I have for years tried to discover what my position in the world even is. And my "little hypocrisy" is that while I am basically a Democrat I never was really at home with the ideas of a lot of social liberals. Well, I am and I'm not. And it all began with my father.
My dad is the only pro-Life anti-Obama Democrat I know. Oh, as a Jew (albeit a convert) I have known people (particularly recently) who are liberal except where Israel or some other issue was concerned. But its more than that. I'm thirty two and I've never had sex. I prefer life that way; its simpler. There are no emotional entanglements. I'm vegetarian but I also keep Kosher. I am a Jew but despite the apparent decline in religiosity in Jews I try to keep the old fashion laws regarding Shabbat (the Sabbath) and of course I prayed with the Orthodox men at my synagogue before we got a Conservative Rabbi.
It all began with Dad.
My dad did all of his thinking when he was young. He read Karl Marx. He was an athiest. He was only a union Democrat (pretty moderate now) but he was a Democrat. He read "The Population Bomb" and accepted the theory that the enviroment was sacred. I'm not saying it was all good, but at least he was thinking.
Then my mom left him. Frankly, her reasoning about him was sound. He even had guns stashed around the house (like in my sister's room), and his spending has always rivaled the parisitical parents in Dickens' novels. She wanted to be a house wife. But with his spending, she couldn't do that. She got a job. So he spent her money, too. On what? Boats, a travel trailer, mopeds, etc., etc. I don't know how to adequately explain it. My mom and sister were wearing clothes from the Salvation Army so he could spend his money on a table saw. Mom would yell and scream; Dad didn't care.
Anyway, when Mom left I was four.
And Dad converted to fundamentalist Christianity. Why? Because God said, in his mind at least, that it was immorral for a woman to leave her spouse. Somehow, Dad would get her back. It didn't work. But into her second marriage, Dad was still angry at her.
When Dad's second wife (a year older than my sister Gayle) left him, it was the same thing times ten. He blamed her father; he said that Jack was going to hell for supposedly convincing the "mentally ill" Renae into leaving him. He went to ever more fundamentalist churches to get onto their prayer lists so she would have to return. Eventually he settled on three a week. And she was all he would talk about. He wouldn't even put her aside to practice playing the clairenet or watch a James Bond movie.
How did this affect me? When I was a child I idolized my father. I doubt it was the fact that he liked Jazz or was a Christian, but of course, these things affected me. I saw him two weekends a month. It did not help that when I was young I didn't get along with my stepfather. I genuinely wanted to be with my father.
However, as I grew older, these views that I had been concientiously taught by my father on the highways between Emporia and Lawrence (my mom and stepdad took me to Emporia from Wichita). Then I discovered the mismatch: did his pro-life fundamentalism really fit the proggressive Democrat part of his personality? It eventually ended with his watching Lou Dobbs for hours everyday after his retirement. He complains all about China and Mexico, even though his third wife is my age and Chinese.
It was in adulthood that I dumped the religion. Then I studied Spinoza and eventually became Jewish myself. But its always been the rituals of services and the acts of keeping Kosher that appealed to me. So what am I? Am I really religious because of that guy? Of course, I try to be a good person but my Lord--how do I explain the man who is barely discussible with family? How do I admit that it involves things I only share with my sister. (I remember Gayle saying, 'I'd be a millionaire if I had a dollar for everytime Dad nearly killed me.')
My skeleton in my closet is my Dad. There are times when I count the days until he dies.