When I was 16 years old, my parents sent me to Orange County's Young Republican Camp. OCYRC took place during the summer in a remote arroyo in Trabuco Canyon, off El Toro Road about 15 miles east toward the mountains.. The facilities sat nestled amidst live oak groves and rolling hills. Girls and boys bunked in separate dorm rooms; we ate our meals in a formal dining room; we met with Important Republicans in a conference center, screened videos in a media room, and had access to tennis courts. It lasted three nights and four days.
To begin, I didn't want to go. But my parents must have wanted me to go because they sent me despite my will to talk them out of it. It was non-negotiable. On the ride out there, I argued that I was not a Republican, and my father said, "that's one of the reasons you're going, young lady!"
My parents were Orange County Republicans. When I was growing up, they hosted several fundraisers at our home for politicians. Because my father had been the mayor of our small town, and because his family had lived in the town for 6 generations, he had some political clout. My mother had been a Democrat before she married my dad, but she finally switched due to the "if you can't beat them, join them" phenomenon. My father envisioned me growing up to become a California State Senator, and he'd be goddamned if I grew up to be a DEMOCRATIC Senator.
My father so loathes Democrats that if he told me if I voted for a Al Gore in the 2000 election, he would throw all my belongings out of his house into the street. Never-mind that I hadn't lived at home in over 20 years. One of his favorite photographs features him, his cousin Juan, and Governor George W. Bush at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. When Bush got to my father in the receiving line, my father said, "Governor, when you're president, can you give the Mission San Juan Capistrano back to the Forster family?" W. said "I don't think I can do that," according to my dad.
So Young Republican camp it was for me the summer I was 16.
To Be Continued....,
(Diego is crying and crying in the other room. I must attend....)