I recently spent several days with my niece who is 23, after her grandmother (my mother in law) passed away. Since I am a self avowed Glenn Beck freak, each day we watched the show together, which opened up a dialogue about politics that was not planned, but (always!) welcome in my home. We come from VERY different backgrounds. She has dyslexia, and dropped out of school. I have 2 degrees in business. She had a difficult home life, I did not, Neither of us has a job at the moment.
The discussion spawned from me yelling at Pelosi on the TV, then yelling at Obama on the TV. She asked me why I didn’t like Obama –
I had to pause and think how far back I needed to go into this discussion. She is not a politics junkie like I am. She also looks up to me (I am only 30, but (as she put it) I am like her smart older friend) Instead of erupting in a scathing critique of Obamacare, and bringing up Van Jones and the like, I calmly explained about his “fundamental transformation of America” and that his agenda does not seem to run within the bounds or “constraints” of the Constitution. She started asking me questions, and I was able to answer them competently (I think the blogosphere has caused me to shy away from discussion, because I am a perfectionist, and seem to spend more time fact checking than I do expressing my views)
The most important part of our discussion came when I asked her why she voted for Barack Obama. She said that she “did it for meemaw” – because her grandmother (who grew up in Ohio) was always a Democrat. I said – “But meemaw voted for who she wanted to vote for -” she had never thought of that.
I was raised in a VERY republican home. When I asked my grandfather (shortly before his death in 2007) who he voted for the first time he voted, he told me “My first vote was against FDR the first time he ran” I recall the pictures of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Barbara, etc… on my grandparents refrigerator. I went through a period of disillusionment with the GOP, and then discovered that I am in fact a Libertarian.
She listened intently to me and what I had to say. I went on about the dollar, monetization of the debt, entitlements, and how freebies from the government are not at all free. She stopped me and asked questions along the way, and I answered them to the best of my ability, and listed what I could not answer to look up (which we did afterward). It was quite a refreshing contrast to the screaming matches I have had with friends who are liberal democrats.
All that said, sometimes it is better to ask why in a discussion than to beat them on points, facts, and correctness. Many times they are looking for answers, not to be told that they are just flat out wrong. Alot of them don’t know what they believe, and trust me, it is EASY to make sense of conservative beliefs and values to those who are democrats “just because”.