Political Identity and Geography
A Hubpages Experience
Hubpages is one of the more popular, successful online sites available to freelance writers and Indy Authors, as well as individuals with various interests and intentions for utilizing a site such as this.
Recently, Ms. Lisa Vollrath, an entrepreneur, mixed-media artist, writer & designer from Euless,Texas, submitted a question for public consumption and voluntary feedback. I should mention, Lisa is also currently a popular member of Hubpages. Her question is as follows:
Where have you lived and what is your political affiliation? Lisa continues with~~
"I'm curious about whether where people live and how many places they've lived, influences their political ideas. So tell me where you've lived and how you identify yourself politically."
Lisa shares with her readers that she has lived in New York, California, Virginia, Michigan and Texas. She identifies as Liberal.
On a personal level, my immediate reaction was, "Great question!" I also realized I needed to give this some serious thought before offering my two cents, so that it might just be worth that two cents. I kept returning to this question in order to peek at what sort of comments Lisa was receiving. The vast majority of varied responses were fascinating to me, eye-opening and seemed to be authentic self-disclosures in terms of this particular topic. This allowed me to know it would not be easy for me without going back decades,taxng my memory for where I may have been politically at any given period in my life, "if" I had a viable political identity and why. Phew! I wondered, "Is this one of those times when a writer is allowed poetic license? Can we just fabricate and give some earth-shattering response that will go down in history?" I suppose it's possible that some people are tempted to do this. I am not~ just can't. I insist on honesty and in being who I am at all times, with the courage and conviction to say what I mean and mean what I say. Fortunately for me, I am not a politician, never have been and I'm certain, never will be. I say "fortunately," because this means I don't need to concern myself much at all with what anyone thinks of my choices & ideals. The vast majority of us needn't prostitute ourselves for votes. What an insane concept, don't you think? Yeah, me too!
Just like Frank Sinatra~~MY Way
Once I reached the age that gave me the right to vote, as well as a sense of civic responsibility, I always registered and voted, locally and nationally. My American duty-bound upbringing was in tact, as well as an enormous list of other "shoulds,musts & HAVE to-s." However, thinking back, I have no choice but to admit that at that chaotically occupied time in my life, I'd have never passed the Alzheimer's diagnosis test. You know, "What's today's date?" "Who is the current President of the United States?" "Can you give me your address and phone number?"
Seriously, my access to any news, current events and important info was found on the calendar hanging in my kitchen. I was involved, no, scratch that. I was engulfed by, immersed in and drowning in~ Life, work, school, kids, daily duties, appointments, hurdles and chicken pox. Like I said, I registered and I voted.
So the reality is, not until about age 30 did I sit up straight, pay attention and embark upon my political involvement. That may seem shocking but take into consideration that pollsters on the streets of America have discovered only one in 25 American legal voters can answer less than 2 questions on politics correctly. I'm sure you know this to be true. The upside to my late start is that once I dove in, I did it in spades and haven't let up in 38 years. I'd not be foolish enough to consider myself an expert (I don't know if any of us can be) but I'm pretty damned savvy at this point.
So Lisa and all readers, I am a native of New York State. Born,bred, raised, educated & indoctrinated as the independent thinker I am, in Upstate Western New York, not ever in any way, to be confused with Downstate, New York City and Metropolitan area. Please understand this first and foremost. The easiest way for me to explain the vast difference between Upstate and down, would be to suggest you think, "Green Acres," my part of Upstate being the "Hooterville" section. That should be clear enough.
As an adult, I moved around a bit but mostly for less than two years at a time before returning back to my roots. As you might suspect, my moves were due to career at times, Military reasons at another time and my summer in Germany was a choice. Europe was the furthest away from my home, while my 2 year stints were Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Correct, not very far from my home state at all, although as we're painfully aware, they can be worlds apart politically.
In terms of these various places I lived, it shouldn't surprise you that I found nothing that affected my politics to any degree worth mentioning. Back at home each time and for the past twenty to twenty-five years, if I listen to the radicals from either side of the aisle, I still don't have a "real" political identity. Although it is completely real and acceptable to me, I am and have been for more than 2 decades, an Independent. As well as I know myself, Independent is positively the ideal label for me and I'm more than comfortable with this. As you might also not be surprised to know, in discussions, the right will tell me I'm too left and the left of course, will suggest I'm too right. My response? What the hell do they know about me? Psst....not much at all.
To include a few statistics, according to the Gallup poll, as well as pew research, in 2015, our nation cited Independents at 43% ( that seemed high to me, but it's in black and white~ OH! not Fake News, I hope!). These two sources also state that Independents are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S at 28 million, also in 2015. New York State in particular claims 12 million or 28%. It should be no secret that New York is largely a blue state. Bottom line is that I'm really not so alone but would not be disturbed to find I am.
At the end of the day, I cannot even imagine myself being so radically party loyal or dedicated at any point and time, as opposed to casting my vote for the candidate of my choice. I also freely admit to having voted against the person I'd not consider to give my vote to for Dog Catcher. In a few of those cases, frankly, I had no choice except to pass on my privilege to vote which I prefer not to do.
It looks to me that where I live has not thus far had much influence to speak of as to how I "identify" politically. Many, many other issues have guided my choice but if I was to be a flaming New Yorker, I'd be a rabid liberal......right? I mean, correct?
I am so happy to announce that I flatly refuse to write, speak or listen to anything even remotely political after I publish this. I'll just see if I can hold to that statement! I welcome your comments and/or criticism, in any tone you choose. Go ahead, knock yourself out.