hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:34 pm
it was during University when I moved into a student housing co-op, where the student owned corporation owned 9 houses, with about 140 students living in them. I loved the process of everyone coming together to run the corporation as well as each house. I loved that we had chores and some of the chores were to cook, and that we all broke bread together for dinner, and that lunch was available on a serve yourself basis. I loved that we had hard core conservatives, liberals, rednecks, foreign students to include Taiwan and china (1984-85!!), militant lesbians, and so on and so on. And we all had to find a way to cooperate, get along, and get stuff done.

I became an officer of the house I was in, eventually the president where I ran the monthly meeting where we talked about social issues and budgets and had to come to agreement.
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:39 pm
By politicized, I don't mean necessarily that you've necessarily become a major revolutionary, or anything like that! (Unless, of course, you did.) Wink

Political activity can take many forms, it's what caused your political awareness to come about that's just as interesting ...
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:43 pm
@hawkeye10,
Sounds a pretty amazing experience, hawkeye. You could run a respectable business based on what you learned from that experience! Wink
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:01 pm
@msolga,
It has helped me in supervising personnel in my work. Living with, and eating with, people that I have violent political and cultural differences with, and needing to work with them, was an amazing experience. Nothing is quite like having a vigorous debate with someone at dinner or at the meeting, and then that same night getting stoned and drunk with them.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:32 pm
@msolga,
I don't know, really..


I remember being a staunch anti-monarchist by about 8, (because I disapproved of hereditary positions!) and therefore refusing to stand for God save the Queen, which got me into a lot of ****, because the damned thing was a big deal back then.

Then, I don't know....perhaps reading lots of books about other people's lives in history and now made me think a hell of a lot was damned unfair? You know Dickens, Tolstoy, Cry the Beloved Country, American Civil Rights stuff....

I know I was having massive fights with my very rightwing father from about 10 on, and reading some Marx at 13.

I was slow to get involved re Vietnam, except in a very general way, but did by first year uni.

Feminism and Aboriginal Land Rights and gay rights were major issues.



georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:43 pm
My father served in the U.S. Congress for about 26 years (a Democrat, by the way), and I grew up in that environment from a very young age. In fact it was youthfull rebellion that led me to escape an intended path to Georgetown University and presumably law school, by seeking and getting entrance to the Naval Academy right after high school.

It turned out that the Navy wasn't all that different from the Jesuits, but I had a good time in it.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:46 pm
@georgeob1,
So it was youthful rebellion which lead you in completely the opposite political direction to your father, George?
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:57 pm
@msolga,
Yes. A fairly common phenomenon.. Later on I figured out the old guy was smarter than I had thought.

I have two sons. One followed my path; the other became an IT techie - works for Oracle.
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:58 pm
@msolga,
I was aware of politics through the Reagan years (maybe even back as far as Carter), but really what got me active was the first gulf war.... or what was it called... conflict. Of course, my stance definitely is influenced by my family. My immediate family is all very left-leaning, the extended family varies. So, from the nest there have been challenges which have made me think about my views.

Hmmm... Let's keep going back in time. As a Junior in high school I refused to say the pledge of allegiance - that was politically based. But that was all me, not anything to do with my family.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:01 pm
@dlowan,
Quite a mixture of influences: from some "great minds" of literature, opposition to your father's political views, to youthful involvement in particular political movements, Deb.

Interesting, the influence of the writers we read, at a very idealistic time of our lives, in forming our lasting humanitarian & political attitudes.

(Music, too, had a huge influence on me, anyway. All those "protest" songs of the 1970s. Actually I learned a helluva lot about US politics from being a Bob Dylan junky at the time. )
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:07 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Yes. A fairly common phenomenon.. Later on I figured out the old guy was smarter than I had thought.


Yes. I know. I can relate to that. Smile

Well, he must have been been, to hold his senate position for that time.

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:10 pm
@littlek,
Quote:
Hmmm... Let's keep going back in time. As a Junior in high school I refused to say the pledge of allegiance - that was politically based. But that was all me, not anything to do with my family.


The "pledge of allegiance issue" has turned out to be an ongoing one for you, I see, k! Wink
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:30 pm
I read a great deal of literature while in High School, but in a somewhat unguided way. I guess I got started by picking volumes at random from the shelves at home. Early choices that left an impression included Somerset Maughm's "The Razor's Edge"; Conrad's "The Nigger of the Narcissus" and "Lord Jim". Later I happened on "Crime and Punishment" and felt I had found something amazing in Dostoyevski - his other novels and short works engaged me for a couple of years.

I wasn't so interested in politics as in understanding myself and my own situation. I'm not sure I figured anything out, but the habit continued and it gave me pleasures of its own. The references also came in handy with the girls from the many colleges around Annapolis.

Believe it or not, at the Naval Academy we had to read the novels of Albert Camus and Ignazio Silone (that's where I discovered the uncanny similarity of "The Stranger" with a much older Russian novel - "A Hero of Our Time" by Mikhail Lermontov. ) I didn't get around to Tolstoy until after I graduated. Carrier deployments, including combat cruises in the Tonkin Gulf were a good time for continued reading, and the effort provided a welcome and sometimes much needed distraction from fear and anxiety.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:32 pm
@dlowan,
Quote:
I remember being a staunch anti-monarchist by about 8, (because I disapproved of hereditary positions!) and therefore refusing to stand for God save the Queen, which got me into a lot of ****, because the damned thing was a big deal back then


(I missed this earlier on.)

My god, fancy believing that when you were 8 years old, Deb!

You were advanced! Surprised
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:40 pm
@djjd62,
By the spring of 1970, i was in the United States Army. In May, returning from the Vietnam training grounds at Fort Knox, i was passing over the "moonscape" of a tank maintenance depot which was being built there, on the way to the cook school mess hall (the food was indifferent, but you could get all you could eat). I heard someone groaning in some bushes at the side of the path and started in that direction when i was stopped by another GI who told me to leave him alone, he was a Guardsman. I didn't understand, but then i was informed about the Kent State shootings while i was in the chow line. The National Guard had fired on students (many not even protesters, but just students on their way across campus to class), wounding nine and killing four. The "politicization" which i had undergone while at university was revealed for the shallow pretense it had been--this was real life, and the consequences of reality made manifest. The company was paraded at about sundown, and all of the Guardsmen were ordered to step forward. They were then sent into the barracks to collect their effects, after which they were all marched off to an unused barracks, where they were segregated, for their own protection.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:48 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
I heard someone groaning in some bushes at the side of the path and started in that direction when i was stopped by another GI who told me to leave him alone, he was a Guardsman. I didn't understand, but then i was informed about the Kent State shootings while i was in the chow line.


Kent State.

Ah. Who could forget that, who could believe it actually happened in the USA?

I can only imagine how you (& so many others) must have felt at that time, Setanta.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:51 pm
Well, we already didn't like the Guardsmen, who used to crow about the fact that they would go home when their training was completed, while we were headed for Nam. Kent State was that proverbial last straw.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:53 pm
@Setanta,
Yes, but the government, the government that allowed this to happen!

And on your way to Vietnam. Good grief!
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:10 pm
I didn't really become politicized until I was in grad school, studying aeronautical engineering, just after the Vietnam conflict ended. By then I had my own awareness of the reality of political and military affairs ... and war; of the venality and hypocrisy that can attend it; and the many moral dilemmas and contradictions involved. I had my own reservations, and had learned to mistrust anyone who appeared certain that he had found the answers. However it was the activist academic types with their prefabricated judgments of others, self-serving rationalizations, and amazing ignorance of the real world who most aroused me. They struck me as merely a tribe of would be Iagos, bent on making more trouble just to advance themselves (though they were all very proficient at writing slavish grant requests to the same agencies they professed to hate). I became sick of the knowledge business, and as soon as I completed my dissertation went back to a fighter squadron (though I did take with me an enduring affection for appled mathematics).
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:13 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Well, we already didn't like the Guardsmen, who used to crow about the fact that they would go home when their training was completed, while we were headed for Nam. Kent State was that proverbial last straw.

Amen
0 Replies
 
 

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