point.
- Every dime you pay in taxes becomes a dime that keeps you that must further away from “retirement”, and a chance to finally enjoy life. Emphasis on finally because you don’t expect to enjoy life until you have “made it”.
- You have few hobbies or enjoyable down time, because you “don’t have time” or can’t afford it.
- Life has definitely not turned out the way you expected it to, and you are close or at retirement age.
- You increasingly see that most people don’t work as hard as you do, yet they “get stuff” for free because they are a minority, a woman, an undocumented worker (illegal).
- You know that if the government didn’t take your money, you could have been wealthy like all the rich people you so admire. You’ve read all their books, and you know you are just like them.
What this all leads to is extreme anger. It’s not my fault I’m not living the life I deserve. It’s __________ fault. It’s got to be somebody’s fault you see. I just has to be. For it cannot be mine. I work too hard for it to be mine.
Of course, it begs the question that you have perhaps listened to the wrong people. I could explain that you are believing exactly what the corporate masters desire you to believe. You are blaming who they wish you to blame. You are mired in self-pity, because it is not your fault. And it truly isn’t your fault. You simply based your beliefs on those whose interest it is to keep your striving in place, and misdirecting your anger away from them.
So I think of it as a badge of honor to be a liberal at my age. I have successfully avoided the pitfalls of self-interest in the name of what I call being human. I see the human experience as one of striving to be more human, and that means being more open and giving and sharing with the lives that surround me. There is nothing so very noble about it. It’s a constant struggle to pull away from purely selfish interest to include “the other”. I don’t always win that battle, but the struggle enhances my ability to win more than I lose. And as a citizen of planet of earth, I find that a positive step forward.
Evolution is about change over time. Try to be mindfully engaged in that process. I think God likes that. But that’s me, the wacko speaking.