Say you are a Democrat. Would you be terribly upset and disappointed if your children grew up and became Republicans? Or, vice versa?
How would this make you feel? Would you feel as though you failed as a parent?
I've gone back and forth about the answer in my head and I think maybe I've finally figured it out for myself.
Jesse's family is hard core Dem. They are passionate about the party and his parents are super psyched about Obama. And I completely understand where his parents are coming from. They grew up going to segregated schools and hanging out in segregated parks and pools and now, here they are, witnessing history--a Black man running for president, representing their party of choice. They are so stoked about Obama that Jesse's mom gave Jesse one of Obama's books for Christmas last year (by the way, when he opened the present, it was me who shrieked out of sheer joy. Jesse wasn't as happy). Jesse's mom even made it out to his rally in Prince William County back when he officially became the presumptive nominee (I bet she encountered quite a few youngsters there). When Jesse's dad talks about politics, I'm always happy to engage (it's great to engage when you agree). This is not at all what my family is like.
Because of Jesse's parents' Dem fanaticism, he's kinda turned off by politics. He votes but did not register as a Democrat. After meeting me, he's become more of an informed VA voter, but I don't think he was as informed about local politics before I came around. He hates how his parents vote solely along party lines and he prefers to vote on the issues. He sounds very much like a swing voter (I make sure he swings the right way come election time). My impression is that Jesse's lack of interest in politics is due to his parent's political passions.
On the other hand, my family isn't very political. In fact, I'm not sure in what direction my brother (a cop) leans. My sister (a teacher) votes Democrat or for whoever/whatever is in the best interest of that teacher's union she's in. And my mom is the conservative voice of the family. I've succeeded in proving her wrong on some occasions (ummm...gays are actually not evil), but there are some things she'll never budge on (abortion, gay marriage, etc).
Looking back on things my family has supported over the years outside of politics, I've realized that I am quite the opposite. For example, my family loves the Dodgers. I still remember my mom, bro and sis getting all excited when Kirk Gibson hit that infamous home run. I remember thinking, Eh. He just hit a ball really hard. Despite how crappy they were when I was younger, I began to love the Angels and happily cheered for them during every Freeway Series, despite my family's objections.
Despite having loved the campus almost as much as I did, my mom didn't want me to attend USC. She wanted me to go to UCLA. It's much safer...and cheaper, she said. So what did I do? I went to USC and LOVED it.
I could go on and on (I'm pro-choice, my family isn't; I don't go to church anymore, my family is hardcore Catholic, etc.). But the point is that Jesse and I both have a history of rebelling, which does not bode well for our future kids. I may be able to convince Jesse to be more interested in politics (at least I inform him before he heads to the polls), but I don't think I would ever be able to tone down my interest in politics.
What I really hope for is that my children share my passion for politics. At the very least, I want them to know who/what they are voting for. Obviously, I want them to vote Blue. I have a hard time imagining a Republican who can ever represent my interests (a woman's choice, AIDS/HIV issues, comprehensive sex education). But if my kids are passionate about a cause and the GOP is all about it, then they should vote in line with what they are passionate about.
The Democrat in me will cringe at the thought. But the mom in me would be satisfied with my children caring so much about something and then doing something about it.
*Lexiloo, if you're reading, this post is all your fault! :) Thanks for forcing me to think.