Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Cousin, The Conservative Pundit

A few weeks ago, my mother mentioned that my cousin Debbie's son Justin was a published writer. I haven't seen Debbie in years and I've never met either of her kids. But Debbie and I are the same age and spent a number of Thanksgivings together at our grandparents' house in Vermont. So while we aren't connected in the present, we've had connections in the past.

Anyway, I glanced through the URL Mom told me about, and realized Justin was a self-published writer. Not that there's anything wrong with that; most of us who write for the Web are self-published.

He's also extremely conservative. While his iUnverse bio claims:

Justin Haskins, a political science student at the University of Kansas, is an award winning poet and an up and coming political commentator. Currently the author of two books, his unique opinions and passionate commentating force readers to think outside the box and into the realm of debate. Using strenuous researching tactics and uncommonly known facts, Haskins is quickly becoming a much needed voice for a new generation of voters.

I, frankly, didn't see anything in his essays beyond the Clinton-bashing we've been seeing for over 15 years. I tried giving November in New England a read, but it was mostly too extreme.

I don't know if Justin and I will ever meet. While he was raised in New Hampshire, he's currently in college in Kansas. I know that, aside from my Mom's cousin Alice and my sister-in-law Rachel, I'm the family liberal. Justin is from my Dad's side of the family. My Dad has always been pretty quiet about his political leanings, though he probably generally votes Republican. My Mom has always been much more forthcoming about her distaste for Democrats. But, it is at least a little funny that Justin and I are at all related.


Sue said...

Ah, families and politics. I am one of 20 first cousins and I believe 1 of 2 liberals (possibly a third). I can tolerate the conservatives who vote and treat my partner and I with respect and courtesy. I cannot stand the self-professed conservatives who sit home bitching and moaning about welfare queens and sissy liberals while allowing others to carry the political weight. Yuck. I'd rather spend the holidays any day with the Catholic guy who voted for Bush than the slumlord, not-voting, hate spewing jerk.

I can't bring myself to read your first cousin once removed's essays. I love the "uncommonly known facts" phrase. That's nice ...

Laurie Mann said...

I'd normally like that phrase too, except that as I read some of his writing, I didn't see anything uncommon.

I try not to talk politics among my relatives or my husband's relatives. My family is very middle class and moderately conservative. Jim's family is all over the place, but one of his brother really annoys me when politics come up. Jim's family would have wound up on the streets without the social safety net (their father deserted them). Jim and his brother both got full college scholarships. But Jim's brother has the "I have mine, how dare anyone talk about raising taxes?" attitude that so many neocons have. *sigh*

Zack said...

I always thought I was a neocon, but that word seems to have become an insult. Originally the neocons in the seventies were those who embraced liberal goals such as racial equality and international peace, but rejected liberal policies (specifically racial quotas and unilateral disarmament) as being counter productive to the very goals being sought.

As a rather conservative republican, I have always regarded liberals as good hearted and well intentioned but failing rather badly to understand the unintended consequences of the policies they propose. Hence my self identification as a neocon, but that seems not to correspond to your definition.

I am in the process of reading Alan Greenspan's book. What a wonderful man, and it is a good reminder of the reasons I identify as republican which can easily be forgotten listening to much of the partisan rhetoric currently passing for political debate.

I can sympathize with you as I think I am the only republican in my extended family, so I don't talk about it much.

Laurie Mann said...

Zach, I lived in Massachusetts until 1975, and spent 1974 volunteering for a moderate Republican Congressional candidate. *sigh*

Even when I voted for Republicans, I tended to vote for progressive Republicans; the ones who promoted reasonable government size and taxation and tended to be social liberals. These Republicans have pretty much been driven out of the party.

I remember during the '80s when the Reganites made "liberal" a bad word. I never thought it was. Conservative isn't necessarily a bad word to me.