Saturday, February 20, 2016

Outed as a liberal

"I tried to be a liberal, and it worked for a while - that is, until I started to think."

Earlier last week, I started thinking about this path I have been on to political awareness. Since then, I have been told some of my views are "too moderate". I have also been told many of my views are way over the top "too conservative". In fact, one of my classmates from high school (who is a social media friend), once told me my postings were "too loud". So I have been pegged all over the map. But very few people know I once was a liberal.

My days as a liberal thinker did not last too long. It started in the summer of 1972 when George McGovern was the Democratic candidate for President. I was still in the Navy, stationed at a remote site off the northern coast of Maine. One of my shipmates in Maine was originally from Delaware. He was excited about the upcoming election. In his state, there was a young pup named Joe Biden who was running for Senate. My shipmate also liked this prairie populist from South Dakota named George McGovern, who was running for President of these United States.

In any event, "Harry" (my shipmate's name) talked me into wearing a McGovern for President button while off duty. It was kind of cool, kind of trendy. It was going to be the first election I could vote in. This McGovern guy was going to really "shake things up" in the country. Heck, the war was about done, and McGovern's idea to cut the military by a third seemed to make sense. So I settled with the idea that in November 1972, when I was 22 years old, I would cast my first vote for George McGovern.

Then something terrible happened. I started paying attention. I started listening to what Richard Nixon and George McGovern were saying. About all the issues I found important. The closer I listened, the less what George McGovern said made sense. If fact, much of it made no sense at all. On the other hand, much of what Dick Nixon said did make sense. And even though I did not really care for President Nixon, the McGovern train was starting to leave the tracks. I simply could not vote for the man.

Right before the election, Harry noticed I was not longer wearing the McGovern button he gave me. When questioned, I lied and told him I had lost it.

Come November election time, I voted absentee. And I voted for Nixon. When the results came in, it was a bad day for George McGovern. The next day, I found Harry sitting at the bar in the service club. He looked like his dog has just been run over. I sat down next to him and listened for 10 minutes about how unfair this election had been. How the country was now going to hell in a hand basket. And that is when I told him I voted for Nixon - I just couldn't vote for McGovern. From that day forward, Harry never talked to me again.

So the Bird did spend some time on the other side of the street. I don't believe I could ever go back there unless the thinking and platforms change. In any event, I am what I am. I tried to be a liberal and it worked for a while - that is, until I started to think.


  1. I dabbled in progressivism for a spell when I was in college..until I started questioning the professors...they taught me a little too well with regard to critical thinking.

  2. I didn't have the liberal buddy, I didn't talk politics with the guys in my Army unit, but like you, I voted my first time in 1972 for Nixon. And while I maintained a nominal allegiance to the DFL until the mid 80's I never could stomach the Democrat nominees for President and the only time I didn't vote Republican in the Presidential election was 1976 when I voted Libertarian. At any rate, once I sobered up there was no turning back and about 1990 I ended up actually in the Republican Party. Unfortunately the early childhood indoctrination was such that I was two years in the leadership of my BPOU before I could actually say that I was a Republican.