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Friday, September 01, 2006

A Step In My Ideological Journey

Cross-posted at DovBear

It may surprise some of you but I’ve been a conservative for only about 5 years. Prior to that, I was quite the liberal: I was pro- gun control, anti-death penalty and anti-tax cuts. I voted for Gore in 2000 and supported Clinton in ’96 and ’92. There’s even an old family video of me rooting for Dukakis in the summer of ’88. (Yes I know I was 8 years old at the time)

So what caused me to flip? I wish I could say there was some moment of revelation, but there wasn’t. It was a slow and steady process. I don’t even know when I actually started calling myself a conservative Republican. The last liberal Democrat thought I remember having was expressing happiness when Jim Jeffords bailed on the GOP and handed control of the Senate to the Democrats. That was May 2001.

But a couple of events helped me along my ideological journey.

Here’s one of them.

One night I was listening to Richard Bay on WABC. (Remember when WABC had liberal talk-show hosts?) I don’t remember the exact date, but it was some time after the start of the second intifada. Bay was arguing with a Jewish woman about Israeli military actions in the West Bank. Bay was arguing that the IDF was killing and wounding Palestinian children. The caller said that the kids were throwing stones at the soldiers and were deliberately being put in harms way by their parents. “What kind of parents let their kids throw rocks and attack soldiers?” the caller asked.

Bay responded with one of the most offensive things I’ve ever heard on the radio- “well Jewish children were fighting against the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.”

The caller was so shocked she could even respond at first. Finally she said that the children were fighting for their lives, otherwise they were all to be killed. Bay responded with some snarky line about Sharon, Palestinians, and bugs, and then hung up on the caller.

The disgust I had for Bay was immense. He actually had the gall to compare Palestinian children throwing stones at the IDF to Jewish children battling the Nazis. Unbelievable.

I started college a little while after that. It was the first time I was exposed in person to the hatred and disgusting moral equivalency that Bay showed on the radio. And what do you know- all those who had those views were also leftists!

No, this didn’t immediately turn me into a GOP wingnut. And yes I know that the majority of Democrats in the House and Senate aren’t pro-Palestinian Jew-haters. But sometimes you have to judge a party by its base. Sometimes you have to look at the ideological underpinnings of a political ideology.

(And yes, that applies to the GOP as well)


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