Many of us go through life thinking one thing about ourselves only to have those thoughts turn into myths. Here are two of my own.
Myth 1: I’m A Conservative
During the decade of my thirties, I was a confirmed conservative. I believed I was a conservative through and through, both politically and socially.
I voted for Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes. I never considered voting for London Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern or Bill Clinton.
In my twenties I became chairman of Students for Governor George Romney for President.
But, I had these inexplicable slips:
– For example, I became awestruck with liberal Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy in 1968. He was the closest thing we’ve ever had to a socialist running for president. His poetry appealed to me.
– Also, I was openly critical of the Vietnam War.
– Ezra Taft Benson’s talks as an apostle were painful. My mind felt like a wood chipper when he talked about communists and civil rights marches.
Evidently, I never was a tightly woven conservative. I thought I was, but the facts betray the truth.
Myth 2: I’m A Liberal
Once my children were out on their own, and we moved from Southern California to Chile and finally landed in Salt Lake City, I gradually became more liberal socially and politically.
The first time I ever voted for a democrat was in 2012. I was excited about voting for Barack Obama.
He has not disappointed. He’s African American, that’s important to me. He’s ended two wars. He has presided over an extraordinary economic recovery. Gay marriage has passed every legal test thrown at it. Cuba is open. We’re oil barons once again. Affordable health care has passed.
I’ve become increasingly more and more liberal. I tout my liberal credential now.
But, odd things pop up as if from the deepest recesses of my sub-conscious:
– For example, I like being a liberal until I get around liberals. It’s like talking to hard core conservatives. There is no flexibility: they’re ideologues. Neither group possesses a person with a sense of humor. It’s like they think they are revolutionaries.
– I have mixed feelings about the war in Iraq. Even though there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq justifying an invasion by America in 2003, I think it was strategically correct to be there. We took the war to the terrorists on their land instead of our land. This is a neoconservative attitude if I’ve ever seen one. I repress these feelings, but . . . just sayin.
What’s It All About
I have always entertained the idea of entering politics. When I have acted on that, I have eventually worn down and dropped out. I’ve concluded that the main reason for this has been the duality at work in my thinking. Evidently, I’m both conservative and liberal. I believe strongly in the value of the political party system, but I don’t stay loyal to either because of my consistent tendency to hold two opposing views simultaneously.
I’m inherently suspicious when there is unity politically on any given issue In America. For example, I became suspicious when there was too much unity and support for the Vietnam War, then I became super suspicious when there was too much opposition to it.
I think at the very core of my mind I’m most comfortable when democracy is loud and debate is rampant. For example, I was happy when there was heavy debate with the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). I was in favor of the bill, but believed the bill became stronger as it passed through every test put up against it. I believe that anything good has to pass through a lot of opposition to make it more durable or long lasting. A good example of that is the Social Security Act of 1935.
So, my new myth about myself is: I occupy conservative and liberal leanings simultaneously. I can be counted on to express what I alone am thinking. But, I cannot be counted on to consistently mirror anyone else’s personal opinion on what is true, no matter how fervently they believe it, thank goodness.