We drove over to the gun show in Austin yesterday and both of us had a really good time. Yeoldfurt always enjoys a gun show, but I'm usually just tagging along for the day. I like to shoot and I'm as passionate about gun rights as anyone, but my technical knowledge about firearms would fit into a small thimble ...so I just try to keep my shut at these events. Yesterday was different though.
This was the first Austin Gun Show at the new location and the turnout was pretty good. We arrived about an hour before the doors were supposed to open and there were already at least fifteen or twenty people milling around outside. When 9:00am finally rolled around and we got inside, we decided to start at one end and work our way across one table at a time. That worked well for Yeoldfurt, but I got sidetracked at the third table in the first aisle. It was a Medina for Governor table. I've seen politico booths at gun shows before but I guess I was just happy to see my choice for Texas governor officially represented.
The guy at the booth was very nice. Before I left his table, I was carrying two Medina for Governor buttons (one for Yeoldfurt, of course!), a big yard sign and a free t-shirt. That big yard sign turned out to be a great conversation starter as I moved through the rest of the aisles. People would come up to me and ask where I got it, ask if I really thought she had a chance, ask me more about her. I'm usually kind of quiet among strangers but I really believe in Debra Medina and took every opportunity to talk her up. My favorite conversation was with a 15 year old kid who wanted to know what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans. His first question was typical kidspeak ...'Why are Republicans elephants and Democrats donkeys?" I resisted the urge to suggest the donkey=ass connotation for the Democrat side and just answered him with, "Not sure but I know it's been that way since I was a whole lot younger than you." He laughed and went on to ask me why I liked Republicans. He said, "Democrats are for the poor people, right?" That got me started. When I was growing up, my two sets of grandparents were like-minded on just about everything ....except politics. My grandmother on my mother's side had said that very thing to me many times when I was a kid ...'Democrats are for the poor people."
I think the familiarity of his words is what struck a chord with me. My own youth at the time and my love and respect for my grandparents had always kept me from trying to argue about politics with them. But here was a young kid, just three years from being able to cast his own vote. What an opportunity to influence a future voter!
I have always found that analogies work well with the teenage mentality so I gave him a couple of them to chew on. I suggested that he'll probably want to move out of his parent's home when he's 18 or 19 years old. He's a good kid, he's a smart kid, he's done his homework and knows he can afford the rent and utilities along with the car payment and car insurance he's probably already paying.
He was with me so far ...I could see the twinkle in his eye as he imagined himself, emancipated at last! But I went on to explain that as exciting as that time will be for him, it will also be a struggle because he will soon realize how much STUFF he doesn't have yet ...like furniture and housewares and small appliances. He'll miss the comforts of home and be tempted to run out and buy all those things right away so he can be as comfortable as he was in his parent's home. Chances are he won't be making enough money yet to cover all the bills plus buy all those comforts of home right away. If he's not very careful, he could get in a bind and not have rent money the second or third month. He might then be tempted to call his parents and say, "Dad, I can't pay the rent ...I had to buy too much stuff this month ...can you help me with rent?" The truth is he didn't have to buy all that stuff all at once, he chose to. The truth is he could afford to pay the rent if he had stuck to the budget and been willing to accumulate all the niceties of life a little at a time. But he had fallen into the trap of instant gratification and spent the rent money. Expecting dad to take up the slack for him on the rent would be a Democratic state of mind... feeling entitled to Dad's help even if the pickle he was in was of his own making. I let that analogy sink in for a minute.
Then I embellished the scenario by suggesting that during this same time period that he was asking for help from his dad, he still had two younger siblings at home. The younger siblings were about his age now, mid-teen years. Still kids, still dependent on their parents for everything from the roof over their heads to food on the table. Let's just say dad does pay the oldest kid's rent that month. But that puts a dent in dad's pocket so the family meals that month are rice and beans and beans and rice ...because grocery money that normally fed the family had now gone to pay the oldest kid's rent. If dad made the decision, he may not gripe about eating beans and rice all month. But the wife and younger siblings would be just as impacted as the dad and they might resent sacrificing their lifestyle for what amounts to the oldest kid's poor planning and mismanagement of funds. THAT would be a Republican perspective on the situation.
The conversation with the kid lasted a good 20 minutes and, at the end, I encouraged him to do his own research about candidates and issues and not to rely on the news media for his information. Even if he (gasp!) grows up to be a liberal eventually, at least he will have made the decision with his eyes open. I think he'll be all right though. His dad owns a gun shop, after all ...can't really picture his parents having a liberal leanings.
There were a total of three 'Medina for Governor' booths at the gun show. Walking around with the Medina yard sign instigated several more conversations for me. Some of the people that asked me about her might never have made it to the booths so I was glad to have the opportunity to put my two cents in about her. Texas is already one of the better places to live in these trying times. If we can put Debra Medina in the Governor's office, we'll be in even better shape!