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Personal Political History

I’ve touched on this before, but feel some need to expand on it.

Both my parent were/are conservative, though my Dad is more of an independent. They weren’t particularly vocal about it or anything. I remember their disappointment when Carter was elected, but I wouldn’t say I was raised in a particularly political household. I didn’t really think about politics much growing up that I can remember. Meta-politically, I was unnerved by industrial development and war and poverty, etc., but didn’t really correlate solutions with political parties or ideologies. I do remember watching portions of the Iran Contra hearings and being disillusioned, but still am pretty sure I voted for Bush in ’88 (my first election!).

Toward the end of my high school career, I started getting into the hippie culture, and got further into it throughout the first two of my college years. I was convinced the hippies would complete what they had started in the 60s, that it was a matter of time before my parents and everyone else “got” the hippie thing. I read Be Here Now while on acid and thought I was enlightened.

The Gulf War broke out in ’90 and I was devastated and not alone. A guy called Phoenix set up a tent in Dunn Meadow and soon a round the clock vigil/protest was born. School (which my parents were paying for) took a back seat to the cause. Regardless of any recklessness with my parents’ investment, I’m still glad I stood up for what I believed in. We sang “Give Peace a Chance” so much I wanted to puke, but at the same time, that idea was so core to my perspective. A group of conservatives came down one night*, and we were terrified. I don’t remember much else, as I was stoned most of the time. After heated exchanges, I think we honestly held hands and sang “Give Peace a Chance” until they went away. I think there may have actually been some act of aggression on their part, but it’s all fuzzy.

Socialism and anti-capitalist rhetoric was not the order of the day, really. The war was considered imperialistic and profit-driven, but I don’t remember a lot of a further indictment of capitalism itself. There was a quirky song called, “You Ain’t Been Doing Nothing If You Ain’t Been Called a Red”, but I still consider that a parody of McCarthyism, rather than an ideological call to arms. There were two individuals who were considered “The Socialists”. I had no opinion of socialism at the time, but intuitively considered them the dark side of the peace movement. It was a professor and a student (his protogee?) and they, in retrospect, were truly at the vanguard wearing keffiyehs in 1990.

Somehow the camp out on campus evolved into a storefront on 3rd street called the Peace and Justice Center. It was an interesting experiment in idealism meeting reality and, looking back, a preview of what happens when a group of disparate radicals with pet causes try to find a common front. I was quite involved and bewildered that more weren’t getting in on the ground floor of the (non-violent) revolution.

In the midst of this, I started to lose faith in hippie-dom. I was always pretty musically open-minded and a friend of mine had lent me N.W.A.’s Straight Out of Compton after he heard I liked Public Enemy. I was drawn by the rawness of it and began to feel the hippie movement was not radical enough. At the same time, I started hanging out with anarchists and reading Goldman, Bakunin, Anarchy magazine, etc. Between these, the peace movement started to seem too benign. A favorite poster I wheat pasted at the time compared holding hands for peace to lambs being led to the slaughter.

I dropped out of college after my junior year. I drifted away from anarchist theory, but didn’t cling to another. I listened to Too $hort, Naughty By Nature, Ice T, Geto Boys. I listened to the Clash, Dead Kennedys, and the Misfits. I listened to Nirvana and Alice in Chains (Sound Garden, not so much). I listened to Slayer, Biohazard, and Sick of It All. I listened to Brown Betty and Tangleweed. I worked in restaurant kitchens and, to paraphrase The Clash, hit the town and drank my wages. Any specific policy critiques were subsumed by a general disapproval of “The System”. I’m currently not even sure what that means, but it certainly didn’t include any solutions.

As time went on, I let some pop music back in my life and swung back from my nearly complete nihilism to embrace local and organic food. I guess we’re into the Clinton years now and I didn’t really pay much attention to politics. They’d backed down on the war on drugs some, so what was a little Bosnian crisis? Honestly, both parties sucked (it was the “system”) and I was frustrated as hell, looking for a revolution and getting wasted.

In 2000, I voted for Nader. I didn’t know much and pretty much just voted for the pseudo-viable 3rd party candidate. Bush won.

9-11. Devastating. But I considered it pure blow back.

2004; Voted for Kerry (against Bush). Bush won.

Bush/Cheney/Rove were teh evil. I felt a lot more strongly about this before Obama extended the Patriot Act, etc.

Early 2008: Started watching Daily/Colbert, which was the closest thing I’d done to paying attention to news in years.

2008: Voted for Obama. I’m not one of those who had no idea what he was about. I thought universal health care was a good idea. I’d argued with my parents how the increased size of the pot would help everyone. Similar on other issues.

Feb-Mar. 2009: I think it started with his backtracking on FISA. I was hesitant to vote for Obama in the first place, as I didn’t think he was radical enough, but I was also concerned about his honesty and follow-through, so when I saw him back-pedalling on FISA, I sought out what the “other side” was saying about Obama. I didn’t go to Rush or Fox, I went to 4chan/b/ and someone provided a link to the Alex Jones film “The Obama Deception”.

If you are not familiar with Alex Jones, I generally consider him a nutjob. That said, there were valid accusations among the conspiracy theories. I also must give him credit that in the midst of false flags, psy ops, chem trails, etc., he brings up The Constitution a lot.

This got me to read the constitution and think about the founding of this country and limited government.

Started listening to Mark Levin and (God forbid) Rush. Coulter is hilarious.

i can haz rule of law?

* Among those conservatives was a guy named Matt Foreman, someone I had played with as a child, but I guess we grew apart. He died several years later diving in a nearby quarry. Kind of strange this was the last time I saw him.

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