Mid-day Treeper Question?

Curiosity – Whatever your ideology or political beliefs are, when did you recognize them?  How old where you when you realized you had a set of beliefs that more closely aligned with one political viewpoint or ideology?   Was there a specific incident, or occurence, that led you to have some kind of “ah-ha” moment?    What was it that helped you, or made you recognize, what you believe in?

I’ll start

My personal “ah-ha” moment came while driving a car.   In 1989 I was driving home from work during the  Tiananmen Square uprising in China, and I was listening to an AM radio talk show.   Prior to that moment if you asked me what my political ideological leanings were I would have said “Republican lite”.  Meaning I was a firm supporter of free enterprise, and market based solutions, but I was not too concerned with the social aspects of people’s behavior.   I had kind of a live and let live approach, and while I most certainly did judge morality from my own belief system, I really was not interested in discussing social issues.   Door better kept closed was my logic I guess.

However, after watching the CBS broadcast the previous night, and feeling a sense of compassion for the student protestors in Tiananmen Square, I went to sleep feeling really troubled having witnessed such a horrible display for people lacking simple freedom.  Perhaps some of you will remember that the media feed was cut off after a few days because the Chi-Coms were fixing to go all out military on those kids/students (some were not young at all).   Their stories were being smuggled out in taped videos via fed-x and all other manner of story telling dissemination that could be used.

Anyhow, after much reflection and some moderate water cooler conversation with friends and such, I found myself stuck in traffic listening intently to a call-in radio talk show where they were discussing the events and eye witness reports.   I really felt a sickening sense of horror wondering if those college students were just gonna be shot, buried, and hidden from the world view with no-one ever knowing what happened.    I really feared it was going to be the case.   The students had tasted some western-style freedoms by 1989, and I think that was the real driver for their call to reform.   Back to the radio show….

The host of the program was talking about the Chi-Com government taking a hard-line approach, and the extreme right-wing military was going to crush the uprising.   Then the discussion turned to focus on  freedom.   Throughout the next hour I listened to them talk about the crackdown being a shift to the right on the political scale and all of a sudden a lightbulb went off in my head and I said to myself ‘wait a minute’.    A crackdown intended to diminish freedom is not a move to the RIGHT, it is a move to the LEFT.  The hard left.  Communism and totalitarian regime centralized government in control of life options is not on the right side of the freedom continuum, it is on the left side.   The far right side is blatant anarchy with no government at all.  Think Viking plunder and loot.  That’s the far right.   Anarchy and complete lawlessness is an extreme version of freedom, bastardized by survival of the fittest.

So after I arrived home I turned on the stereo and tuned in the station again to continue listening.   The callers and narrator were all very insightful and all very eloquent, but they all kept making the same mistake.   They were calling it a shift to the right.   So I called the station at the next break and was able to connect to the host, who wanted me to continue “on-air” but yikes, no way.  I was/is too bashful for that, and thought I might screw up my conversation thoughts, so I just said no, quickly made my case and pointed out my position that the crackdown was a shift to the far left.   Then hung up, and listened to the show again while nuking dinner.

To my surprise the host began his next segment with the correction that the prior 2 hours had erroneously scripted the Chinese hard-line move as shift to the right, and he laid out my points about it actually being a shift to the far left.    I was pretty proud of myself I must admit.   But what really got me interested was the conversation that followed from the other listeners/callers.   Like me, they were having simultaneous ‘ah-ha’ moments of recognition, and talking about why their pre-scripted educational talking points had sold them on the rightward shift.   The professional Politicos, the educational elites, and many -if not all- professors were selling the wrong script narrative.   A few teachers even called in to the show and said they had just realized they too had made the same mistake.

From that day forward I recognized that it is always prudent to pause, consider, and re-evaluate your gut instinctual beliefs when considering political ideologies against actual events.    Also, I kind of found my inner voice that said “speak up”, and so from that day forward I openly would engage in discussions about freedom and constitutional principles.   I began to read everything I could about the constitution, and foundational politics, framework and beliefs, it became a hobby.

I’m learning and I still haven’t figured out everything, I know I never will.   I certainly don’t have all the answers, and only find myself with more questions.   And I enjoy learning all about governmental influences.

So that’s me.   What about you?

*Footnote, I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to introduce you to a special lady of historical significance.   There was a massacre that eventually happened in Bejing and outside the proximity of Tiananmen Square China.  The student-led protest which ended in violent military action against the protesters lasted 7 weeks.   Within those weeks the life of Ms. Chaohua Wang was changed forever.   Marshall law was declared on May 20th – For 10 days, the 36-year-old graduate student in literature refused to leave Tiananmen Square in Beijing except for brief negotiations with top government officials and an overnight stay at a hospital after she collapsed from hunger.   In the aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown, she became one of only two women on China’s list of 21 most wanted student leaders who defiantly stood up against the military might of their government and survived the ensuing massacre.

Tiananmen Square captured the worlds attention for a month and a half.    Many articles written about the Tiananmen Square protests and subsequent massacre refer to Chinese military shooting and killing the demonstrators.      While generally overlooked I recall the reason the demonstrations continued for over a month was because regular Chinese troops would not shoot at Chinese citizens who were peacefully demonstrating.   The Chinese government finally made a decision on June 4th to remove the protestors and called in “Mongolian” troops (they did not speak Mandarin Chinese) and they had no qualms about obeying orders to shoot the demonstrators if needed.

Following that horrific violence, the U.S. military surveyed our own troops to determine if they would obey orders to shoot American citizens.  Almost all said they would most likely
refuse – with the statistically quantifiable exception of those from Hispanic or Latino backgrounds and ethnicities.    Subsequently, many people began to claim they saw a shift in recruiting ads for the Marines and Army away from english language programing – and an increase in the same ads on Spanish Language networks and print media.  I hold no opinion on the matter.

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20 Responses to Mid-day Treeper Question?

  1. G8rMom7 says:

    This is a really idea for a post. After some thought, I think I can try and explain where my political belief system came from. Overall, it started with “indoctrination” from my schools. No seriously. When I was in middle school (I think) and on up to high school, I had to read books like Animal Farm, Brave New World, and 1984. The cold war was still going on and we were constantly being fed propaganda about the evils of communism. We were terrified of the Russians….just watch War Games with Matthew Broderick sometime.

    When Reagan came into office I was 15. I really didn’t have that much interest in politics, but I did like the fact that our President was a BIGTIME Commie hater and he promised to end the cold war (or at least that’s what I thought). But still, overall I never thought much of politicians (still don’t really). I always thought they were just crooks and liars that couldn’t find work anywhere else to legally hone their skills of thieving and lying to gain power.

    I’ll also add at one time in my life when I was looking for work, someone set me up with an interview with a local congressman in our area who was looking for campaign workers. He was a member of the church we were going to at the time in Fort Meyers…Porter Goss. I remember when got up at our church one time to talk about the atrocities going on in Iraq (this was around the Gulf War time) and basically equated Hussein to Hitler. Anyway, in the interview I remember them asking me if I had followed politics and whether I really would like to be part of a campaign. Cut the above statement about my opinion about politicians…I faked it and acted somewhat interested, but I’m not one to pull off phoniness, so needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

    Skip to 2000…living in Florida, the recount and that election was a BIG topic here and I got into it all then. I did vote for Bush that year, but I think it was because of his promise to “reach across the isle” and such. I was still relatively middle-of-the-road back then. Also, being a Christian I did have some socially conservative views but even now, I think a lot of those ideas and opinions belong out of the political and government regulation arena. And Bush’s story seemed sort of appealing to me, because he seemed relatable as he had similar views to mine.

    Then in 2004 I fell into the camp of the woman still afraid of terrorist attack and though John Kerry was horrendous. I got in to some discussions with a girl in my office, who was a full-on liberal and thought Bush was evil, etc. But for the most part, still didn’t get into politics all that much and still didn’t think much of ANY politician and whether they could actually DO anything significant.

    Jump to 2008 when I first heard about Sarah Palin and that was all she wrote. Seeing a woman who seemed to be someone I would be friends with. We had similar lives although lived on opposite ends of the country. But what amazed me is how she just had such a heart to serve and did so without sacrificing her family.

    I was also brought up at the height of the woman’s movement. When I was really little I actually thought that by the time I was older, women would be able to play professional football and that is what I was gonna do. No seriously. But as I got older, got married, had kids I realized that all the high-powered business women I knew either didn’t have families or they had kids that were grown and out of the house. If I were going to chase the goal of “running Disney” someday (which I add, I have no interest in doing), my kids would never see me and they’d be raised by someone else. That was unacceptable.

    In comes Sarah, who had different circumstances than me in that she had a large family base to help with her kids, but who also while being a Governor would bring her kids in the office, take them on trips, etc. She really was juggling it all, and juggling it successfully.

    But more importantly, because of her and the internet, I started learning, reading and forming opinions that I didn’t know I had. You talked about left and right and I honestly like the rest of the drones in society saw Hitler as far right, and Stalin at far left and that was that. I had no idea the right was anarchy and the left was Statism…until about 2 years ago.

    No matter where Sarah goes or if she becomes Pres, I will always be grateful to her for waking my lazy butt up. We ALL need to play a part, or all that freedom that we’ve taken for granted for so long will just be gone, and we will never understand how it happened.

    my .02

  2. freedom1781 says:

    Okay, here comes a novella….
    My childhood
    I was raised in a Christian home with good parents who instilled in me and my sisters a strong work ethic and love for the military. No money handed to us, if we wanted anything, we had to work for it. I remember ironing clothes for 10 cents apiece, hand-washing dishes for a $1 a load, menial jobs like those. We were made to study hard, expected to make good grades. We went to church every Sunday.

    We never talked about politics with our parents. I would inquire from time to time, though. I knew my dad was a registered Republican and my mom a registered Democrat–she’s now a Republican. Mom met and voted for Carter because my grandpa knew him from farming. (My mom grew up not far from Plains, GA.) My dad never talked about who he voted for in any election; he’d always tell me that it was a private thing between him and his ballot.

    In my senior year in high school, I tutored government and economics to 9th graders. I thought it was pretty interesting. I did take a politics and current events class in my senior year, too. Of course, it was somewhat biased but I did not know it at the time. Unlike today’s teachers, my teacher was not a crazy, batsh!t liberal who’d force her opinions on us. She actually made us come up with our own conclusions, which, sadly, would not happen today’s classrooms. After high school, I lost interest in politics.

    The “a-ha moment”
    In the late 90s, I was preoccupied with life and had no idea which political party I identified with. After some thought and talking with a political savvy friend, I decided I was a very moderate Republican. (It wasn’t until my DD was born that I became a strong Conservative.) I still didn’t pay much attention to politics; I was going through a rocky time in my life once again.

    After 9-11, I stood by and watched in horror at the announcement from Bush that there was a new governmental department being created…Department of Homeland Security. I thought about it and the more I thought about it, I got angry. The Patriot Act pissed me off; I understood the “safety” premise behind it, but I still didn’t think it was right. I didn’t go all crazy and insane like all those mindless liberals, though; I just got a pit in my stomach and finally started to pay attention. I told my husband that if the wrong administration got into the White House, this could get downright scary and could be used against average, law-abiding Americans. My gut instinct was so right.

    It wasn’t until 2008 that I actually registered to vote and I’m almost 40! (I know, I know…it was really terrible to wait so long.) Obama scared the hell out of me. I kept telling myself that there was something not right about him and that if he got elected, America would not be the same and not in a good way.

    I had read about communism in high school and college. The more I read and heard about Obama, I knew he was an America-hating commie and a slick, smooth-talking one. While everyone was enamored by him, I saw right through him. Being in advertising and marketing, I caught a lot of the little subtle things…like him telling everyone that he needed secret service agents around him on the campaign trail because he was getting threats (that may have been true, but I think it was all for show), the official looking presidential seal, the “Hope and Change” slogan, his “presidential” image (can’t come up with a better description), etc. The whole thing smelled fishy and deliberate. Everyone at work–I’m surrounded by liberals–was so in love with Obama. I had to bite my tongue on many occasions; I kept my political opinions to myself because I don’t like confrontation as I have trouble verbally communicating my thoughts.

    I wasn’t too happy with McCain until Sarah Palin was announced as his running mate. I immediately bought buttons, yard signs and bumper stickers. I plastered those stickers on all my vehicles. I loved seeing the faces of my co-workers when they saw those stickers on my truck and car. (I still snicker about it.) I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to vote. I listened to Limbaugh and Hannity and started reading anything I could get my hands on to help me debate my co-workers, friends and family.

    I’m still learning and I argue..err, debate…a lot. I am just really nice about it at work. ;) My parents and I talk a lot about politics now. We just try not to bring politics up at the dinner table during the holidays. ;) It’s too touchy of a subject around the liberal sister and my BIL. :)

    • stellap says:

      I chuckled a little about your mom voting for Carter. I remember when he was elected (I was 29), and MY mom said, “We’ll have to just pray for him.”

      • freedom1781 says:

        My mom was raised Democrat so it was natural for her to pull the lever for him. I still like to tease her about that. Heck, I was actually bold enough a few years ago to tease my grandpa about his vote. Eh…he wasn’t too happy with me. :(

    • :D Thanks for sharing. Many people can relate to the same thing. :D

  3. la.fan21 says:

    When I was a kid and up until my sophomore year in college I identified and idealized myself as simply a patriot. Lover of America simply for the the sake of America and not necessarily for any particular set of ideals. Sure, I espoused freedom and democracy–but who doesn’t love sugar and puppies? A couple years ago, while studying urban planning and urban theory, I started to be cognizant of the tug of war between the two ideals we cherish the most. Diverging interpretations of freedom should be expected– our country was founded on a comprisie between different perspectives on the same ideals. The need to wholly entrench yourself in to one ‘camp’ or another seems to be the biggest illusion of all.

  4. GracieD says:

    Where to start? It is a very long story. In the early part of my life, my Dad was a Baptist Preacher, and my Mom was a Stay At Home Mom. She used to say she wished she could go to work, but we were too rowdy for a babysitter. :D I was around 7 or 8 years old when my mom went to work for the State of Louisiana, where she ended up being an Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Administration, which was Uncle Eddie’s right hand man Charles Roemer, Sr. My family also knew the Long family. I hung out with Uncle Russ when he was in town, since I loved all things political…this is Louisiana we’re talkin’ about here. My Maw Maw loved Uncle Eddie, and worked on every one of his campaigns for Governor. She took me along with her for the 1971 and 1975 campaign. When he ran in 1983, I volunteered for his campaign because I enjoyed being around him, and was able to spend time with my Maw Maw as a bonus.

    I think I was always Conservative. I registered as a Democrat, because that was just what you did when I was young. Democrats were much more Conservative back then. Uncle Eddie is what he calls a Moderate Democrat. His political views, as I have heard him tell them are actually more in line with a Conservative than a Democrat. I love and respect Edwin Edwards as I would a member of my own family. I have known him as far back as my memory goes. He would disown me if he heard me say this, but today, he would be much closer to a…gasp…Republican than he is to the Democrat Party of today. I can remember him going out of his way to help those who needed help, but I never even once heard him say that people should live off of the State. His idea was more Workfare than Welfare. That is the kind of Democrat I grew up with, and that is the kind of Democrat I was. Actually, as a Democrat, I never voted for a Dem for POTUS. The only Dem that I voted for was Uncle Eddie for Gevernor, and Uncle Russ for Senator, followed by John Breaux for Senator. As I said earlier, I have always been Conservative.

    I have always been politically active for people that I knew. I got active for someone that I did not know personally when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP choice. My mom and I watched her acceptance speech together (mom lived next door). Mom said “She will be President one day!” I sent money, put up yard signs, made phone calls, the works. We went to vote together, both excited and hopeful for Sarah and our Country, only to be disappointed with the election results. My mom passed away in December of 2008, so that was our last election together.

    Then came Stimulus, which horrified me. I was not happy with Dubya when he did Tarp, either. I saw that as the height of irresponsibility. DH and I started to seriously discuss changing our voter registration to more closely reflect our political views. Then came the Obamacare debacle, and that was the thing that pushed us to actually make time, and go down to the Registrar’s office and change our voter registration. As Ronald Reagan said: “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.”

  5. Gino says:

    You can read and talk to people about World War 2 and growing up you find it’s kind of hard to comprhend that such a significant event had even taken place.Fortunately for me I had two events that raised my political awareness in a matter of weeks.The first event was in Montreal, Canada during a meeting with Mr. Hyman —– and his wife at their home. These people were absolutely gracious and wonderfull people.Hyman and his wife both had immigrated from Germany to Montreal and both were of Jewish decent.

    In the course, of conversation Mrs. —- asked me if I was aware of the medical experiments conducted upon twins in the death camps during the war to which I could only reply that I had heard about it.Mrs.—– went on to explain that she was one of those children and with that produced a picture of her and her twin sister together whom did not survive the human experimentation.Her husband at that juncture coheresed her into showing me the numbers tatooed on her arm.I am not per say an emotional person but I can tell you that at this moment the share magnitude of what had happened to her and her family emotionally upset me.

    Ironically a week later I sit at the table having coffee with my father inlaw and I begin to tell him the strory of Ms.———–. Now I know that I.m not great at telling a story but my father inlaw is sitting there with tears running down his face and the situation has just turned awkward. When he regains his composure here is what he had to tell me. His squad was one of the first liberating forces arriving at the death camps and freeing of the prisoners.He chose not to go into details because it was just to emotional for him fifty years later.What he did say was that noboddy can tell you just how horrible it truly was bodies stacked on top of bodies people were starved litteraslly to death and those that were not were so thin that they could not even walk.The smell he said was the one thing that was overwelming dead bodies and peoples that were emaciated wherever you looked.

    This wake up call I would have prefered to have missedHowever, at the end of the day it makes me realize that we cannot take our political freedoms for granted and that people men and women fought to preserve our way of life.Thus, the very least we can do is be politically aware and present our positions as we see fit whether they are correct or not is irrelevent the fact that our opinions stimulate a thought process is most important.

  6. I was raised in a family with my dad a yeller dog democrat and my mother an honest, New Deal liberal, back before “liberal” was co-opted by The Far Left. I saw the Democratic party alienate first, my father and later, my mother. Dad voted for Reagan and Mom stopped voting when Clinton betrayed everything she’d believed in a candidate. She listened to Jimmy Carville one night and said, “If he’s the party, I’m done with all of them.” They’re both gone now.

    My ah-haaaa moment was when we stopped some hippies one afternoon from hauling down the post office flag in Albuquerque and burning it. They were all wearing McGovern buttons and calling a group of Vietnam vets going to school at UNM all kinds of names. It was the last good, righteous fist-fight I ever had.

    The decision to turn my back on the Democratic party have been validated countless times over the years.

  7. Menagerie says:

    In junior high school I had the best teacher anyone could ever imagine. She had a big billboard in the back of the room. It was filled with pictures of politically influential people, good and bad, for example, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and we had many discussions, especially about the Vietnam War. She did not approve of the anti war movement because they ridiculed our soldiers, but mainly because she said the stood FOR nothing – they just like to protest. That pretty much clicked in my head as the definition of a liberal. Seems to me they don’t do much, just like to protest. In high school. I really wanted to identify with the women’s movement, but I soon met my husband and his family, and their pro life beliefs strongly influenced me away from feminist as they define the word. To a young wife and mother with a struggling family, Ronald Reagan seemed to be a great man who rescued our country. Perhaps an exaggeration, but the things he did and they hope he gave us never left me. But perhaps the most influence comes from my religious beliefs. I can never ever vote for anyone who supports abortion and the democratic party does. Any association with them is to participate in murder for me. I will not do it.

  8. tnwahm says:

    I think even as a teenager, I was conservative. I tried to protect my younger brother from loud music and I never liked sitcoms like Family Ties because they portrayed parents as stupid and kids as the smart ones.

    I remember being in NYC with one of my bosses on election night 1988. We went to a Broadway show that night because neither one of us wanted to be in the hotel room watching the returns. Thankfully, when we returned after the show, daddy Bush had already won.

    I remember 2000. I was working in a CPA’s office and our receptionist’s dh worked for a union. This woman raised her sons just like my parents raised me, but she said that she wouldn’t vote for her son ran as a Republican. The rest of the office was conservative and we tried to not talk politics, but I remember a couple of day before the election, Mrs. Lou was talking about how Gore was a christian and I pointed out that he was a Pantheist. Her reply was that I would teach my kids that God was in everything. I replied that God created the trees, he was not in them. I’ll never forget the look on her face. To my chagrin, the election wasn’t over when we went back to work after election day.

    I really started getting involved in 2008. I remember telling my dh when I first heard about BO/BS that he scared me more than Hillary did. I was a Huckabee supporter because I didn’t like McCain or Romney and I wanted to see a match-up between Huckabee and HRC. I was ecstatic when McCain chose Sarah Palin and I started learning about her.

    I’m looking forward to working to elect Sarah Palin and other conservatives next year. My dh wishes that I could turn my political activism into $$, but my reward will really be when we save this country for my kids.

  9. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories. It is great to read about how we each came from an individual path to a place of commonality. I am very thankful for the perspectives that everyone brings into the conversation. Y’all are a great bunch of peeps to share with.

  10. Sorry to be so late to this thread, but just getting off work. Room for one more?

    No big epiphany for me, but by the time I was becoming politically aware at around 10 years old in the early 70’s, near the close of the Vietnam war, I just looked around and knew that I didn’t like what I saw. If there was a moment, it was a lot like Peggy Noonan’s protest bus story where she got off a bus full of fellow radicals bound for a Washington Mall protest. She just had a realization that these weren’t good people. And I guess, she more or less never looked back. Neither did I. But every day has served to reinforce that perception for me, without resorting to an echo chamber. I’ve known and loved lots of modern liberals, many of whom I’m closely related to. I’ve tried hard to understand them as charitably as I could, especially since my family roots are Democrat. But I can’t, except to recognize the profound disorder of their mindset.

    As a young kid, I snuck into the basement after bedtime to watch the Carter-Ford debate, and I cried through the last half. I knew something was terribly wrong with our country when Carter was elected. I couldn’t explain why at the time. I’ve nearly always voted Republican. So far. But it’s clear that the Tea Party is the last great hope for our Nation, however that comes to be. When my big Gadsden flag arrives in the mail, it will be flown, by itself, on the front of my house, replacing Old Glory for the first time. This is barely America anymore. It’s time for us to fly a revolutionary American flag for a while, I think.

  11. NM Pancho says:

    Good stories. Really good.
    I’m probably close to my “ah hah!” moment, but I bet you this type experience event is seldom ever planned. We might have some premonition, but no plan.

    I’d wish this whole entire nation to have an “ah-hah!” moment, right about the same time we collectively experience our Evolution Of Integrity…but, there are just too many Wolves in Sheep’s clothes and snake oil salespeople. Addiction, dependence, power. It’s a strong chain.

    I know how I’d behave and teach my children to behave.
    With that, and voting, I guess it’s all we got.

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