I was born in 1964 and can say that I don’t really remember much in the way of world, or national, events during the 60s and 70s. What I do remember are flashes of war and protesters on the silver screen when Dad would watch the evening news, but only when the weather or an illness prevented me from being outdoors.
Life was full of the normal activities of the young and innocent:
- playing with my sister who is only one year older and my best friend;
- exploring, holding, touching, feeling every tree, bush, rock, animal and insect I could find; and,
- saving the world from dastardly villains with the help of supernatural powers bestowed upon me whenever I fashioned a bath towel around my neck just so, never really playing the role of a known character, just one of “the good guys.”
My days were filled with the pleasures and wonderment only a young girl who’s a tomboy can experience, playing with nightcrawlers, lightning bugs and toads. Those days usually ended with this tomboy transforming into the best, most beautiful, ballerina known to mankind, twirling and leaping through the living room, trailing one of Mom’s scarves behind me to trace delightfully intricate designs in the air for my imaginary, but, oh, so adoring fans.
Throughout my life, my concerns mirrored most of those my age around me. In other words, I was boringly normal. In high school, I focused on those things important to high school girls who are making, and adapting to, the periodic uncomfortable changes that come with growing up. As a young adult, my concerns were aimed at my immediate environment – friends, family, job, car and having fun. Politics meant nothing to me. That was something “they,” the older generation, dealt with, not me. I was too cool and just too busy to concern myself with such things.
I can remember very clearly when that started to change, albeit slightly. I sat with my parents and listened to Ronald Reagan as a senior in high school. The Great Communicator stirred something within me with his eloquent speeches and apparent love for this country, something which was new. It’s called patriotism. He instilled in me American pride. He made me proud to be an American, and all that entails, in a country with such a great man as its leader. This man changed me, though I still concerned myself with the more pleasant, and not so pleasant, things in my life, none of which included politics.
I continued to listen to President Reagan whenever I could for the simple reason that it made me happy. I liked the old man. Then, as an adult, living on my own, I remember seeing the fruits of his policies. I watched the wall in Germany come tumbling down at the hands of those it had kept separated for far too long. Seeing the stark contrast of people from each side of the fence made a lasting mark on me. One group was gray and haggard looking, almost fearful, as though they were walking out of a prison for the very first time, wanting to hope all would be well, but afraid they were going to be told it was all a joke and be thrown back in. The other group was bright and cheerful, aggressive in showing it, and unafraid of the consequences. I began to pay attention to politics even more at that time.
Years have passed since then and I don’t ever recall making a conscious decision to become a radical. I think I came to it because living in the adult world, working, paying taxes, paying bills, etc., made me realize that I had no choice but to pay more attention to politics. I became aware that things decided in Washington, DC, impacted me and my family directly, something I think I did my best to ignore for as long as I can remember.
Like my parents, I found myself watching the news or reading the newspaper, shaking my head at those things I found foolish, but not doing anything about it. In fact, I didn’t know anything could be done, aside from voting, to voice my opinion. I had no idea how to contact my elected representatives. I’m assuming it was taught in high school, but, remember, I wasn’t paying attention. I had what I thought were more important matters to tend.
That has changed now. I’d be lying if I said my world revolved around politics, however, I do write my representatives and others to voice my opinions. I listen to, and learn, all I can about political candidates and donate financially to those campaigns I support. I advocate on behalf of those I support whenever the opportunity arises. I have attended rallies and protests regarding issues that are important to me. I plan on attending a pro-troop rally next weekend to show my support for those who fight and die to keep America safe and to keep our freedoms and liberties from being attacked. In other words, I insert myself into the political processes of this country as the Founders intended. And for that, I am labeled a radical by some friends and family members.
So there you have it, the list of the horrible things I do which make me a radical. If you pay attention and take part in the process, you're a radical. You can bitch at the kitchen table about what is going on in the world, but you can't do anything else because that makes you a radical. You can't view anything as important enough to discuss it with friends and family, because if you do, you're a radical.
Kidnapping, murdering, bombing, and committing suicide for a political agenda are no longer required to be considered radical. Your brazen participation in the political process as our Founders intended, through peaceful means and within the law, are all that is required according to some.
I thought I should detail for you my journey to becoming a radical so that you’d know how to escape it yourself if you saw it beginning in your life. Don’t pay attention to what’s going on in this country or you, too, will become a radical. You’ll start to fear for your country when you learn of the goals of some of our “loyal” representatives, representatives who are much more comfortable with the policies of Stalin and Kim Jong Il than those policies which exist in the United States. You’ll start to fear for your children when you learn of the goals of those who think your children are the perfect tools for transforming America and mankind into something they were never meant to be. And, because you’ll become angry at those laws passed by activist judges perverting the Constitution, taking away the rights of a great many Americans in order to pander to a few, by all means, do not pay attention. It's better to keep your complaints and concerns to yourself, even though your political and ideological opponents haven't and don't, and don’t dream of doing anything more. Wouldn't want to become a radical, now would you? I suppose your fate and the fate of our country are best left up to everyone else, at least that is what I'm told.