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Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Sensitive In-Law Post - Politics

Most readers know that my little sister is getting married this fall. In addition, Brian and I have been in a serious relationship for over four years now (yes, we eventually do plan to get married). Of course, this all means that my sister and I have had to deal with the inevitable prospective in-law issues. Some of the issues are quite funny while others hint at larger issues in society. It has never been easy to combine families and adjust to the family dynamics of a significant other. In some instances, my sister and I are finding out that we come from quite an extraordinary family in the sense that our parents allowed us much more freedom than many of the parents of our peers. We certainly do not have helicopter parents.

Before I go any further, I just want to say that this is written in good humor. If anyone mentioned here happens to come across this post, I mean no harm. I simply want to share some very personal experiences of mine.

Where do I start? Well, Brian's parents are great. I truly enjoy their company. As Brian and I live approximately a mile from their house, we have dinner at their house a few times a week, every week. For the most part, this allows us to catch up with Brian's brother Todd and Todd's girlfriend Rachel (Todd is a commuting college student living at home). While we don't discuss politics much with Rachel (she's not that interested and only 16), the rest of us get into the middle of it. Here is where the confusion comes in.

In Michigan, as in many union states, there is a general bias towards Democrats that truly is out of touch with the reality of today's Democratic Party. For the sake of argument, I will call this group Blue Collar Democrats. The average Blue Collar Democrat owns his or her own home, has two or three children, works a union job, tends to be Catholic (and is still married, or annulled the first marriage and remarried), and is more or less socially conservative. They tend to support the Democratic Party not out of a blind loyalty to unions, but due to a deep sense of tradition. From my perspective, some Blue Collar Democrats appear to believe that it is almost un-American not to support the Democratic Party (again, this certainly doesn't reflect the current Democratic Party which is turning anti-American).

I grew up in a small town that was predominantly populated by Blue Collar Democrats. The irony here is that for all intents and purposes, Brian's family (especially his Dad) fits the profile of Blue Collar Democrats perfectly. In fact, my parents pretty much assumed that his parents were Democrats, despite the fact that Brian and his brother are very conservative. Well, when you actually talk politics with Brian and Todd's parents, you find a general disdain for politicians in general (which is certainly to be expected). In addition, they tend to be conservative on most issues, and while they might occasionally support a Democrat, it is the exception, not the norm.

As a result of Brian's parents not following the Blue Collar Democrat script, I've found myself having some very interesting political conversations with my own family. No matter how you look at it, after getting past the stereotypes, it is easy to see how Brian and Todd formed their political views. I don't always agree, but I find myself agreeing more often than not.

This entire experience helps illustrate something I had a hard time understanding as a child. Growing up, I often heard my Mom lament that many Blue Collar Democrats didn't fully understand just how much they think like conservatives. I now understand. Why should Blue Collar Democrats vote for a party that is working against families, against religion, and against just about everything most Blue Collar Democrats hold dear? I didn't even mention the growing anti-Americanism and self-loathing taking over the Democratic Party (case in point, Obama, who last week alienated the very people he needs to win the nomination and election with elitist comments). I'm just glad that Brian's parents get it. My Grandma doesn't, but then again, she doesn't vote.

I'll cover religion in the next post.


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