Friday, April 06, 2012

Rest In Peace, Eisenhower

I was raised in a politically conservative Christian family in the heart of the Deep South (i.e. Louisiana, USA). I grew up with an adoration for Dwight David Eisenhower that would put any ten year old girl's Justin Bieber obsession to shame. I was too young to be a part of a political party, but Eisenhower was a Republican and I loved Eisenhower, so my assumption was that the Republican party couldn't be all that bad.

I'm just old enough to remember life under the Reagan administration and the beginning of the HIV epidemic. I thought that Reagan was a rat of epic proportions, but I still figured that he was an anomaly and that he didn't represent a strategy that the entire Republican party would soon adopt en masse.

I continued to call myself a conservative all the way until the middle of George W. Bush's first term. At that point, I gave up. It was apparent that Republicans had co-opted the term and made it synonymous with intellectual incuriosity and having an utter disregard for the lives of everyone who wasn't a rich, white American man. I had no desire to be associated with that, even though I knew what the term "conservative" had referred to originally.

I know there are a handful of Republican intellectuals who are still hopeful that the party can return to what it used to represent, but I think they are battling for a war that has already been lost.


Rootietoot said...

I would be one of those hopefuls. Only, now I don't like calling myself Republican, because I'd get called a Fundamentalist, being a Christian housewife and all. I don't know what to call myself anymore, so I don't.

bint alshamsa said...

As I've aged, I've tried to become less dismissive. People have many, many reasons for why they choose to identify with a group. That's true regardless of whether that group is based on politics, shared heritage, sexual orientation, et cetera.

Rootietoot, when I think of you, I see you as a Christian more than anything else. You are the kind that I would like to be. If a person has your compassion and humor and wits, then I just want to have them in my life, because of who they are, not what they call themselves.

It's sad that "Republican" is synonymous with "fundamentalist" in many people's minds. If the party went back to what I see as its golden age, I could imagine myself being a part of it.

I'm an independent. I don't like the Democratic party enough to join it. I don't think I'll ever join a party, unless Jesus comes back and runs for office. If that happens, I'm going to join whatever party he starts. ;)

Rootietoot said...

Someday I'm getting to your bit of Louisiana, and taking you to tea. I have started calling myself an Independent, and that has been liberating. If only there were some way to Build-A-Candidate with the qualities I'd like...I'm with you on Jesus running for office.

bint alshamsa said...

Having a nice afternoon tea with you sounds lovely! I hope that one day we can make it happen.

Lindsay said...

I was born much later, about halfway through Reagan's presidency, but I think I would've liked Ike. Reading about him, he seems like he was a really decent, thoughtful, smart guy.