FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #5: “When it comes to regretting past choices, liberals lead conservatives when it comes to their vote.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 16th, 2010

A LOT OF conservatives regretted voting for Richard Nixon.  But not for the reason you think.  If the election was today with everything we know now, conservatives probably wouldn’t elect him.  Even if you take Watergate out of the picture.  You see, something changed during his presidency.  And it wasn’t the voters. 

He changed.  The conservative candidate governed as a liberal.  He embraced Keynesian economic policy (Big Government and big spending to solve all problems).  Deficit spending and inflation led to the end of responsible government (the decoupling of the dollar from gold so they could keep printing money).  If this was the conservative platform going into the election, few conservatives would have voted for the ticket.

This is one type of regret.  Regret at being tricked or duped.  This is when a person’s core beliefs don’t change.  It’s when their candidate changed.  But there is another type of regret.

THE POPULAR CONCEPTION liberals have of conservatives is that they are a bunch of old, stodgy white men.  Out of touch with reality and mired in the past.  Whereas liberals think of themselves as young.  Cool.  Progressive.  Their eyes are open to what the future can be, not to what has been.

Young.  That’s key.  Many liberals are young.  Or, better said, a lot of the young are liberals.  What else can you say about the young?  Many are in school.  Many don’t have a job.  Many aren’t married yet.  Many aren’t raising a family yet.  See the pattern?  They’re young and idealistic, i.e., liberal, because they can be.  When they start working, get married, buy a house, raise children, etc., they find they can’t be so idealistic anymore.

Binge drinking, getting high and bedding coeds was okay in college for you, but you’re not so keen on your daughters following your example.  In fact, you kinda gloss over that part of your life when talking to your kids about your past.  When the weight of being a parent really hits, you begin to regret all the hell you put your parents through.

In college you were all for lowering the drinking age, legalizing drugs, keeping abortion legal, taxing the rich to provide free benefits for the poor (and college students), etc.  As a parent, though, you’d like to see the drinking age raised to 35 and probably voted against allowing medical marijuana.  When you’re working 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week to provide for your family, you start looking at all that withholding tax.  And you’re not thinking about how you’re helping those who need help.  You’re probably thinking things like ‘what the f***’ and ‘get a job you leech’.  And, if you have daughters, you’d probably like to see chastity belts brought back into vogue (even though YOUR daughters will keep their chastity until their wedding night – when they’re 35).

GROWING UP IS a learning process.  Children think they can eat third helpings of cake and ice cream, washed down with glasses of super sweet fruit punch and then run out and play in the hot summer sun.  Those of you who have had to clean up the resulting mess know that eating and drinking like that does not end well.  Children learn, too.  In time.  Until they do, parents watch out for them.

Getting a driver’s license is special.  It severs the chains of childhood.  You can go places and do things.  Without your parents.  You can speed, drive around railroad crossing barricades and hang out on a Friday night drinking beer while driving.  And other dumb things.  There’s a reason car insurance is expensive for young drivers.  Because they do stupid things behind the wheel.  But they learn.  In time.  Until they do, the police are there to help them along.

Then these kids turn 18, graduate from high school, leave home and go to college.  And the party is only starting.  Some things never change.  Students are still binge drinking, getting high and bedding coeds.  And, of course, voting.

WE CHANGE AS we grow.  Children think about ice cream and cake.  Teenagers think about getting their driver’s license.  College students think about partying and trying to change the world (sometimes to enhance their partying).  Parents think about doing what’s best for their kids.  The middle-aged start to think about retirement and holding on to what they have (because most think that Social Security will not be there for them).  The elderly think about their mounting medical concerns and medical costs.

Where we are in the growth process influences our vote.  More kids (teenagers and early 20s) want to lower the drinking age, legalize drugs and tax the ‘rich’ than grownups.  More grownups want to lower taxes and cut government spending than kids.  But grownups were once kids.  They thought and prioritized like kids, too.  So it is likely that many voting conservative today voted liberal when they were a kid.  And they’ve grown to regret some of their votes.

This is the other kind of regret.  It’s when we change.  And realize the consequences of our previous votes.  Votes made for the moment, not the future.  And now that we have reached that future our youth helped to create, it is often not what we want anymore.  But the damage is done.  And it can’t be easily undone.  But you can’t tell this to kids today.  They won’t listen.  Just as you didn’t when you were their age.

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