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Sat Mar 9, 2019, 06:57 PM

Do you really want to know why some people are MAGAts? Read my story.

This is the story of my life. This is a long read and took me three hours to write. It is all factual. I have never told anyone all this before, so here it is, for better or worse. Putting this down has been cathartic. I have been crying as I have written this. Me, a 61 year old man, crying like a baby.

If you hate me, I can accept that. If you like it, pass it on. I will not give my real name, though, so do not ask.

Some people are simply very selfish, and have never been taught otherwise. If they never learn otherwise, they go through their life like that. I was born in 1957, (keep that date in mind), and that was me up until 15 years ago.

I was raised by my paternal grandparents until I was 5. Why is a long story, and is not relevant. My Grandmother spoiled me rotten and I mean that literally. She did not discipline me. She did not make me eat properly. My Grandfather tried to intervene and my Grandmother would not permit that. When my parents came back and picked me up, my mother took me to a doctor, as I was sick all the time. My mother told me the doctor threatened to have her arrested for my poor condition, this was 1962, before the term “child abuse” was used, so I must have been in bad shape. My wonderful Grandma loved me too much.

I had a married sister 20 year older than myself. I did not grow up with her. She had small children that I did not like very much, because my mother would pay attention to them, and not to me. So, for all intents and purposes I was a single kid. I was a loner. I did not play well with other children because they regarded me as selfish, as a late Aunt told me. I believe her, I was selfish. I had no siblings to learn from and about. I never had to learn to share or to take turns. Even as a kid on the playground, I did not like associating with others. I hated sports, because I was not athletic, and did not want to be naked around that many guys, anyway. I always had top grades, and was arrogant about it. So all that let to me being bullied all through high school.

My parents were older and grew up during the Depression. I know realize only decades later, that they grew up very Authoritarian. They raised me to be an Authoritarian. The rules were "Do as we tell you and do not question us." "Children are to be seen and not heard." As long as I got good grades and “behaved", everything was fine. When I hit puberty, my mother hit menopause. My life with my mother became sheer hell. She emotionally and verbally abused me until I left for college. Never physical though. And do not let anyone tell you words can't hurt, they do. I think I would have rather been beaten. My dad really loved my mother and thus would not defend me to her. At one point because of normal teenage rebellion, my dad actually searched my entire body for needle tracks. As in under my nails, and between my toes.

My parents never discussed politics with me, only years later did I realize they voted Democrat. My parents never really set me down and talked ethics, and morality. So, ethically, politically, I got little education at home. I never had an ethics class.

We quit attending church when I was 12 because even though both parents were religious, as my mother said "They are always asking for money." My mother had been forced to quit school during the Depression, when she was 14, because her father had died, and she had to get a job as a seamstress. She never went further than 8th grade. That permanently warped her about money. Leaving church was fine with me because I hated church anyway, I would rather watch TV. So, I got little ethics from religion.

By the early 70s, in today’s terms, I was a hard-core MAGAt. I went through 4 years of Army ROTC in high school. I wanted to be a soldier and “Kill Commies for Mommy”. I hated Communism and Communists, because I was told to by those in power, and my relatives. I wanted to nuke North Vietnam, the only problem was the USSR. I thought I was "not a man" because I "missed" Vietnam. I Loved Nixon and those like him for their hard-nosed attitudes. I thought Vietnam was a winnable and righteous war. I defended Nixon, to my parents during Watergate, because “he was the President”.

When I went to College ROTC, I found out what REAL military service was going to be like, and I said "Fuck this", I am not going. I was a classic Chickenhawk, though I had never heard the term at that time.

I hated all Democrats except JFK. I thought they were all weak. If he had not been assassinated, I probably would have hated him, too. I hated Carter, I thought he was weak, because he "let" the Iranians “humiliate" us. I REALLY wanted him to bomb Tehran.

Loved Reagan, voted for him both times. Still thought he was weak at times, like when Gorbachev came along and he negotiated with him. Did not vote for Bush I, because I thought he was too "Establishment", so I voted Libertarian both times. Thought he was a coward because he would not go to Baghdad. Was obsessed with guns, I really believed the NRA propaganda that constantly stated the Democrats WERE coming to take my guns away. Loved Rush Limbaugh. Voted for Bush II in 2000.

Only in 2003 did I start to change. It was gradual. I realized Libertarianism and Limbaugh were garbage. Realized we did need some sort of national health care. Realized Bush II and Cheney were War Criminals and all that trickle down stuff was a lie, because I was not rich.

When the Great Recession hit, that was the last straw. Had not the Republicans and Libertarians endlessly taught me as long as I worked hard enough I would get rich? It finally hit me, that the answer was NO. Republicans only cared about the already wealthy, and business. If all that had been untrue, what else was untrue?

I could not afford therapy. So, I took a real hard look at myself, and realized I was one hard-nosed, selfish bastard. I realized that I felt as if it did not hurt me personally, I did not care about others. I realized I had little or no empathy or sympathy for anyone not “just like me”. I realized I was a nativist, a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, and just an all around bigot. The tragically hilarious part was I am naturalized citizen, but because I was a white cis-male, it was all right to hate others who were “Not Real Americans”.

I had often wondered how Hitler came to power, how the German people could do something as monstrous as that. Thought Hitler was the greatest monster in history, followed closely by Stalin. I actually was born in Germany, was a German citizen, left there as a baby, and I finally realized if I had grown up in Germany back then I would have been a fervent Nazi. That was a real horror to me to realize that, yes, I would have worshiped Adolf Hitler, the man I hated more than any other human being who ever lived. Me, a fucking Nazi.A FUCKING NAZI.

To paraphrase the famous quote, I had stared into the Abyss for so long that was all I had to look at.

I joined DU and got tombstoned because I wrote some nasty posts. I starting reading more at DU. I started learning how wrong I had always been. I rejoined in 2008, and now regard DU as one of the greatest assets of my life. I am still learning and evolving. The more I learn, the more I realize I still have a long ways to go. I hope to get there someday, hopefully before I die.

I voted for Obama twice, and for HRC. I will never vote anyway but straight Democratic ticket as long as I live.

I keep promising myself I will read A People’s History of America, and Lies My Teacher Told me. Why not, I have both on my phone.

After much recommendation I downloaded and read The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer and realized I had been a classic case

So, if you grow up in an Authoritarian home, grow up with little moral or ethical guidance, accept that selfishness is fine, that compassion and empathy are weaknesses, accept the conventional lies we are constantly told by those in power, because they are in power, accept that as a White, Heterosexual Man, you are the pinnacle of creation, and a Real American, and finally if you can’t, or won’t teach yourself, and refuse to learn from others, then you, too, can, and will be a MAGAt.

It is just that simple.

102 replies, 13439 views

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Arrow 102 replies Author Time Post
Reply Do you really want to know why some people are MAGAts? Read my story. (Original post)
MicaelS Mar 2019 OP
sandensea Mar 2019 #1
redstatebluegirl Mar 2019 #2
Nevermypresident Mar 2019 #3
Squinch Mar 2019 #4
MaryMagdaline Mar 2019 #5
happybird Mar 2019 #6
chowder66 Mar 2019 #7
MicaelS Mar 2019 #8
chowder66 Mar 2019 #10
Comatose Sphagetti Mar 2019 #9
MicaelS Mar 2019 #12
Karadeniz Mar 2019 #11
MicaelS Mar 2019 #15
certainot Mar 2019 #13
MicaelS Mar 2019 #14
Haggis for Breakfast Mar 2019 #50
BlueMTexpat Mar 2019 #75
vlyons Mar 2019 #16
PoindexterOglethorpe Mar 2019 #17
MicaelS Mar 2019 #19
PoindexterOglethorpe Mar 2019 #27
Aristus Mar 2019 #18
MicaelS Mar 2019 #21
KT2000 Mar 2019 #44
True Blue American Mar 2019 #69
bluestarone Mar 2019 #20
kooth Mar 2019 #22
mercuryblues Mar 2019 #23
AJT Mar 2019 #24
lunatica Mar 2019 #25
pnwmom Mar 2019 #26
MicaelS Mar 2019 #102
LiberalLovinLug Mar 2019 #28
MicaelS Mar 2019 #54
LiberalLovinLug Mar 2019 #55
MicaelS Mar 2019 #57
LiberalLovinLug Mar 2019 #60
MicaelS Mar 2019 #62
crazycatlady Mar 2019 #87
Tikki Mar 2019 #29
Lunabell Mar 2019 #30
alwaysinasnit Mar 2019 #31
Wellstone ruled Mar 2019 #32
cp Mar 2019 #33
jrthin Mar 2019 #34
MarvinGardens Mar 2019 #35
catrose Mar 2019 #36
grantcart Mar 2019 #37
marlakay Mar 2019 #38
nolabear Mar 2019 #39
demigoddess Mar 2019 #40
es466 Mar 2019 #41
Blue_playwright Mar 2019 #42
Dixc Mar 2019 #43
trickyguy Mar 2019 #45
DFW Mar 2019 #78
KT2000 Mar 2019 #46
amuse bouche Mar 2019 #47
fierywoman Mar 2019 #48
raging moderate Mar 2019 #49
Ohiogal Mar 2019 #51
magicarpet Mar 2019 #52
MicaelS Mar 2019 #56
LineLineLineReply .
magicarpet Mar 2019 #59
blm Mar 2019 #53
herding cats Mar 2019 #58
MicaelS Mar 2019 #61
herding cats Mar 2019 #65
MicaelS Mar 2019 #66
jimlup Mar 2019 #63
GulfCoast66 Mar 2019 #64
MFM008 Mar 2019 #67
Zambero Mar 2019 #68
True Blue American Mar 2019 #70
DFW Mar 2019 #79
GoneOffShore Mar 2019 #71
KY_EnviroGuy Mar 2019 #72
calimary Mar 2019 #73
pansypoo53219 Mar 2019 #74
BlueMTexpat Mar 2019 #76
DUgosh Mar 2019 #77
Recursion Mar 2019 #80
DFW Mar 2019 #81
Martin Eden Mar 2019 #82
tazkcmo Mar 2019 #83
randr Mar 2019 #84
PatSeg Mar 2019 #85
mentalslavery Mar 2019 #86
MicaelS Mar 2019 #88
mentalslavery Mar 2019 #91
MLAA Mar 2019 #89
Mabel Mar 2019 #90
Suprk Mar 2019 #92
woofless Mar 2019 #93
GreenEyedLefty Mar 2019 #94
CrispyQ Mar 2019 #95
MrScorpio Mar 2019 #96
MicaelS Mar 2019 #99
Politicub Mar 2019 #97
bitterross Mar 2019 #98
MicaelS Mar 2019 #100
Faux pas Mar 2019 #101

Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:00 PM

1. Amazing. Thanks for sharing that, Mike.

Hate does indeed sell, and there are those who have a lot of money riding on making sure we vote that way.

Luckily, many of us don't - and even better, many more have realizations just as you did.

That takes a lot.

Thank you, sir.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:04 PM

2. What an amazing story, thanks for sharing this!

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:06 PM

3. That took courage.

Proud of you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:07 PM

4. Thank you Michael. It is the path that brought you here.

No other path could have done that.

Peace to you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:11 PM

5. Thanks for posting this

Although I’ve been a Democrat all my life, I tended to be pro-military. The Bush -Cheney years completely turned me around. I think that, too, was part of my authoritarian upbringing. My parents were not pro-war, but they did instill authoritarian principles, and through school and other institutions, I leaned that way. Once I saw the Bush-Cheney lies, I’ve never looked back. Feel as though I am still doing penance for the old ways.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:16 PM

6. Thank you for sharing.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:18 PM

7. Wow. I sort of get where you are coming from based on relatives

and friends circumstances/upbringing. I'm younger than you and them but some of what you describe hits close to home.
A couple of relatives have toggled back and forth from Reagan conservatives (going as far as hyper-conservative in the last 10 years) and independent.

Do you know the moment that you started realizing things were off? Was there something that caused you to say...Hey, wait a minute?

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Response to chowder66 (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:20 PM

8. No it was gradual.

But the Great Recession was the very last straw.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:24 PM

10. That's as good a reason as any. nt

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:23 PM

9. "The Authoritarians," by Altemeyer was an eye-opener.

If you haven't read it, you need to. Explains/defines that +/- 35% cohort on the right who worship trump.
It's a free download.

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:31 PM

12. I did just that.

Look at the bottom of my OP post.

After much recommendation I downloaded and read The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer and realized I had been a classic case

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:31 PM

11. You are amazing!❤❤❤❤❤

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:33 PM

15. Thanks. n/t

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:31 PM

13. thanks, and please alert as many democrats as possible on the importance of limbaugh and

talk radio. a few understand but it's generally invisible.

Loved Rush Limbaugh.


I realized Libertarianism and Limbaugh were garbage


imo, ignoring talk radio has been the biggest political mistake in history

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Response to certainot (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:32 PM

14. Oh yes. n/t

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:35 PM

50. That and allowing republicans to destroy The Fairness Doctrine.

We have never been the same once the Doctrine was gutted.

The demise of it permitted a person like Rush to dominate the airwaves with his LIES and HATE masquerading as "free speech." And gave rise to the tolerance of FOX news.

Now look where we are.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #50)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 05:46 AM

75. It wasn't only

Republicans who allowed that. Unfortunately.

I was in law school at the time. Some of my ostensibly "liberal" law professors supported its elimination. I remember having long discussions with them at the time as to why I believed that it was NOT a good idea. They blithely ignored my arguments.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:33 PM

16. Hey MicaelS, thanks for sharing

I am a 72 yr white woman, who grew up in a disfunctional family also. Along the path of my life, I lucked out and encountered and studied Buddhist teachings. You and I and everyone else is the sum of all the prior causes and conditions that shaped us. The good news is that what we think, say, and do TODAY are the seeds that are the causes and conditions that shape the future.

Selfishness and ego-cherishing are the causes of all our problems and unhappiness. The true path of happiness is compassion for others. It doesn't matter how awkward and uncomfortable we feel around others, we need people, family, and community. Every single person on this planet wants to be happy and not suffer.

You have a perfectly good mind and can figure things out for yourself. As to ethics, I always recommend a book by the Dalai Lama. It is a non-religious book, appropriate for anyone of any religion, or no religion at all. It is "Beyond Religion: Ethics for the Whole World."

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Religion-Ethics-Whole-World/dp/054784428X/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=dalai+lama&qid=1552174303&s=books&sr=1-7

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:33 PM

17. Thank you for sharing that.

I want to ask you this: would there have been any way for people like us (residents of DU) to have gotten through to you when you were younger?

It sounds as if it took the Great Recession to finally make you see the light. Does that mean for all of those out there who still are as you were, there is no way to get through to them other than something that impacts them personally?

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:37 PM

19. Absolutely not to the first question.

I thought I knew everything. Back then I thought Democrats were "weak".

As to the second, I think unless they are personally suffering, they simply will not care. Sad, isn't it?

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #19)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:59 PM

27. I was afraid you'd say that, although it is exactly what I've observed over the years.

You see it all the time since Trump was elected, although some of those he's hurt still haven't figured out that voting for him was a really dumb idea.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:36 PM

18. Thank you for sharing.

I had a similar, although not quite as extreme, past life as a right-winger.

I grew up in a family of Kennedy-style liberals. Embracing Reagan-style conservatism when I hit high school was my way of rebelling. I voted for Bush Sr. twice. Everyone in my family could tell you it was a bad fit. I was still a liberal underneath. It was while I was in the Army (I joined in a paroxysm of "God Bless The USA!" prime-time-ready patriotism) that my injustice meter got recalibrated. This was during the whole 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' brouhaha. Republicans were screeching from on high against gays serving in the military. And although I'm straight, I burned with the injustice shown to the gay community.

It would be an oversimplification to say I re-embraced my inner liberal there and then. But by the time of the 1994 Mid-terms, I was firmly back in the liberal camp, from which I have not budged to this day. I've been very happy. It must be hard being a Republican, having to live with all that hate. Embracing love, liberalism, and progress is much more fulfilling, and I'm grateful for having seen the light.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:39 PM

21. I am glad I am not the only one.

One thing that has stuck me as tragically hilarious, is how many Hippies / Boomers turned RW and voted for RR twice.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:52 PM

44. that has shocked me too

so many turned out to be entitled jerks actually. Money.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #44)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:07 AM

69. Reagan was President

Of the Actors Union when he relied on it.

But once he went into Politics, made a fortune with the GE Theater he became a Republican with the weak excuse, the Party left him.

Not,it did not, he became greedy.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:39 PM

20. GLAD you came back!

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:45 PM

22. Thanks.

Michael, this really took courage to write. It took more courage to really look at yourself and change what you didn't like. Your story is one of great hope and honesty. I wish you great success and all the love and peace in the world.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:52 PM

23. Thank you for Sharing M.

It is hard to look into that mirror with honesty. But if you can't be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

It can be very cathartic to release anger, frustrations and so many other negative emotions. Now you have room for the positive, So I'll start you off with a virtual

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:54 PM

24. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

It is so good to read that people can learn sympathy and compassion. We are the same age so I understand how hard self reflection can be. You are an inspiration.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:56 PM

25. In my book you came from behind and ended up he winner

Great read by the way. I’m glad you’re here in DU.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 07:59 PM

26. Wow. Thanks for sharing that. It gives me hope that someone like you used to be

could still change in your forties and fifties.

You mention not having therapy, just taking a long hard look at yourself. Did any of the people around you, your friends or family or coworkers, play any part in this?

I keep wondering how to reach out to people who are at the point you were fifteen years ago, teetering on the edge of a possible new way of thinking . . . .

I'm so glad you found a place here.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:45 PM

102. I had a co-worker who helped, though not the way you expect.

We worked alone together at night. He was just like me in my earlier life. He was part of what changed me, when I heard him saying the same things I would have said earlier. My thoughts were "How can someone so intelligent say these things?" When I realized that was me as a younger man that made me think very hard about myself.

He was a smart, hardworking guy, and we got along fine as long as we did not discuss politics or religion. He was obsessed like many extremely religious folks are, over "The Big Three" Abortion, Women's Rights and LGBT Rights.

One of his favorite things to say was "If the Democratic Party would forget about "The Big Three", religious people would vote Democratic in droves because of the Democratic Party position on being pro blue-collar." I kept telling him that was what the part was like these days. But he would not accept that.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:00 PM

28. Thank you for sharing

This piece should be put in every red state small town newspaper. Have you thought of sending in to a paper as a letter to the editor?

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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:48 PM

54. No way.

If I published this with my real name, the MAGAts would go after me like a pit bull with raw meat. I have seen how they operate. I do not wish to get a bunch of death threats.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #54)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:56 PM

55. That's sad.

You could try without using your real name. But I guess they may not publish it then. And they may not anyways just because they'd also get threats.

Cheers.

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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #55)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:00 PM

57. Yes, most papers will not publish anyomous letters.

And I think my real identity would get out.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #57)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:49 PM

60. Send it to the NYT or the WaPo

or another major paper and ask for anonymity, or don't publish it.
Who knows?



cheers

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Response to LiberalLovinLug (Reply #60)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:52 PM

62. I will think about it. n/t

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #57)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 10:05 AM

87. Make up a name or use your middle name

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:05 PM

29. Thank you for your post.

It is so important to share.
Someone may need to read these words because they are close to
reaching the same realizations, thoughts and feelings.

Tikki

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:07 PM

30. Thank you for writing this and sharing.

Your transformation is amazing.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:11 PM

31. Thank you for your courage in sharing the story of your metamorphis. Although, it seems that the

seeds of kindness and liberality were always there. They were just covered over with hardened crust, but they did indeed blossom. FWIW, I believe the journey towards enlightenment is more important than reaching it. Happy trails.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:15 PM

32. My best friend when I was pre teens

 

was a Authoritarian person as you. He became a lifer in the Air Force which suited him. Surprise was,he and his Brother showed up at my Fathers Funeral years later. Had not seen or spoke to him in thirty years and first thing I noticed was his Baldness,this Guy had a head of hair like a Shepard Dog when last I seen him. Ask what was the deal,he was exposed to some nasty Chemical Fire in Kuwait,you guessed it Brain Cancer and his attitude towards life and his Children's future changed him over night.

He and I spent the whole rest of the Day and all night talking about what he missed be being a total A--Hole and spewing the line might is right and POC of Color was his enemy. To this day,do remember Him saying,wish I would have really understood what it would have been growing up knowing what I know now about caring for others .

To soon old,to late smart.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:19 PM

33. Thank you

Thank you for your courage. I hope you are becoming happier, too.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:26 PM

34. Wow...just wow. Thank you for sharing.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:36 PM

35. I really appreciate your post.

I have a story like that too, similar in some ways, different in others. One day I will post a confessions OP. I've been writing it in my head since I joined DU in 2016. Here's a teaser: Not only did I vote Libertarian, I worked for the party and ran for office as one. Now I am a straight D voter for the forseeable future.

People can change, can't they?

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:41 PM

36. Congratulations on your evolution

I know The Authoritarians explains the why--I certainly would like to know how to bring about transformations like yours. I'm not sure we can count on them to do enough introspection to change, and there's farmers and coal miners that are still solidly MAGAt.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:44 PM

37. Interesting. Good luck to you


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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:47 PM

38. Thank you for sharing there is hope for change

I had a few things similar but instead of authoritarian my parents were way too lax because of moms parents being overly strict she was determined not to be that way.

So I grew up not having to do anything, no chores, eat what I want, etc. My cousins were jealous and thought I was a spoiled brat. In some ways I was but I also was quiet and shy and the “good” girl and sensitive so they left me alone.

We also stopped going to church when I was 12 but that was year my brother left, my mom during menopause had break down, they lied to me everything like that was shameful so I was told my mom was sick. I got lots of fear in my childhood.

I was completely left to myself from then till I granduated, they no longer cared about my grades I went from A’s to C’s and I also got bullied in 8th and 9th grade. I told my mom and no one did anything.

So in high school senior year when a friend told me about this cool hippy church I went and got saved. It converted over to a right wing very political church after a few years. I let them tell me when to get married, young, who to vote for etc. Which was republican except for Jimmy the first time because he was born again. I got very pro life and stayed that way until my early 40’s.

What changed me? I started having doubts in my 30’s, most of us in church were working poor and yet the elders had new houses and cars and nice clothes. I left that church and went to a less strict one but I still had doubts that caused me to stop going.

Bush is what woke me up politically and right after he became president my younger daughter had a abortion and that changed me from pro life to pro choice, why because I just couldn’t think of my daughter as a murderer. I found this site in 2004, worked on Kerry campaign, Obama, etc and became more and more liberal and now my spiritual side uses mindfulness.

Back then I was very judgmental too, thought I knew everything.

The good part of it for you and me is we can have compassion and understanding for people who believe different instead of hate and judgement.

It is easy to jump too quick and judge Trump’s people but a lot of them are brainwashed like you and I were and we both know changing took a long time not a quick conversation with someone with a different view.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:47 PM

39. You sound like a good man. Maybe you always were.

I don’t know if you ever really did anyone harm but it’s clear you were seeking something meaningful in all kinds of places, and working with the raw material you had. I’m glad you are finding meaning now that is more inclined toward being open toward and helping others. And I think you’re hoping for some compassion toward people who, like you, hold some very hard to fathom attitudes when you haven’t walked in their shoes. I know. I have beaucoup relatives who have loved me and I loved them, and for good reason, and they have some points of view I cannot fathom.

I think you have, and have always had, quite a bit to be proud of, whether you knew it or not. I believe in forgiveness and new starts for trustworthy folks. Peace, Michael. ❤️

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:48 PM

40. so glad you woke up and smelled the coffee.

welcome to the human race. The republican propaganda probably has many other victims.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:49 PM

41. Fantastic post... thanks for sharing your story.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:50 PM

42. Thank you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:52 PM

43. Thanks for sharing your story

It was inspiring to read your intellectual journey. Gives me hope for some people I know that are supporters of ideas that will bring our democracy/planet down.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:55 PM

45. Nice to read about your experiences at DU and how it turned things around for you.

It was the same for me.
I grew up in a fairly liberal Democratic leaning household. Not very political though.
However, as a gay man, the discovery of Gay Liberation in Chicago brought out the activism side of me.
Then years later when I moved to Wisconsin I was a fish out of water. Not much going on as far as
gay politics.
So I started doing work for some of the good Democratic candidates like Howard Dean, etc. etc.

And gratefully, a friend of mine told me about DU and I started looking at this site and liking it...a lot.
I've been coming here for over 10 years now and it has helped me learn and grow in so many ways.

Now, I come here most every day for all that DU has to offer. And being a gay man has never been
a problem. Lots of support and good karma here. So thanks to all you DUers who have been unselfish
in welcoming me.

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Response to trickyguy (Reply #45)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:06 AM

78. The first decade of this century was definitely the Dean decade for our party.

Howard and long-time DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias (who is also gay, by the way) remain friends (I am both fortunate and proud to say) to this day.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:58 PM

46. thanks for posting this

I see several young people who are on the same path you have taken. There is so much to feed selfishness and it is not just politics. Advertising tends to make people the center of the universe. Shopping shopping shopping is all about - you deserve it! Ayn Rand and her ridiculous book make selfishness a religion for some - and that does include the RW politicians.

Your post was well thought out and a good read.
Best to you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 08:59 PM

47. save for later. Thanks

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:14 PM

48. It takes balls to take responsibility for one's own bullshit.

It's painful to realize one's own unconscious prejudices, and it's maybe more painful to become conscious of them and kick them out of your life!
Kudos to you for the work you have done with yourself.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:35 PM

49. Thank you, MicaelS.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:41 PM

51. Thank you for the courage

to write and post that amazing story. If only others who grew up thinking like you would have the guts to do what you have done. Wishing you love and peace.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:44 PM

52. May the Gods and Goddesses Bless You,...

..... the circumstances of your youth and the beginning of manhood had your head screwed on backwards to many extents.

By way of introspective analysis you recognized those issues and charted a very different course to correct things in your life and become an entirely different human being.

Continue to grow,.. continue to search for the better person who resides with in you,.. share your experiences and try to help others realize the errors of their ways and help them too change course from being less selfish,.. more compassionate,.. and far more harmonious in their interactions with others.

Thank you for relaying to us your travels and journeys,.. how you knew there was a better approach to living ones life and ultimately found a higher peace,.. a higher sense of respect,.. and more compassion for you - yourself.

Many people lives their lives, and then die having never realized, recognized, that with in each and everyone of us a better person resides within. They are also often totally devoid as to how to go about finding that better person because they are afraid to look or do too deep a search within for fear they might recognize some ugly aspects of themselves that they would rather not come to terms with.

You have traveled beyond that apprehension and took a good inventory of yourself. That is 3/4 of the battle to understand who you are, where you are going, and what you hope to accomplish to make your tomorrows even better.

Growing and learning is a transitory phase and nothing to fear,.. because that is how we become better human beings and persons.

Again thank you for relaying your life story with us,.. it is so encouraging to hear of changes that come - bringing along astounding positive results for all parties concerned.

Be Well - May Peace and Harmony Come Your Way.


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Response to magicarpet (Reply #52)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:59 PM

56. Thank you very, very much.

I really appreciate your post.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #56)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:36 PM

59. .

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 09:45 PM

53. (( ))

🙏🏽

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:32 PM

58. An extremely belated, welcome home!

My grandparents were shockingly older for the time when they had my mom, their only child together (my grandfather had another son from a previous marriage who was nearly 30 years my mothers senior). They were in their 50's and 40's back in the mid 1940's when she was born. She was a surprise, to say the least. She too, was spoiled.

She was older than you I think, but extremely similar in many ways. They were also Depression survivors, they had an authoritarian streak which ran wide and deep in them. They raised her by their standards from their era, which even though they were Democrats, led to her being the opposite in her youth. This seems odd to me now, but perhaps it's not uncommon? I'm wondering if it may have been a communication problem?

We're from California, and as such my grandfather and grandmother, both were Lockeed (now Lockeed Martin) pensioners, and they despised Reagan. I still remember my mother baiting them with him when I was small and he was running for president. She ultimately didn't vote for him, or Carter, but her mind was definitely a mess back then. Like you, she's come out the other side since, thankfully.

I've never been a Republican. For some odd twist of genetics my empathy runs deep and is hardwired into me. Nature rather than nurture, in an odd twist. According to my mom I've been like this since I developed my personality as a toddler, it's just grown since then. Sadly, it caused strife between us when I was small and I didn't understand why she didn't like me. I didn't realize I was different but I knew she didn't like me. She did her best to burn my empathy out of me, but it's truly too deeply ingrained in my core to avoid. There were some interesting teenage years, to be sure.

Funny aside, I at one point thought you might be a right leaning Latino. I can't for the life of me recall how I came to wonder that, but I know I remember having the thought once.

I'm really happy for you that you worked it all out in your own mind, and I hope you're in a healthier and happier place. Even considering these current bleak times.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #58)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 10:51 PM

61. Thanks for your post.

"A right leaning Latino". That is hilarious.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #61)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 11:12 PM

65. You're welcome.

I want to impress why I mentioned my impression, and subsequently admitted how wrong it was just a bit more, if you can bear with me?

We project onto others what we know and/or see daily. It's human nature, but it's not always correct. I caught myself shaking my head at myself when I learned a bit more about you.

See? We're all still learning and growing in this messy cluster we call life.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #65)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 11:18 PM

66. Wonderful. Thanks. n/t

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 11:01 PM

63. Hello from a fellow 1957'er



I am also a privileged White male. Fortunately, my upbringing was dramatically different. I was taught to see the troubles of others at a young age. My parents (though they were Republicans at that time) were Civil Rights activists. My parents switched party in 1969 during the Vietnam war. This happened soon after Nixon's invasion of Cambodia when they both started to see the truth.

I have voted for Democrats all of my life. What I see happening right now really scares me to the core. I see the loss of American democracy. I don't know if the Democrats can stop it. I think the 2020 election will be the most important election of our lifetime and if Trump isn't sent packing dramatically we will likely have lost our democracy. I also feel that if the democratic party tries again with the failed policy of "playing to the center" we are doomed to further dangerous failure. It is past time to take a real stand for the truth and for the common people.

I am sorry to be so depressed and scared. I wish it were not true but 2016 shown us deep trouble that has been stirring in the depths our country for a long time. Trump, while horrible, is only symptom. The Republicans, while horrible, are only a symptom. It is time to stand up for the truth and for the people. If not now, we will have lost and Democracy in America will be an experiment that failed.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2019, 11:08 PM

64. Many of us are recent converts. Are at least some of us.

My story is not as dramatic as yours and I am younger. Suffice to say coming to age in the upper middle class under Reagan blinded me to so many realities.

President Obama and the Republican reaction to him made the scales fall from my eyes. That and finally the living of life open minded as my dad tried to teach me. Wish he had lived to see my conversion, but I don’t live with regrets.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

67. My first vote was for Reagan


Im 60 now, that conservatism is Gone with the Wind,
you learn a lot as you go...
Many of us struggle, maybe that's why we come here.

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #67)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 02:14 AM

68. Same here

In 1970 when he ran for a second term as CA governor. It was the first and last time voting for him. If there was ever a vote cast that I wanted back, that would be it.

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Response to Zambero (Reply #68)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:13 AM

70. Not me!

I have been a Union supporter/ Democrat from the time I could vote!

That my because I watched and knew personally what union members had to go through to get decent pay and benefits. Then watched succeeding Politicians destroy it all.

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #67)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:16 AM

79. My very first vote was for a Republican, too

But not because I was ever a Republican. The old boy Democratic machine in Philadelphia, where I was in college, ran the corrupt, right-wing police commissioner, Frank Rizzo as their candidate for mayor. Rizzo was an arrogant, neo-fascist buffoon who belonged in the American Nazi Party more than anywhere else, but that wouldn't have gotten him in a position to get rich. His Republican opponent, Thatcher Longstreth, was a soft-spoken bureaucrat type, but he did not get his rocks off by seeing thug cops beat anti-war protesters with their nightsticks, so I voted for him.

Rizzo won, but he quickly said Nixon was "his friend," and switched to the Republican Party, which was where he belonged the whole time anyway. Questions soon arose as to how he was suddenly building a $400,000 house on a $40,000 salary (this was 1971-2, don't forget), and Rizzo soon faded into deserved obscurity, although there is still a disgusting statue of him in downtown Philadelphia. That was the only time I voted for a Republican, and I am not in the least ashamed of it.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:31 AM

71. Thank you for your story. Very moving.

The only advice I would give is to enjoy every moment you have. You deserve it.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:36 AM

72. Thank you, Micael for sharing your story. It contributes to DU solidarity and learning.

I think it would be a nice feature of DU if we had a "story library" where people could share parts or all of their life story. These stories help us all to remain open minded, as well as to better tolerate and deal with right-wingers.

I was raised by fantastic folks that went through the Great Depression in the most difficult ways. With large extended families of farmers and timber folks, they were kind, loving, sharing and very compassionate and I inherited all that. At home, despite many hardships we felt at peace at all times.

Now, at 71, I'm finding the world seems no longer compatible with that type personality, or at least most days it feels that way. Selfishness, self-centeredness mixed with hearty doses of smart-ass seems the norm today. Social media just cranks up the volume and encourages that behavior (I can't use it). Life can be hard on soft-hearted shits like me these days.

My folks raised me strict but I would not call them authoritarian. Our youth back then were expected to follow the rules and always show respect to older people and those with legitimate authority. However, the difference from today is that we also were taught to never worship those we respected, and strangely enough to question the validity of authority. There's a powerful difference between that attitude and the typical conservative personality who is totally blind to any flaw in their authoritarian structures.

I went through a very healthy dose of chemical abuse recovery a number of years back. One of the foundational principles I learned was dragging all my dirty laundry out of the closet and into the sunlight, AND sharing it with other human beings. That is unbelievably healing to the human condition for anyone. Thank you for bringing your story to us.

.. ............

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:46 AM

73. Wow, MicaelS - that is a stunning confessional. Thank you for opening up to us.

It can be easier in a venue like this where we’re all anonymous to one degree or other.

I acutely (and too painfully) understand your recollections about verbal abuse. My mother was like that, too. To her credit, she never hit me. Did raise her hand a couple of times as though to do so, but she never followed through. As I learned what an abusive father she and her siblings had, and the mother who did nothing to check that horrible behavior of his, I came to understand how deeply wounded she was.

And one can still have that understanding while still thinking of that old saying “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Like you, I always felt that whoever first came up with that one obviously never met my mother!

I sympathize and empathize. I’m glad you found your way back in, and began discovering what an outstanding resource this site is. I’ve come to view it as an online think tank.

Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, and your amazing journey “into the light.” You’re certainly in the right place to kick ideas and experiences around with others here. We all learn so much, and gain so much thought-provoking enrichment and wisdom from each other.

Welcome back! We’re all the better, being able to learn from your struggle.


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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 05:37 AM

74. welcome. its easy to be seduced by the rite's messaging. kudos to you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 05:54 AM

76. Thank you so much for

sharing your story, MicaelS! That was quite a journey.

Thank you also for your votes for Prez O and HRC!

I only hope that there are many more who, like you, have enough introspective reflection to change themselves.

But if they haven't changed by NOW - with such flagrant evidence before their eyes and ears on a daily basis - I wonder whether they ever can or will.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 07:46 AM

77. Wow!

Thank you! You write so well. I was born in 58 so I felt like I was seeing your story in relationship with my timeline.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:22 AM

80. Having left church is the strongest indicator of support for Trump, interestingly

It's tangential to your whole post, that just stood out to me.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:26 AM

81. Some of us got here in what might be described as a straight line

You sound like you got here via a wide parabola. Quite some emotional acrobatics, but it sounds like you were asked to swim the English channel with a five pound lead weight tied to each foot. More is the greatness of your accomplishment for having made it to the other side.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:46 AM

82. Thank you for sharing your story

I too am a white male born in 1957, but I had the benefit of a very different upbringing. My parents also grew up during the Depression, and they were very left of center. Both worked full time when I was growing up, so I was raised to some extend by my mom's older sister who lived with us.

Aunt Kate was the most compassionate and ethical person I ever met, having devoted her life to helping people as a labor organizer. She was active in the Communist Party of America until it was revealed how monstrous the Soviet regime had been. She spent 10 months in jail during the height of McCarthyism when they tried to deport her, but the little Croation village where Kate was born had no record of her birth.

In my household the N-word would have gotten me into big trouble. MLK's assassination was a very sad day. I was staunchly against the Vietnam war.

What I'm trying to say is that children need love and ethical guidance. As a society this is our biggest failure. MAGAts were made, not born.

Where I am now is how I was raised. Your journey was much more difficult and painful. I respect and admire how you overcame your disadvantages.

Twenty or thirty years ago I would have hated your guts, but after reading your heartfelt story that hatred is more on me than it is on you.

There but for an ethical upbringing go I.

It's easy to dismiss MAGAts as idiots and assholes, but most of them are simply the product of their early life experiences and/or emotional trauma. How many can overcome the big lies at the core of their beliefs?

Not many, I fear. You are extraordinary.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:47 AM

83. Hell of a journey.

Welcome home. We've been waiting for you.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 08:59 AM

84. You have helped convince me further that being a Democrat means

taking a long hard look at who we are, how we got here, and what to do about it.
In short, accepting responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
Good Job!

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 09:38 AM

85. Excellent post

It is reassuring to know that some people actually can and do change. I've always believed it was possible, but we see it so rarely. I suppose this should be a reminder not to write people off as "hopeless".

I am so happy for you, that you found your path. Your self-awareness is inspiring.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 10:05 AM

86. I am not trying to be critical....and thank you for sharing....however

 

I just want to point out that there is a strange irony between this post and your tag line. We might loose some political battles being "too nice", and "going high, when they go low" might sound cheezy. However, these are our values of empathy, respect, communication, compassion that guide us to political outcomes.

In the process of trying to win elections, if we become the other side, then you will just have two republican parties. Going high is a reference to how we handle insults and corruption. We do not insult back, we do not cheat to win. We meet those tactics with reason, compassion, etc. Even compassion for people who are on the other side. Because we realize, as you have shared, some of the reasons that they are how they are. I can not blame you for your previous actions or opinions because i know your environment shaped you. And, what would blaming you do anyways....

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Response to mentalslavery (Reply #86)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 10:30 AM

88. You're right.

That is an old sig, and I changed it. I hardly see it anymore since I use my phone to post almost all the time. Thanks for reminding me.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #88)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 12:07 PM

91. Cheers...love the new one...could not agree more!

 

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 11:02 AM

89. Thank you for sharing your story. 🍀

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 11:40 AM

90. Thank you !!!!

Your posting has given me some much needed insight. Without understanding the temptation is to view MAGA's as less than human, I don't want to do that. I want to see this country heal and progress and understanding each other is the first step towards that goal. Again thank you!!

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 02:40 PM

92. Thank you for sharing your story and journey

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 02:47 PM

93. I'm glad I read this

and I'm glad you wrote it. Cheers pal. Welcome.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 03:11 PM

94. Thank you for your wonderful post!

I think everyone is capable of change, but I suspect there is some kind of genetic component to the authoritarian personality. I also believe, as someone who grew up in a liberal albeit religious household (I have since rejected all religious teaching), that authoritarianism and strict adherence to religion are related. (I have not yet read The Authoritarians.)

To self reflect and change takes a tremendous amount of effort and is a testament to the kind of person you are, in your essence.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 03:25 PM

95. Altemeyer should be required reading.

https://theauthoritarians.org/Downloads/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

I have two right wing cousins & one rwnj cousin. The nut job is infected with hateful religion & is many degrees worse than the other two, who I think are coming around that the Con is . . . well, the Con.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:23 PM

96. Thank you for sharing your own story

It was very enlightening indeed.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #96)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:20 PM

99. Thanks. Just keep it in mind...

The next time I post something stupid. BTW, I always enjoy YOUR posts, and learn something every time. Sometimes they get me upset, but then I remember I still have a log ways to go.

Thanks for everything you do. Best wishes always.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 05:21 PM

97. Powerful writing.

I loved reading you life story. Thank you for investing the time to write it.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2019, 06:48 PM

98. I absolutely get it. I'd be you if I were not gay.

 

I grew up in the South in the typical authoritarian Southern Baptist style. There are a few things that kept me from becoming one of them. I'm gay, I have an alcoholic mother and a schizophrenic brother. Among other things.

What all that means is I started questioning things at a very young age. Younger than you did. Gay boys in the South are not appreciated for their sarcastic wit and fabulous sense of style. Being an outsider at a young age prevented me from becoming a MAGAt. Questioning why God wouldn't fix me or my mother or my brother no matter how sincerely I prayed was the start.

If I were the typical straight boy, with the typical Southern family, I'd be one of them right now.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #98)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:23 PM

100. Thank you.

I got asked a number of times over the years, "Are you queer?" Because I did not like sports, and did not like showering with other men. I can only imagine what your life was like growing up, especially Southern Baptist.

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Response to MicaelS (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2019, 02:33 PM

101. Kicketty Kickin'

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