I was born in the early 1970s, which makes me part of the Generation X. My parents are baby boomers. In my parents’ day, Republicans were, for the most part, what Democrats stereotype Republicans to be today. Country club members or at least they played golf/tennis, above average wage earners, Biblical social conservatives, fiscally conservative and mostly straight and white.
And then our world started changing, rapidly. When I was in high school, cable television and especially MTV became mainstream. CDs replaced vinyl records and VHS tapes showed up. The average person started to be able to afford a computer in their own home. I took typing and learned how to type on mimeograph paper and then how to type on a computer, printing out my results on the “dot matrix” printer.
When I was in my last year of college, Texas A&M got email and I learned about the “internet”. I think I remember calling it the world wide web, but that’s a distant memory. I was fascinated at watching my friend “download” guitar sheet music from what, to me, was thin air and electrons. Starting my first job, they gave me a laptop computer that was a miniature brick called an IBM ThinkPad which, due to it’s bulky size and weight, was quickly nicknamed the StinkPad, as well as a pager. Until then, only drug dealers carried pagers.
Fax machines were a blip in the technology race. No sooner were we able to zap a copy of a piece of paper from one place to another and poof – we could just email it using “Word Perfect”. As I continued to work, saving my work went from floppy disks to smaller “floppy disks” to Zip drives to Jaz drives to CDs to flash drives over six years. Palm Pilots came and everyone thought it was useful to be able to digitize one’s calendar, addresses & contact information – AND THEN they made it a phone! Brilliance!
When I moved to France, I could see my parents on Yahoo Messenger as I talked to them over the phone. Now, my French husband speaks to his parents back home using Skype. Information is at my finger tips and I have been trained and conditioned to take in new information, assess, accept or reject and adapt at lightning speed.
Along with all this technological magic came cultural change. Information spreads quickly and misinformation seems to spread even more so. Gen Xers have grown up in this environment from its mainstream birth. The Republicans and Democrats of today looks nothing like that of yesteryear.
I am a female Gen X Republican. I practiced most of the attachment parenting suggestions. I breastfed my children. I buy organic and straight from the farm when possible, pastured eggs and raw milk when I can. I cook most of our meals at home and eat out less than once per week. We are grain-free for health reasons. I gave up sugar and dairy because it wasn’t doing me any good. I take supplements and prefer herbal remedies when they make sense. I am pro-vaccines but am sparing about some. I try to avoid giving my children too many antibiotics. We practice good hygiene habits but a little dirt doesn’t hurt either. We grow some of our vegetables in our raised bed garden in our backyard. We gave up cable television for a while but I missed football. We recycle regularly. We collect water in our two rain barrels. We are fiscally responsible and generous in our giving. We attend church regularly and our church is located in what used to be a Kroger grocery store. My friends are from all over and from varied backgrounds, religions, races, marital situations, etc. I appreciate small businesses for their courage and good customer service, and I appreciate large chains for their inexpensive prices. I believe in treating every human being as a valuable human being. I am content in the life we lead.
The face of the Republican party is changing and it’s time we use the technology we have to spread the word. We have become what progressives desired to be in many ways and we do it better than them.
If I could have one political wish granted in these next 18 months, it would be this: That every Republican would share what a) Republicans are FOR and b) how practicing conservative values has enabled them to live their best life possible.
How about you?