Demographics can really help us understand folks — even if it is only a temporary beginning. (see my Share Thyself chart)
My father was a generic industrialist Republican American: he owned a small plastics factory with 20-30 some employees and fought to keep unions out. Indeed a union would have destroyed his small business — a business I was being trained to run.
I worked in my father’s factory from a very young age doing every job imaginable — I was the eldest son and was being groomed to take over the business. But my father and I fought often, I argued that the work was unsafe for the employees and that the company’s environmental practices were questionable. That said, I still feel a union would have destroyed us.
When arguing with my father that perhaps employees should be able to wear air filters to keep particles out of their lungs, my father said, “We all have to die sometime.” When I told him I thought dumping 55-gallon leaky barrels full of lead paste pigments, ketone and more into land fills were not good for the environment, he told me, “Look, if it was bad, they wouldn’t let us do it.” Nowadays, thanx to unions, all those things are illegal.
My dad hated government regulations but supported any thing his government did overseas — well, unless a Democratic president did it.
My mother was an elementary school teacher and a democrat — having none of the bigotry of my father. But she was also a “scab” — walking picket-lines believing that union strikes only hurt the students. So anti-union thinking filled my mind, but I wondered how to protect workers and our environment.
My parents never discussed politics and the only instruction I heard on it was listening to my father curse at the TV sometimes. Politics, like sex and religion, were considered impolite conversation at our house.
I was a Boy Scout who became an Eagle Scout, earned the “God and Country” award, had two silver palms and was eventually the Troop Leader. All to say, I was a proper, do-what-you’re-suppose-to kid.
During my senior year in High School, after a year of stiff competition, I was appointed to the United States Air Force Academy. My father was incredibly proud, but the Vietnam War took its toll on my inherited conservative views. My don’t-question mind evaporated and I became very anti-USA. I still remember the car ride where I told my father I was turning down my appointment to the Air Force Academy and with it my dreams of becoming an astronaut. I decided not to go to college and was ready to start protesting the Vietnam war. My father was shocked. But due to my academic record, Cornell University asked me to apply and my father begged me to go. So off to college, but just before going, I converted to Christianity after finding my childhood friend dead (see here).
OK, that is enough for this post. More politics to come.