Saturday, September 17, 2005

Liberal Conservative

This evening I had a great conversation with a second generation Indian-American woman in her early twenties. Our parents come from a similar cultural backgrounds. They have tried to hot-house some Indian values into her while giving her the American way of life.

R has turned out to be an accomplished, articulate and a charming young woman thanks to her parents. "I am personally conservative yet socially and politically liberal. I often have to struggle to find someone that shares my combination of values" she says to me.

I tell her that I face the exact same struggle. In my view social and political liberalness do not have to translate to personal life and there is no dichotomy. Many liberals that I know cannot fathom that. It is like my liberalness is a sham because I don't apply it to my personal life.

R tells me there are second generation kids who think like her but they are still a minority. I am not surprised that Anil Dash talks about this unique state as well " ..being able to live both as a personally conservative son of immigrants and a politically liberal citizen of the United States.."

Many people of my generation and socio-economic milieu who grew up in India and have since been outside the country have a world view radically different from mine.

Their upbringing was very liberal. Any form of conservativeness was often viewed as an undesirable side effect of religious orthodoxy and shunned with a passion. With that they are true blue liberals, exceptionally well assimilated in America and wonderful people to know - except when personal values conflict.

Then there are those who are conservative all over. I find close to nothing in common with them even though I view myself as "personally conservative".

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