The other day I was having a conversation with a neighbor which veered suddenly off in the direction of politics. Before I could gently change the subject, he expressed his annoyance that one of his sons is an Obama supporter. Not knowing what to say , I simply replied, "Well, kids will grow up to make their own choices - it's natural". To my astonishment he replied that "Things are different today. My father was a republican - he would have kicked my butt if I weren't, too."
Of all of the reasons, both good and bad, to choose a political party, that has to be the worst one I've ever heard -- fear of a parent's reaction. I've told my own kids that they shouldn't claim to be a democrat because of my politics or my husband's (He's an ex-republican and I'm a registered independent - left-leaning). I told them they are too young to really understand politics and should wait until they are older to claim to belong to a party. Children will often parrot their parents' beliefs - I certainly did when I was a kid. I cheered when republicans were elected not because I really understood what republicanism was about, but because I saw that it made my parents happy. By the time I turned 18 I realized I was not fully aligned with the republican party, so I registered as an independent. I am a firm believer that kids should grow up to make up their own minds, and would never threaten or disown my kids because they held different political beliefs.
Is it common, however, for people to choose a party because it was the one to which their parents belonged, or out of fear? If so, that's a sad state of affairs. Children should never be made to feel worthless or disrespected simply because they have a different political ideology!