Anyone who has lived through the 1980s as a young adult would know actor Ken Wahl. Wahl enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood films such as The Wanderers, Fort Apache, and The Soldier. He achieved the pinnacle of his career on the hit television series Wiseguy. His dashing good looks and mesmerizing voice captivated women and broke many hearts when the show finally ended in the 1990s. Wahl is undeniably a versatile actor; however, this article is less about his enigmatic onstage presence but more about the warmth and humility he exhibits as an American in his daily life. Although Wahl is private about his personal life, he recently gave an interview where he discussed, among other things, his political views and the future of the Republican Party. (You can watch the interview in its entirety here).
Despite his fame and success, Wahl lived as a conservative in the hotbed of liberal society. He recalls that as early as age 8, he understood the importance of keeping with conservative values. People often argue that children are disinterested in politics. Indeed, there is some truth to that argument as many children are too busy with their own personal interests to care about policies and the state of the nation. Peer pressure, entertainment, and especially the advent of social media have all compounded the problem over the last few decades. In public schools, the insignificance of subjects such as history and civics today has made things even worse for children who know more about the latest trend than the Pledge of Allegiance. Yet, Wahl’s point proves that young children are sensitive to learning and retaining conservative values.
Children receive their first instruction about life at home. Parents are their first teachers and are responsible for passing conservative (or liberal) values to them. Some children cherish conservative values, grow up with them, and pass it on to their children, thus repeating the cycle. Others grow up with a liberal worldview or learn conservative values but fall through the gaps in their teenage years. For those who claim that children of divorced parents will undoubtedly become liberals, Wahl stands as a prime example of this untruth. His parents divorced when he was young, but he still held fast to his conservative roots.
When discussing the outcome of the 2012 national election, Wahl wisely (no pun intended) points to the current electorate and calls it a “generational vote.” Indeed, Wahl’s point is sound because young people carried a higher rate of votes for Obama than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Obama’s “War on Women” rhetoric scored big with young women. Wahl feels that the main issue with women was their rights over reproduction. Considering that a majority of the young women voted for Obama, there is an element of truth in Wahl’s argument. Yet, to think that all women supported Obama is a grave mistake. Well informed, conservative women throughout the nation denounced Obama’s so-called war against women.
Another interesting point Wahl makes, one that the GOP should seriously consider, is that Obama won because he remains popular with the younger generation. As absurd as it may seem, the presidential election has become more or less a popularity contest. Wahl points out that the younger generation is unfamiliar with the concept of ideology; they are more interested in whether the candidate is “cool.” Again, his analysis is accurate if we consider that the last few Democratic presidents, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, remain the “coolest” presidents in recent history, especially when compared to George W. Bush. Bush was unable to represent the same smooth, cool style for the younger generation, and they essentially considered him (and still do) a country bumpkin. Wahl feels that the worst thing the GOP could do is to ape Clinton or Obama’s tactics in hopes of finding favor with the younger generation. In other words, trying too hard to be “cool” could actually make things worse for the GOP. He gives examples of moments when parents have tried to “fit-in” with their children’s idea of “cool” and failed miserably. We can all probably relate to that at some level, which makes Wahl’s warning to the GOP even more potent.
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