Why Barry?

Barry goldwater

I think I need to correct something I wrote a few days ago.

I don’t think I supported Barry Goldwater going into the 1964 Republican convention. As I think back on in now, I remember William Scranton was one of the potential candidates, and as he was the Pennsylvania governor I think I held a favorable impression of him as well.

I just remember watching a lot of the convention coverage and my mother being irate that I was taking the convention seriously, especially the Republican convention.

But once the convention had nominated Goldwater, I know I was all Barry all the way. And my cousin Kathy, who lived in Maryland at the time, was able to give me some support, even as everyone around me was mocking me for supporting an extremist like Goldwater.

So what did l like about Barry?

It’s really hard to say at this point.

I know that I had his book A Conscience of a Conservative. And Kathy sent me some other campaign material with his views on various issues.

But I remember when classmates asked me about the Civil Rights Act, which had been passed in July and which Barry had voted against, I sort of dodged the question.

There were other problematic issues. Like the United Nations, for example. Barry at one time had come out against it, as I recall, but he sort of backtracked on that a bit for the campaign.

What I think it came down to was the more that other folks pushed, the more I dug in my heels. 

Of course, the more I pushed back, the worse they all pushed back at me. So it was a continuous negative feedback loop.

So much for my first foray into political activism.

And my last.

I don’t know if that just wasn’t my thing, or if I was just so disheartened by all the negative feedback that I got and still we ended up losing big time.

In any case I have never campaigned for any candidate ever again, nor have I ever participated in any protests or any other political activity.

But I did continue to follow the career of Barry Goldwater, off and on, and there were things that I did find to admire about him.

He was one of the senators who finally told Richard Nixon it was time to go.

In later years he felt that the Republican Party should moderate its stance on abortion.

Certainly by today’s standards, he wasn’t the extremist that he was made out to be.

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