An Open Letter to a Small Minority of Conservatives
Recently, I’ve run into an ugly side of Twitter and social networking. While I’d like to blame it on the divisive politics of the left, I can’t. I’m seeing this side from self-proclaimed conservatives. And that ugly side is the playing of the “bigot” card for solely personal reasons. Disagree with a gay conservative, you’re a homophobe. Disagree with a black conservative, you’re a racist. Disagree with a Jewish conservative, you’re an anti-semite.
Now, before everyone gets all up in arms, I’m not saying this is a huge problem, and I’m certainly not saying that all conservative minority members act this way, not by a long shot. But, it is a problem, and it’s a problem for two reasons: 1) It is typically leftist divisive politicking. 2) Playing the “bigot” card on everyone with whom you have a disagreement takes away from real bigotry, which does exist, as we all know.
Let me be clear on this: shutting down any dissension with a “bigot” card is politically correct BS run amok, and if you practice it regularly, you might as well cross party lines, join the SEIU and put a picture of George Soros on your fridge. Because you have now aligned yourself with so-called minority politics, which is the firm stronghold of the left.
Not only that, you’re doing a strong disservice to other minority conservatives. Many of us come from backgrounds grounded in leftism, or are mistakenly associated with leftism because of our minority status. I, personally, was practically brainwashed by gay leftist groups like ActUP! and Queer Nation, who taught me that, not only was everyone in the world who disagreed with every minor talking point of the gay agenda a homophobe, I was a self-hating gay for not pushing the “official” agenda at every possible moment regardless of whether I agreed with it or not.
Therefore, this is as much a letter to myself as anyone else. While my core values are truly conservative, I am still minority-sensitive. I still have burned in neural pathways instructing me to brand someone as a “bigot” for not supporting every minority issue I support (though, in truth, I don’t support many other than basic human rights, which isn’t a minority issue but a majority one).
I’ve intellectualized these values, but it is still a struggle to take them to heart. Does that mean I’m not really a conservative? I believe in small, fiscally responsible government. I believe in individual rights and responsibilities over special interests and group-think. I support the Constitution (including all 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights), love my country, support the troops, stand with my allies against our common enemies. I know that Israel is my friend, and Hamas is not.
I am a conservative. But if I should give into my programmed, liberal vestiges which urge me to whine about “haters” every time I encounter someone who disagrees with me on a minority issue (or any other issue that brushes on one), I might as well not be, because my message will be lost in the noise.
Here’s the real irony: the gay rights movement, in particular, was all about my “right to be who I am.” Being an individual. Expressing myself freely. And yet, by playing the “homophobe” card, I would be attempting to take that right away from everyone else. Fred Phelps is a homophobe. The people who killed Matthew Shepard are homophobes. The wonderfully kind, compassionate and brilliant Mike Huckabee, who disagrees with the gay agenda where it conflicts with his belief in traditional family values is not.
I might not agree with Huckabee on every issue, but I’m not about to marginalize him as a “hater” when in fact he is just the opposite. It’s insincere. It accomplishes nothing. It’s slimy.
By playing the “homophobe” card for my own personal benefit, I also lump myself in with the same divisive social politics I’ve come to dislike. (And, just to point it out, I don’t dislike all liberals, or think of them homogeneously, either. I just dislike liberal politics and forced social engineering.)
Remember how up in arms we all got when the Tea Party was first labeled as racists because most of us are white? Remember how, just this week, we expressed disgust with liberal feminism, who fights for the rights of women to be strong individuals, then dehumanizes and de-feminizes every strong woman with whom they disagree? That’s what a very small number of conservatives are practicing in another direction.
We’re waging a social and cultural war in this country. We conservatives have common goals. We don’t need to coalesce into a group of perfectly like-minded little soldiers; we value individuality after all. But we do need to concentrate on those goals, not start ripping each other apart.
Dislike me? Fine. I might dislike you as well. But call me a “jerk,” or any strong variation of that word or expletive you’d care to employ. That’s your right. Don’t try to label me as a hater of any particular group of people when I’m not one. It makes you look like an idiot and says nothing about me whatsoever, no matter how often and how loudly you screech it.