Hey everyone. Welcome to UNC, the Carolina Review, and The Man Who Was Thursday.
To start the year, I’m going to finally write a series of columns narrating my conversion from communism to conservatism, a series I’ve been promising since my first column. With this first column in the series, I hope to explain my familial political environment.
I was born into a house divided. My mom’s side of the family is historically conservative. In fact, one of my great-grandfathers on that side was, without exaggeration, the most conservative person ever. He loathed FDR and the New Deal, but probably to a degree no mortal will ever be able to match. He owned a farm in Oklahoma in the middle of the dust bowl during the Great Depression. One day, a pair of AAA agents came by to deliver one of the silly New Deal agricultural subsidies. When he saw them, my great-grandfather asked the agents to vacate his property, as they were clearly trespassing on his private farm. Oh no, responded the agents, we’re from the AAA. We’re here to give you money. (I like to imagine that they were carrying the money in one of those burlap sacks with a $ sign pained on it, like bank robbers in cartoons) This just made my grandfather more hostile. The agents were nonplussed; people rarely refuse burlap sacks full of $. So, my grandfather clarified his position by retrieving his shotgun. Now, there are two versions of the end of the story. In one, my great-grandfather merely shot a warning shot into the air. In the other version, he shot to kill. The only way that story could be more conservative is if my great-grandfather had simultaneously saved an almost aborted fetus.
On the other hand, my father’s side is historically liberal and originated in Vermont… but I repeat myself. For example, my grandfather on that side was an able physicist during the Cold War, when able physicists were in high demand. However, he had trouble getting a job with the government because the government had a verified photo of him attending a meeting of communists at his college. That side of the family supported Jimmy Carter in 1980, which is a lot like supporting James Buchanan in 1860.
My parents themselves embody contradictory strains. My mom is an admitted hippe, public school teacher, and union member. But she is a registered Republican. But she voted for Nader in 2004 (when it wasn’t even cool anymore). My father is a slovenly liberal who voluntarily attended Lilith Fair. But he earns a living as a cog in the great military-industrial complex’s neo-conservatively fascistic machine.
In short, my family has an odd, diverse, and confusing political tradition. I wasn’t raised a conservative or a Republican or, well, anything, leaving the door open for me to experiment with just about any political affiliation. But more on that later.
Next week: Komrade Keune- the commie years.