I tell my story this way, because, Lisa Simpson tendencies aside, most of what I was for a long time, maybe more than most, was defined by my parents and the fact my mother gave Bobby Kennedy flowers when he touched down in our town when she was in high school.(And I suppose most little girls who watch a lot of TV, would quickly learn to prefer the glamorous, whip-smart Kennedy to glowery Nixon, even when they don't really know what a political scandal is). Basically, we followed the studies that say that the parent with the strongest identification influences kids' political development. My father used to be the blue-suit sort of Republican they don't really make anymore(You can read about his defection in my most popular diary "My Dad Is Now An Independent") but I can only remember a few times that we actually talked about it, once, comically enough, when I complained about how annoying it was that Mr. Howell expected everyone to do his share. He got intense and said "That's TV. Real rich people work hard."I still wonder why he gave me that lesson at that moment, although most parents probably tell their kids what's on the glowing box is not a documentary.
Not that all my early lessons were superficial.Despite what commentators on Fox News might believe, you can teach someone to work hard and expect a lot of herself and that It's Okay to Be Different. That doesn't always mean, of course, that it's easy to keep both those thoughts in your mind at once, though I did for some while, certain the combination meant I could roll my way into the middle class and beyond.(I still think the small-c conservative answer would be to let disabled people like me into the workplace to worry about vacation days and health care like everyone else. I wouldn't be here now, I might be heading up a website for the Log Cabin Crips.) Needless to say, that didn't happen. Really, really not. And that's when my politics really started to grow beyond the reflex to make my mother happy, or collegiate "Sex and The City" funtime feminism into real fights for myself and others. I am a Democrat because we are the ones who try to care for the ones who get left out, although sometimes I still think it would be restful to be one of those"Not a dime's worth of difference" people, but once you know things it's wrong to turn back.