Don't worry Mods, I'm really not asking anyone to identify themself by name. Rather, I think it would be interesting for posters to provide some information about themselves, their background and how it has shaped their political and economic beliefs.
I was one of 7 kids. My Mom did not work, my Dad worked for Cinti Bell. While he had a nice job, we didn't have a lot of money. I'd say we were of the middle class, looking back. I was smack dab in the middle of the seven kids. I learned to take orders from my older siblings and to give orders to my younger ones. I didn't wear Levi's, Converse or go on family vacations growing up because we could not afford them. Some of my friends came from wealthy families, some were from middle class and some were from poor families.
Mom and Dad were registered Democrats and were hard working, pretty conservative folks. Not politically active at all.
I grew up in a tight family and had a typical childhood. No family catastrophies; no hardships to speak of. Being born in 57, I was too young to really be a part of the anti Vietnam war crowd and such was the case with all my friends. As a result, I never got swept up in the whole question authority thing. The only authority I was going to question was my Dad, and folks that wasn't going to happen if I wanted to be able to sit. If anything, because I was too young to worry about going overseas, as were my friends, I never really questioned the govt's decision to go into Vietnam. My father, a former Marine, was dead set against the anti war crowd, so I of course became the same way. I thought they were hippies and lazy freaks. I knew of friends of my older sisters going to Vietnam, but all of them that I can recall, went without protest (at least that I was aware of).
When I became of voting age, I registered and voted Democrat. In college, some of my professors were pretty liberal and at first made a favorable impression on me. But it didn't last long, although I remained a registered Democrat through college and part of law school (in spite of having already received my Marine officer's commission upon graduating from college). But I didn't necessarily vote Democrat near as often as I once had (but I'll admit that I voted for Carter).
But towards the end of law school, I was really turning the corner towards Republican. Carter's inept handling of the Iran hostage debacle infuriated me. Reagan's presidency got me much farther around the corner. I changed my registration and started voting more Republican than Democrat (although I still vote and financially support Democrats that I think will or are doing a good job). The Democratic party, at least to me, had become a party that was weak. It was a party that was a very compassionate party and idealistic, but was compassionate and idealistic to a fault; to a point of weakness. Whereas Reagan's Republicans stood for strength and self determination.
While on active duty, I became a full blown Republican. I admired Reagan's willingness to take on all adversaries and to stand up for what he felt was right for America. I appreciated his support for those in the miltary. I thought (and still do think) Ollie North was a brave man who made great sacrifices and incurred great risks for his county and I thought the Democrats attacking him, while cloaking themselves in wanting to see the law upheld, were more interested in "getting" Reagan than anything else.
After the Marines, I returned home and began practicing law in a large law firm. I worked with a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs. These folks risked their life savings, homes and family security to build their businesses and create jobs for people like my Dad. They were risk takers that believed in themselves, often at times when a lot of people were telling them that they would not be successful. But they believed in themselves and many of them succeeded due to their convictions and hard work.
I had the opportunity to leave my law practice on a couple of occasions to run or help run businesses. It was eye opening to me. I realized that what most business owners had been telling me about racial and gender discrimation was true: that a successful business owner cannot afford to be a racist or a sexist. They, nor I as I was running the businesses, didn't care that the welder or the CNC machine operator was black or was a woman. I just cared that they showed up to work each day ready to work a productive 8 hours. Running a business was too tough, too competitive to allow racial or sexual biases impact my employee decisions. I just meeded to get the project completed or the material shipped time and didn't care if my employees making that happen were white, black, yellow or green for that matter. I didn't care that the employee was male or female, disabled or abled. I felt the pressure to produce and I valued every employee that enabled me and my company to produce.
There were and are folks out there that let their biases and bigotry affect their employee decisions. And I loved it! I can't tell you the number of great employees that joined the companies I ran because of the poor way they were treated at their former jobs, but it was a lot. And a lot of these employees were very, very good employees; employees that bettered my companies to the point that I was taking work and customers away from the former employers. Some of the former employers went out of business because they lost so many good employees to companies that treated employees fairly and respectfully. Ultimately the "invisible hand" of the free market did what all the govt rules against discrimination had been unsuccessful in doing.
I also experienced the adverse impact of all the govt regulations that we were saddling our businesses with. It was amazing. At a family construction company, I was given the Safety Director duties. Over the years, I had sent the company many articles and letters about this and that safety regulation that they had to follow. Once on the job, I came to realize that if the company fully complied with every safety regulation, we'd put ourselves out of business. If we complied with every regulation, our employees would have been totally safe alright, then again, they would have been standing in the unemployment line. A big intrusive government was failing this country, its businesses, and yes its employees.
As I approach my 50th birthday in a few months, I've spent some time looking back at my life and examining how my beliefs and values (both political and otherwise) have been molded. My parents and siblings played a large role. My college days caused me to question some of the things that I had held dear, but ultimately failed to dissuade me from what my parents had taught me. My Marine Corps days sharpened my belief that the political leaders must support and look out for the military members, but not to the point where they are kept in garrison and out of harm's way when there are national interests to be protected. My law practice and business days have taught me that the interference of the govt in business is a recipe for disaster and that we need to do more to help small businesses and remove the impediments.
Any one else care to share?