Saturday, April 10, 2010

Discussing politics with my son

I once wrote that I don't like to discuss politics with my kids. I didn't want my kids to know my political stance because I believed it was important to grow up and learn and think for yourself and make an educated decision based on the information presented before you.

However, in light of the fact the progressives are making a war charge to inculcate their values in my kid's heads, I've decided I have no choice. Also, in light of the fact my kid is a heck of a lot smarter at 10 than I was at 30, opportunities have opened up for discussion. I've decided it's better to just be honest than to be humble.

It actually started the last election cycle when I gave in and decided to put up a McCain sign in my yard. Sure, I didn't want my son to know my political views, but he's smart. He said, "So, dad, I think I'm going to vote for McCain too."

"So, you like McCain, hey!"

"Well, not really," he said. "I was going to vote for him though. Most of the rest of the class is voting for Obama. There's something about Obama I don't like."

That impressed me. However, for some reason, I had a feeling he was voting for McCain because of me. Perhaps he heard his mom and I talking. However, if he did, he would have learned that I didn't like McCain. The only reason I was voting for him was because I absolutely hated Obama. I'd rather have a progressive republican than an all out socialist democrat.

When I was 10 I remember sitting at my desk in class looking at a pamphlet with all the democrat and republican candidates. I decided I wanted to vote for Reagan. My reason: he was the oldest and wisest.

I stuck by Reagan and fell in love with the guy. I debated my friends that Reagan was the best candidate. Then, in class, Reagan won. In my 5th grade class, Reagan was the president even before he won in a real landslide in 1980.

So, while I had no clue where my dad stood politically, my mom was a democrat. She wanted to vote for Carter. I don't know why mom was a democrat. I don't think she did either, other than her parents and siblings were democrats. I have no clue who dad voted for, although I bet he voted for Reagan.

Dad dropped hints from time to time. When an opportunity presented itself, he would pounce with a one liner. One day I was watching the CBS evening news with dad, and Clinton was president. Dan Rather reported that Bill Clinton has signed into law a tax increase, then he followed this with a report about how the economy was doing well.

Dad said, "A lot of people say they don't like Clinton, but he hasn't done anything to get in the way of businesses, which has allowed the economy to become as good as it is. I think I'm going to sell my business while the economy is good, because I think that tax hike might be a sign of bad things to come."

He never expounded, yet since he was pithy I remembered that statement almost word per word. I rolled it around in my head. I smelled it. I drank it. I bought books and read them so I could more fully understand what dad was talking about. That's how I was. I believe that's how he was.

Whatever the big issue of the time, even back in elementary school I wanted to understand it. Although back then it wasn't easy to get accurate information. You could ask an adult, but you'd get the bias. You could turn on TV, but you'd get the one sided news. You could open a newspaper, yet you'd get only the liberal view.

That's a problem that plagued me when I was in college debating politics with my friends. I remember saying, "I know I'm right, yet I have no way to prove it."

My friends would say, "We know we are right because it's right there in the newspaper."

Debate over. I had no resources to prove I was right. And then along came Rush Limbaugh. Then along came Fox News. Then along came the Internet. Now we all have plenty of resources. There's no reason to be ignorant about any issue.

Eventually, as I continued reading as much as I could, I realized that I'm more than just a republican, I'm a Constitution loving, god fearing, conservative. One day, when I was about 24 or so, I spent some time with my mom discussing what I learned, and she's been a good conservative ever since.

Yet some of us continue to be ignorant. When I say ignorant I'm not referring to the well educated democrats and liberals and socialists. If you studied and made an educated decision to support those views, that's fine by me. Unlike many progressives, I don't hate and want to get rid of people who have other views. What irritates me is when people have no clue why they support the views they do, or why they vote the way they do.

Yet many of us are that way. I said to my neighbor the other day, "So, what do you think of the health care reform?" He said, "I don't really have an opinion. I don't really like to keep up on things that don't really have an impact on me."

Of course then you watch the Jay Leno show and listen as he interviews people on the streets to prove how stupid people are. "Hey, who's the president," Leno will ask. "I don't know," the stupid person will answer.

I pray my kids don't become that stupid. I want my kids to care. I want my kids to think. I also don't want my kids just to repeat what their teacher said. I want them to drink it, eat it, smell it, and to swallow it only if it is a reasonable statement.

What I'm referring to here is progressivism. I don't want my kids to believe in global warming just because a teacher tries to inculcate the fact global warming is real. Is it? What are the facts? What are the statistics? What do other people say about this? Oh, it's the same as what you say. Still, does that make global warming real?

"Well, McCain and Al Gore and the Principal and the newspaper and CBS News and the New York Times all believe in global warming, so it's therefore fact," the teacher will say. "It's our responsibility to slow global warming. It's a crisis!"

I want my kids to think the way my dad wanted me to think. I don't want my kids to believe people when they say that world peace is possible, or that poverty will some day be ended, or that the constitution is antiquated and needs to be changed, so it's okay to make laws that heed no attention to it. It's okay for the government to force people to make sacrifices for the good of the state. It's okay to change the "rule of men" to the "rule of man." It's okay that I call myself a progressive because I didn't teach you the true meaning of the word "progressive."

I want them to think, drink and smell those words first. Knowing my kids are thinkers, I'll feel much better when they hear this stuff. It'll be okay because my kids will know. And, then, while knowing, if they still want to believe what the teacher says, then that's fine by me. At least he made a well informed decision.

And that's why I decided I have to take the same approach as my dad and not keep my politics to myself. I have decided it's okay to put up signs. It's okay to read "Liberal Fascism" in front of my kids. It's okay to yell at the TV when Matt Lauer says, "This is the worst recession since the Great Depression." I can yell, "That's a lie. It's not the worst recession since the 1930s, it's the worst since the 1980s."

I can do that because I don't have an agenda like Matt does. I can also do it because I have read a lot of history books, enough anyway to know what the real history is, and not just what the progressives want us to know.

I won't expound as my son looks at me. I won't defend myself as my wife says, "You're an idiot!" I won't. Although the seeds have been planted. After he drinks, eats, and smells those words, perhaps he'll make the right decision. If not, I can live with that too, so long as he made a well educated decision.

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