11/01/2013 04:26 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

A Fragile Hope?

After the 2012 national election and the experts began to parse the voting, there were signs of hope for me. As I remember it, the vast majority of blacks and hispanics voted Democrat. The college and young people mostly voted Democrat. Women made a strong support of Democrats. The only major segment that voted Republican was white males. Those trends might mean that, as the nation continues to develop, the Democrats would grow stronger and the Republicans would wane. The birth rate for the minority races is moving them to the majority races. The middle-age, old white population was shrinking. The flow was in the direction of the Democrats.

And yet as I have been thinking about that, I started to wonder where did all those conservative rich white males come from. Surely most of them must have been young people in the 1960s. Most of them had to be alive to the struggle for civil rights, had to be there in the days of the sexual revolution, had to be there as the protests against the war in Vietnam were be carried out. Were the people who are now the most conservative, the hard right wingers, the leaders who are most opposed to women's rights, who are trying to send all of the undocumented immigrants back, who are against health care, who are for giving the rich more and more of the nations wealth, were they among the most radical liberals in the 1960s? Is there some curse of aging that those who were strongly active in the progressive side have now changed and become the most conservative?

There was the "silent majority" Nixon claimed to represent and there were young Republicans active on college campuses at the time. Are they the ones who now are the obstructionist ideologues in our governmental operations? Where did all these frightened and reactionary people come from? It is a depressing and damning indictment on the Christian community that so many of these reactionary politicians claim the support of religious communities.

At first look the trends for the future for Democrats looked good, but then I began to fear that there is some function of aging that will turn a great number of these young and eager people into middle aged and older conservatives. It would be really interesting to me to see a study about what may happen to these who voted Democrat in 2012 and what growing older might do to their vote. It would dash my fragile hopes to pieces if growing older makes them more conservative.