When I was in school I studied political parties. In in the first class the professor called attention to the fact that many people share the same political affiliation as their parents. If they don’t, the probably grew up in transformative years of a political party, like coming to age politically when Ronald Reagan was president. I myself, would like to think that I borrow the political affiliation of my parents. The first election I can recall was in the third grade and it was the 2000 election, George W. Bush vs. Al Gore, the sitting Vice President of the United States. I can recall classmates talking about who we wanted to win, like we really understand what it all meant. I don’t remember caring about all the “hanging chads”, but Bush won that election. Years later, in the 7th grade I remember wanting John Kerry to beat Bush so badly. I was angry that he had led us into a war, and that the USA was not safe, as 9/11 had happened a few years earlier. However, I remember watching John Kerry give his concession speech in my social studies class. Bush had won again.
I grew up during the Bush years, and I saw a lot of bad things happen to our country during those years. Is he at fault? No, but his failures completely turned me off from the Republican Party. For a time I wanted to be a Republican, because all my friends seemed to be. But, I couldn’t. The policies they stood for, just didn’t match what I saw happening to the country and even my own family. For that reason I have inherited my political affiliation from my family, but I am even more proud Democrat than say, my dad, who is reluctant to vote in elections. But, I do owe a lot about my fascination with politics to my dad. I remember how he would talk to my grandpa about the war, and how President Bush was taking the country down the wrong path. I liked listening to their conversations. They were so “grown up”. It was in high school that I really started to follow politics and follow the news. The 2008 election was the first election I was grown up enough to read about politics, and understand the Daily Show. It was around this time I began caring about the environment and reading posts on the Natural Resource Defence Council website.
The election night of 2008 was something I will always remember. I remember Barack Obama giving his speech, that he was to be our next president. The crowd in Chicago was electric, our country was ready for a new chance, and this was the guy tasked to fix everything broken in our country. The high of election night didn’t last long. Soon after our parties became further and further apart which made any sort of compromise impossible.
Even though our parties don’t seem to work together, I am not ready to give up on the two-party system. I think our parties will be forced to work together again, and that more and more Americans will be driven to support the Democratic agenda, even though the last few elections have not been in our favor.
So where do you get your political affliations? Do you have a political coming of age story?