By John Salcido / Tumblr / Twitter
I am at an interesting time in my life. There are many reasons for this, but one of the
biggest impacts to the interest level if my perspective. I am in my late 20’s and all of those
rebellious teenage urges and ideals have cascaded away but the erosion is still present.
I grew up in a moderately conservative household. I say moderately because I know
friends growing up who were forced to abide by even stricter rules than me (no matter how
insane and chaotic) but I also knew others who grew up in much more liberal settings.
My parents never really instilled any sort of political mindset in me. Our household was
always more focused on the religious side of things, and politics were rarely mentioned. I’m
sure my parents were Reagen/Bush supporters when I was growing up, although they never
specified any particular political alignment. I remember asking who they voted for back when
Bush Sr. was running for office the first time around. They never said, in fact they said it wasn’t
even polite to ask (thanks mom). The reason I know they voted GOP is the fact that they watch
certain news stations and read books by people of a certain view.
In 2008 I voted to Obama. I say this with a certain pride and I’m not afraid to tell people
if they are so impolite to ask and I am not sorry for it either. But, the focus is not why I voted for
Obama, the focus is how did a kid who grew up in a Republican household make such a swing
to the Left?
The road to the Left is paved with challenging moments. High school is probably one
of the most volatile places for a young mind. This was the first time I questioned my faith
and started what some would call a downward spiral (I call it a trek down the thorny road).
It was during this time that I witnessed firsthand, and for the first time, homophobia, drug
use, bigotry, religious intolerance, and many other things. I won’t bore you with the details as
most of it is mild compared to what goes on every day in other schools, but it came as a bit of
culture shock and it was amplified with the fact that it all took place in a private Christian school.
The point is, that all of this was a catalyst that set off a chain of other reactions in my
brain and after countless hours of soul-searching and debate, I came to the conclusion that
this world in which I found myself in was not the happy go-lucky fairytale land that I had been
The next stop on the road was my first real job. I don’t count my time working in the corn
fields of rural Illinois as a “real” job because it was, for lack of a better word, hell. My first real
job was working at a movie theater. I met a lot of very interesting people during my time there
(including my wife) and I am still friends with a lot of those people. The work environment there
was very different and, unlike high school, I was free to be myself.
The people I worked with had different views on life which further challenged my infantile
ideals. Through the years, my world-view molded into something completely different than it
ever had been, although I still clung to a lot of the values I had grown up with. I challenged
some, explored others. To be perfectly honest, my value system and mindset was very
fragmented and chaotic.
After I left the theatre, I went on to work a more traditional job (which I still currently
hold). By traditional, I mean cubicle. This was my first taste of the corporate world. A taste I
have learned to acquire and despise. The work environment is much different than my time at
the theater, but the company I work for promotes and encourages diversity. Because of this,
I have had the opportunity to meet even more interesting people with even more exotic and
During this time, I was married and had my first child, again, reshaping my own views.
One would assume that these two changes would steer me back to the conservative mindset,
and that would be a correct assumption, but only partially.
Where I stand now on most political issues is not where I stood five or ten years ago,
and I fully expect that my stance may change in the coming years. One thing that I have learned
is that with a lot of these issues, if you set down roots and hold your ground on any one issue,
you will either be trampled or you will lose ground on other issues.
I had never been much into politics before. In fact, I despised them. To some extent, I
still do. In early 2008, I was busy welcoming my daughter into the world, but I noticed, even with
my head buried in diapers and bottles, that a change was on the horizon. Not just for me and
my family, but for the country.
A previously little-known senator was making the rounds and picking up steam. Say
what you will about Obama, but one thing you can’t deny is that he got people interested in
politics, for better or worse. I will admit that one of the things that drew me to him at first was
that he is from Illinois. Even though he was born in Hawaii (not Kenya!) his roots are in Illinois.
I will confess that back in 2000, I wanted George W. to win. Why? Because I will still
stuck in that Republican mindset, although I didn’t fully understand it. After the election of
2000 and the events that followed in 2001 and 2003, I found my faith in the GOP waining.
After the 2004 election, my faith in the GOP gave out a death rattle. I did have a naive
notion that if John Kerry had won, the war in Iraq would end and everything would be OK.
But this Obama guy was something else. He promised change. I feel that this is one
of his campaign promises that he did deliver. Now, over the past two years we have seen
something astonishing. The GOP has shed this facade they have had up since before I was
born. Obama did something that no other Democratic president had ever done. He caught the
Today, we have the Tea Party Movement. This deformed, in-bred love-child of the
GOP. The sickest thing about this off-shoot party is that the GOP doesn’t claim ownership,
but does very little to distance themselves from these creeps. Not only that, but the movement
has always had Christian values mixed in, but with the recent injection by Glenn Beck and
his “movement”, the values have become even more distorted.
This group not only claims to be made up of true American patriots, but true Christians.
The sick irony of all of this is that they are neither. In fact, they have become the very thing they
have set out to fight against.
I could deviate now into a blistering commentary and go down a long list of reasons
why I feel this way, but that is for another time. The point I’m getting at is that the Tea Party
Movement was the final push for me to bring me in line with the ideals of the Left. But to
clarify, I don’t consider myself a full fledged democratic liberal. A lot of this comes from some
of the values that I never abandoned, and because of my faith in God and country, I cannot.
Now, it seems strange to me that a group of Americans who claim to be Christian do
not hold to its fundamental values. Love, peace, and tolerance. It seems that the only thing the
GOP and the TPM are interested in is keeping America English-speaking, white and Christian.
If you have made it this far into my rant, I think I owe you an explanation. I don’t want
to make this article about me. I want only to share where I am and why I am. In doing this,
I hope to help people understand. Understand what exactly? The mindset of Generation Y.
What this country needs today has nothing to do with protest signs, health care bills,
immigration reform, or even Ground Zero Mosques. It needs understanding, patience, and most
of all, tolerance. What kind of country would this be if people were afraid to have an opinion?
Collectively, we have to pull ourselves out of this nose-dive. Lets put down the signs, attend to
the sick and less fortunate, invite our neighbors over, and let our brothers and sisters build their
churches and mosques without fear.