teenagers from around the world discuss politics, specifically for people who can't vote, on this biweekly podcast

Growing Up With a Republican Parent

Growing Up With a Republican Parent

For as long as I can remember, Fox News has always been on in my house. I was born in America, as was my dad, but we live in Ireland now. The channel is his go-to for catching up on the news back home. Over the years, I've often sat with him as we watched shows like 'The Hive' and the 'The O'Reilly Factor' and unwittingly absorbed everything I heard. Granted, there is only so much a child can take in.

As a person with liberal and democratic views now, it's really funny to see how my political opinions have changed.

When you said Obama or Democrat, I would think of a scary haunted mansion with a long twisted driveway. I imagined villains I knew from Scooby Doo, all sitting at a long table discussing their evil plans. It was THAT bad.

I was seven when Obama won the presidency in 2008 and eight when he was sworn in. At the time, I had such a twisted view of the Democratic Party. I did not possess the knowledge required to sufficiently assess the party and it's views at eight-years-old. My dad voted for McCain, so I was definitely biased as a young child, since you assume everything your parents do is 'right.' (pun intended). When you said Obama or Democrat, I would think of a scary haunted mansion with a long twisted driveway. I imagined villains I knew from Scooby Doo, all sitting at a long table discussing their evil plans. It was THAT bad. I now wonder how my views got to the point where I could barely comprehend what was discussed on the channel. You can blame my run-away imagination, but I beg to differ and argue the power of politically-tilted media.

When I was around ten, my friend said that Bush started a war. This statement left me shell-shocked. I vainly denied it and defended him. I had no idea Bush was making decisions about what soldiers did in the Middle East. To me, Bush was the President i.e. the best man in America. In my mind, him and war conflict did not intersect.

During the 2012 election, my dad supported Mitt Romney, but I don't recall favoring a candidate. No doubt, when I asked questions about the election, I was probably given a less than accurate account of what Obama wanted to do. It didn't seem to phase me.

Fast forward to this year, I was laughing at videos of Obama cracking dad jokes and chuckling at the memes of the Obama-Biden bromance. In the early days, I watched the news (Fox News, no less) and stared at the TV screen in disbelief that a man like Trump was running. I was comforted by the polls and broadcasters saying there was no way he'd get the Republican nomination. No comment now.

Fast forward to this year, I was laughing at videos of Obama cracking dad jokes and chuckling at the memes of the Obama-Biden bromance.

I have an ongoing joke with some of my friends that I'm going to run in the 2036 election and win and become the first woman president. I had even started on my campaign hashtags: #VottaforPresident2036. And although this was a joke, I wasn't fully embracing Hillary Clinton as the potential first woman president. Even up to Election Day 2016, I wasn't well versed in her promises and was mostly clouded by her email scandal, but I was more than willing to sacrifice my chance at becoming the first woman president to avoid the nightmare of a Trump presidency. When the news played in our house (guess what channel) my dad would say, “We're gonna build a wall!,” for the sole reason that he knew I hated Trump. My dad didn't love Trump or Clinton, but he didn't vote in last year's election because he didn't receive his ballot in the mail. (We didn't know that states aren't required to send overseas citizens their ballots anymore.)

As an aspiring journalist with an interest in politics, my political evolvement is interesting to see. I now know the power the media can have and how the media carries out their political agenda. Although I regret the years I wasn't bleeding blue, I think being formerly brainwashed by conservative media gives me a slight edge when it comes to assessing 'fake news.’

Right now, my political differences with my dad make for really interesting discussions and debate. I enjoy the not-very-deep schism. It aids me as I assess topics with a more rounded view.

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