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chrisandmichael2.jpg, originally uploaded by Bobaloo Rox.

Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] bobaloo here's a picture of Chris and I back from 2004, I think. Ahh, we were so young then, and I still had my hair...wait.

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Over the weekend I went back home and saw the parents. Surprisingly they were looking a little more hearty than they had looked when I had seen them last. Dad has recovered pretty well from his prostate surgery and Mom seemed to be doing alright.

The state is widening the freeway out in the far suburbs of Houston where they live so there was construction all around as I tried to get to my parents house. There are many new shopping centers and businesses that still show the optimism of the area even though the housing market has fallen. It will be interesting to see if this is all worth it, or will they have overbuilt and the economy will leave many empty strip malls. The outlet center looked like a ghost town.

I visited my friends, Hans and Naima and their new baby. They had just recently moved to the outer suburbs when Hans’ job had relocated to The Woodlands. The Woodlands itself seems to keep growing and the master-planned streets are full of cars and SUV’s.

My Dad was his usual self, watching old westerns (who knew the Rat Pack made a western?) while my Mom stuck to new on Fox. I showed Mom the pictures from Chris’s and my quick California wedding. Dad didn’t want to see them, but did take notice of my wedding band.

Mom pulled me into a political discussion that I was trying to avoid, but I knew would be there. I showed my optimism for the future, at least in the long run, while they complained that the media was to blame for everything, especially the meltdown of the Republican Party.

One of my favorite lines was that John McCain wasn’t chosen by voters in the primary, but chosen by the media itself. Some how people are lead astray and the party faithful can be convinced to vote for someone they despise; someone who’s not Republican enough. The notion that it wasn’t that the country was rejecting the message that the Republicans were running under, but that the Republicans weren’t conservative enough seems ludicrous to me. It’s odd how bitter the party adherents have gotten.

Let’s face reality. The Republican message became toxic. It hurt their candidates across the country, and had they put up a candidate that wasn’t moderate, someone who followed a more Cheney-esque line of thought, the loss would have been bigger, not smaller. People were tired of Bush and those that supported him. The tide was turning in 2006, and crested with the 2008 election. Now, looking back, it would have been amazing to see the Democrats lose.

So instead of embracing the change, and looking to find opportunity to reach new voters, Republicans are retreating to their little corner, trying to shun the moderates and embrace the far right, christianist wing. It does not bode well for them, unless President Obama really makes a mess of things. The Republicans are looking like spoiled children and seem ready to play the obstructionist role one again. I guess it will be like the Clinton years where we have right wing radio throwing out ridiculous rumors and opposing anything the President did.

Hopefully the new president won’t pay much attention to the sideshow. I think he’ll continue to work with moderate Republicans and ignore the rest. He looks better when he makes attempts to be bipartisan and I don’t want him to quit that, but in many ways, he can’t let his agenda be stopped by those who aren’t bringing anything to the table. The Republicans have no new ideas, no direction other than opposition, and nothing to offer and it seems that their leadership is fine with this.

As always I know enough about the right wing talking points to hear it parroted by my parents. I love them, but I know when I’m hearing the same lines that Sean Hannity said. They talk about liberal policies being failed policies but they don’t see that their ideology has also been shown as a failure. There’s a denial at work here, and it’s sad to see. When you can’t blame yourself, then blame someone else, and once again it’s time to blame the media for all their troubles.

With Obama taking the oath of office in a few minutes, I find there’s a larger change at work here than at any time that I can recall. More than with the Clintons, this inauguration seems to be really creating a different era, and the many years of conservative rule, from Nixon to Bush II, could be at a true end. Everything runs its course, and so has the last 40 years of this country. I do get the feeling that we are entering something new and exciting, and though its growth pangs are going to be difficult, we can truly make this a better country.

So my parents, well, it seems that history is passing them by. They will cling to the old ways, and hope that things will swing back their way again, but I don’t think it will. Sure, conservatives will make a comeback, all things go in cycles, but I think they will really need to rethink who they are, and develop a new plan to appeal to voters in areas that aren’t the south.

I guess I pay less attention to what my parents are saying. I’ll never change them over, but maybe it’s not something to worry about. Times change and sometimes people change with them, and sometimes they don’t. Right now I'm enjoying a little renewed optimism after the last few years.

Let’s move forward.

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