Liberal Mom Raises a Conservative Son

So I told my mom last night, “How are you a Democrat? You vote Democrat but you talk to me every week on the phone like a Conservative. You raised me as a Conservative by instilling in me very Conservative values. You are a Conservative, you just don’t know it.”

She laughed.

Admittedly, this is something that has long since bothered – well maybe it doesn’t bother me, it more-or-less intrigues me. How can one vote for something all their lives but on a very personal level, they are very much something else? My mother is a wonderful person. I am very much like her and this is probably due to her strong desire to raise me with all she had. She was very active in my life, maybe a little bit too much sometimes if you know what I mean. But she is a Liberal and I am a Conservative…

She is fiscally conservative. I don’t know if she is that way because she has to be or because that is who she is. We never had money growing up. The magic answer to anything new was normally “no.” After a while I didn’t even bother to ask. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to her to deny my request, but because I understood that the family could not afford it. I don’t remember her ever specifically saying this fact, but I do remember her diligently cutting out coupons and searching for sales. I remember getting cheap shoes and hoping they lasted, but I never knew there was a difference in shoes until other kids pointed it out to me. We never went out on the town – and if it was, it was to Taco Bell off the 69 cent menu (which was a real treat). Maybe she did, but I never heard her begging for help from people either – she just went out and worked multiple jobs. Or even better, worked one job while we were at school that way she could be with us kids at home.

She believes in personal responsibility. I remember my Mother and Father sitting me down one day and telling me, “If you do something wrong, we are going to let you pay the consequences. Even if that means jail. However, if you did nothing wrong, then we will stand by you until the end.” I tested both ends of that spectrum growing up. On the negative end I decided to go out with some friends and tear someone’s bushes up by jumping on them. The neighbor called my parents and my parent’s delivered me to the owner of the bush to do whatever he wanted. Luckily for me, he was a friend of the family and he just had me apologize and clean up the mess. The other boys that tore the bush up with me, their parents were called but they never came to help or even to apologize. Maybe this is another instance where I learned that I was being raised in a special way. On the other end of that spectrum I was blamed for tearing up a school textbook on the school bus one day. They stood up for me even though the school was ready to suspend me.

She believed in competition. She always was pitting myself against my siblings in athletics and school – especially school. I remember her saying, “If you don’t keep your grades up, your brother’s and sisters are going to and then get good jobs and then they aren’t going to help you. ” It was obvious that she believed in excelling in whatever task you did to “get ahead of the competition.” It was never, nah, sit back and coast and someone will help you out or bail you out, it was always “if you don’t do it, then nobody’s going to do it for you.” It was never mean. In fact, it was kind of fun to compete.  My all-star/select siblings in multiple sports always beat me in sports but I had them in academics. But they never gave up chasing my grades and I never quit chasing their sports records.

She was an individualist. It was obvious that she loved all of us but it was also obvious that she loved each of us on an individual level and most definitely not out of obligation. I remember camping and all of us were a team to set up camp and each had their own little jobs. Sometimes, the job was to just stay out of the way because you were cranky with a full diaper. Ha! But same back home. We were recognized on our own merits. I don’t think I realized it at all at the time, but I see it now. I never heard any sort of bigoted comment. If she was mad, then it was at that person, not their race or their gender or anything.

I remember little things that my mother said to me growing up all the time and I always wonder, how can a fairly dedicated Democrat say something that is so utterly Conservative in thought? I wish I could remember them so I could post them right now because some of them had a very large impact on me being who I am today.

I ended up telling her a little later in the conversation that I think she is simply a Democrat because that is what has been taught to her. For whatever reason in the past people were generally taught that Democrats are “for the people/workers” and that Republicans are “for businesses/businessmen.” Since she has always been a worker, she has also maintained that thought. Her parents (my grandparents) are also Democrats, so it seems that political affiliations run in the family (although I’d argue that my grandparents are Conservative too).

With that said, it seems that in some of the mid-generations the pseudo Communistic bourgeois (R) vs proletariat (D) is there. I wonder how many people of older generations as well as the new voters have really taken a look at both parties and realized that in reality, they are the same with very small differences – both still war (to go or to continue funding), both are still fiscally irresponsible, both take rights/liberties away, both don’t represent their constituents, and both vote on things/laws that are unConstitutional.

So how is it that a Conservative thinker was raised by a Democratic mother again? Where is the disconnect?


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"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry

"Politicians and diapers both need to be changed, and for the same reason." - Anonymous

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