I remember going to the Democratic picnics and such with my mom and stepdad when I was 10 or younger. I didn't have any idea what the importance of any of it was for awhile yet, although I also remember carrying around a piece of paper with "Carter" and "Ford" written at the top and asking people who they preferred and marking it on the paper. I was eight. (I don't think it was nearly so much a possible future as a pollster as simply a deep drive to organize and log and chart and list, that kind of thing.) Anyway, I know that things like the picnics in particular are why I was a Democrat. It was just something we were, instead of being something else, the same as we lived in our house and answered to our names, even though they never made any effort to impress it upon me directly. If I am one now, it's because of my own experiences, although I'm completely uncommitted to the party as a whole and would vote for anybody else in a second whom I thought would do a better job, even if I didn't like them very much as a person, if they weren't much further off of my own philosophy than others; and there have been several people I liked but wouldn't ever want in charge of anything.
I'm not most of the stuff I was "raised" to be (good and bad). I understand that it's basically unavoidable in most cases to avoid being imprinted with the beliefs of the major "forces" in your life, but I still don't ever understand the answer "it's just how I was raised" as a primary reason for one's practices and reflexes (as opposed to "beliefs" and "opinions," which require critical thinking and perspective at some point) that actually make an impact. I feel like at some point we all get our own buses, and if we're not driving them, who is? Buses with no drivers do a lot of damage. It frustrates me.