I was raised by good people. Good socialists, to be precise.
They taught me the importance of equality before the law, of social justice and of being the change you want to see in the world. They are very good parents, but better role models. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Because I became a class traitor three years ago.
I rejected the tenets of socialism, especially as pertained to communal ownership, state annexation of all private property, expansive statism, knee-jerk idealism trumping real-world challenges and some really unpleasant bedfellows in the war against “evil”.
Because the people I knew on this particular side of the fence never struck me as evil, or even judgmental. On the contrary, they were very keen to discuss points of view without resorting to name-calling or slogans.
Let me elucidate. I read both Marx and Mao at a tender, young age. My parents were (and are) firm believers in getting behind your convictions. They never kept me from exploring anything. And so, because I found my political home in social liberalism, I had to stand by it, even while it put me at odds with the ideologies my parents imparted to me.
I hope I will have the balls to do the same for my kids. Because my parents understood something crucial: it is not about the ideology you subscribe to, but the content of your character. All ideologies want you to strive for the better, both for yourself and others. It is a rare person who can see through the espoused conviction to the person who lies beneath.
All we have is each other. My parents understood this. I hope you will too.