Everyone's Got a Story

Everyone's got a story.

How he or she became a Democrat.  What transpired in their lives to attract them to their political beliefs.  Who inspired them to think beyond their microcosm and view the larger world.

Those stories are easy to forget when sniping or snarking on a website.  Obviously, there are sock puppets, and right-leaning folks here to cause trouble, and bored people who want to see if they can get other folks' blood boiling.  It can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff...

One thing the chaff won't do, though, for the most part, is tell their story.

I'm 36, almost 37.  I am a gay man who grew up in the suburbs in a Fundamentalist Christian home.  In the 1980s, that meant that the trinity of Reagan, Falwell, and Robertson was held only slightly below Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

We moved my sophomore year of high school, in the spring.  I hadn't made many friends in my new town, so when I would come home from school, I would watch the Iran-Contra hearings on television, and one by one, all of these 'patriots' shredded themselves.  

I was already questioning my faith as I tried to reconcile my religious upbringing with my sexual orientation.  Now my political beliefs were being called into question, too.

My senior year in high school, one my best female friends had an illegal abortion.  She wouldn't tell her parents she was pregnant, and the extra-parental support structure just wasn't there.  She ended up having serious medical consequences as a result.  The operation that fixed the damage from the hack job left her sterile at seventeen.

From there, a little leftie was born.

Obviously, that was half a lifetime ago (at this point).  Many things happened in the interim.  Life experiences have tested and tempered my belief structures over and over.  I'm much more pragmatic now than I was at 18, and probably more willing to try to see problems from multiple angles (hell, that's what I do for a living).  I've gone from being a college dropout who was about an hour away from being homeless at nineteen to a CPA with a master's degree working towards admission to a Ph.D program.

What's the point of all this?

Just that is extremely easy to snipe on the internet, where anonymity rules uber alles.  True community building takes time and effort, and is almost impossible without developing some sort of sense of the whole person.  There are plenty of snipers and trolls here right now, and it is far too easy to let them control the discourse in any online forum.

The best way to fight them off, in my experience, is tell your stories, find people you can connect with on top of the political (or whatever the purpose of the forum is) commonalities, and use that collective power to drive the narrative, and reinforce the sense of community.

We're all Democrats here, those of us here honestly.  Or least, we're here to elect Democrats and/or further progressive causes.  

What's your story?

Tags: Electing Democrats, meta (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Re: Everyone's Got a Story

I come from a family of democrats - my dad was a FDR man and my mom a JKF woman.

I really became hard-core into politics quite young - I was 16 years old when Reagan came into office and his positions made me froth at the mouth.

I spent the 1980's and early 1990's (before BC) on the attack.  I kinda rested during the 1990's, which was a mistake, as the republicans were attacking BC and then Gore.

I became hard-core again during the 2000 elections and haven't stopped.

by colebiancardi 2008-07-04 12:15PM | 0 recs
I voted for GWB

My parents are very republican.  In 2000 I was 18, and having listened to my parents for 18 years, it was obvious that Bush was good and Gore was bad.

I started paying attention to politics on September 12, 2001.  I was appalled when the tragedy was politicized and by whom.  I was in college and had free internet and so I found the blogosphere.  I quickly found the alternative view points of the liberals and realized I agreed.

It was a only a matter of time before I was a super anti-war leftie.  I voted for Dean and held my nose for Kerry.  I am actively campaigning for Obama.

I am working on my parents for November.  My dad was easy as he is disgusted by the Bush administration.  My mom is a harder sell as she has bought the Rove fear campaign hook, line, and sinker.  But I call them once a week and do what I can.

by CAchemist 2008-07-04 12:47PM | 0 recs
My story is typical...

My parents we're Democrats. When I registered to vote at 18, I became a Democrat, that's what my parents wanted me to do. Being a Democrat in my family is kind of like religion, you're raised to believe, no questions asked. Anyway, I didn't really appreciate Democratic ideology until the Clinton years. Those we're really happy times for me.

by soyousay 2008-07-04 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Everyone's Got a Story

My parents and grandparents were Republicans.  Old style Republicans, who believed that this country should give everyone an equal chance, regardless of class or color.

So it was Nixon and Reagan who made me a Democrat- the Southern Strategy, the courting of racists, the corruption and evil or Nixon, and my developing consciousness that I was a feminist.

LBJ's courage in signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a big moment for me too.

Reagan was the very, very last straw.

by LIsoundview 2008-07-04 02:27PM | 0 recs

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