Friday, October 20, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Blue: Making Inroads With Republicans

Alexandra Caldwell is an intern with NPR's Online Department. Below she shares a humorous story of how her favorite radio story led her to an interesting revelation about the contentious nature of politics:

My Mother, the most liberal woman you’ll ever meet, has come around to the idea of censorship. It started when I left for college. It was then that my mother realized how much of a buffer I had been. Throughout high school I was the one subjected to conversations with my father that revolved entirely around politics.

My father works from home, thus my parents spend the entire day together. He works hard but because his job entails him conferencing via telephone it gives him a lot of time to surf the internet…finding all the liberal propaganda he can get his hands on. When George W. Bush won the election a piece of my father died inside. Since then he’s tried to fill this hole with that “liberal media” from the World Wide Web like those of Molly Ivins, the Crisis Papers, the Democratic Underground, JibJab, and You Ain’t a Cowboy, to name a few.

When I went to college my mother became the sounding board for my father’s outcries. She was bombarded before her coffee; she spent her afternoons trying to steal my father’s soap box away from him and her nights wide-awake listening to him mutter in his sleep about the state of the nation. Though I was off at school his obsession found me, too – from conversations with my mother and forwards from my father. I can’t tell you how many ‘Dancing Bush’ emails I received.

My parents never raised me to hate but I began to resent the hold that Conservative politicos had over my household. We were all angry. My father began to pull a Johnny Cash – wearing only black, in mourning over the Democratic Party. My Mother contemplated utilizing the parental controls on the TV and internet. Because of this outpouring of aggravation over all things Conservative I began to think of all Republicans as ‘the evil ones.’ This is why my favorite NPR story is the All Things Considered piece, "Doppelgangers Cause Confusion on Capitol Hill." All Things Considered told the story of look-alike Republican Congressmen, Steve King of Iowa and Tom Tancredo of Colorado. The piece was informative but also highly amusing. The best part? Besides the two men switching nametags at a White House Christmas party it was when Luke Burbank, NPR National Desk Reporter, questioned the Congressmen on their twin-like connection – “Can you feel each other’s pain?” he asked. I was driving while listening and was worried I’d wreck because I was laughing so hard. It taught me, in a Free to Be You and Me fashion, that along with it being okay to cry, it’s also okay to like the occasional Republican.

As of now, my Father has improved. He no longer bombards us 24/7 with liberal ranting, though I’m sure he wants to. His current obsession is much healthier – training our dog to, how should I say this, leave “presents” in neighborhood yards that once held Bush Cheney signs. You should know that I’m from North Carolina. That’s a lot of yards.

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