Why the young conservative insurgence?

I’d like to consider myself decently well-versed in today’s music, so I was wondering if someone could answer me this: Did Merle Haggard recently released a hit single, and if so, was it produced by the Neptunes? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then I am first off disappointed in my knowledge of “Total Request Live,” and secondly, happy that there is some possible explanation for the insurgence of young Republicans across the country.

Only the “forgotten American” himself, wailing on top of those hook-driven, thumping beats, could recruit the hordes of eager young men and women flocking to the right. Of course they’ll never admit it. From Ann Coulter to your best Republican buddy, conservatives across the land will deny their prevalence and power up and down, and will in fact paint themselves as the victims of conservative bashing in the face of diminishing bipartisanship. They will go so far as to blame the “liberal media” for the woes of the right wing, when what they really need to do is flip on Fox News and realize that no such thing exists anymore.

So is it an influx of conservatism in the news media that has shifted the perspectives of so many of our nation’s youth? Perhaps, but I’d like to think those friends of mine who are conservatives are less impressionable than to take their cues from Sean Hannity, although Jennifer Eccleston has me questioning my own socio-political choices nightly. Some would make the argument that morally they feel like they are more akin to the conservative agenda. To this I can only ask if limited freedom of speech, deceptive law-making, highly suspect intelligence, broken promises and helping the rich get richer while the poor gets poorer is on your list of values.

Now, obviously one could argue that they vote Republican for other reasons (pro-life, family values, etc.); but the problem is that if you subscribe to one part of the agenda, you are prescribed the rest, shoveled down your throat with a spoonful of salt.

Oh, and doesn’t it taste great? Many of our parents might benefit from George W. Bush’s tax cut; even I might get some extra cash each month, but then I’ll take a look down my street and watch neighbors of mine who have families losing their blue-collar jobs, all so Bush’s oil buddies can buy a new jet or my dad can upgrade to the sports package on his next car. Trickle-down economics does not work; we learned this during the ill-fated Reaganomics venture of the 1980s; why would it suddenly work now?

For a rich adult, this all makes sense; in the end it’s that dollar that matters most, and if you happen to fall into a certain demographic, the Bush administration is helping you out and you should exploit that for all it’s worth (or at least that can be your excuse to not look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth; of course this horse looks a bit more like a chimp and seems to have equivalent brain power, based on recent events). But for a young person to have grown up in the 1980s and 1990s and to still cling to 1950s-era conservative doctrines is ludicrous.

We all found out that the stifling, overwrought beliefs of conservatives brought us McCarthyism, bore us the flower children of the 1960s, created the Cosmo-single woman and every youth movement from greasers to punks to hip-hop. Yet today many are going Beaver and Wally on us, subscribing themselves to the skewed dogma of an ancient, yet grand, ole party. But hey, should I hear the Ja Rule remix from Merle’s “Forgotten American” (featuring Nas), I just might swing myself to the right.

Neil Munshi is a University student. Send comments to [email protected]