Why I am a Conservative
Sit back, fellow conservatives. This one is for the liberals.
A while back, I had a friend. This friend was going to school because she wanted to become a social worker. Her goal in life was to work with the mentally ill. As it happens, she had a roommate. This roommate, who was also going to school but to become something completely different, wound up in the psychiatric ward for a couple of weeks. When he called my friend to inform her why he wouldn’t be home, she yelled at him and told him she was moving out, which she did. She felt, perhaps correctly, that he hadn’t been honest with her about his mental health. More to the point, though, her roommate hadn’t changed; only her perceptions of him had. Now he was mentally ill and she needed to suddenly be elsewhere. They remained friends, nominally, for a couple of years afterward, but the relationship never recovered and he finally dropped her like a hot potato as she became increasingly more vain, self-involved and, well, not a very nice person.
Fortunately, this friend gave up her dream of becoming a social worker, which is great, because one thing the world doesn’t need is someone who professes to care about the mentally ill while not being able to actually tolerate them.
Why is this pertinent?
After I came out as a conservative, many of my liberal friends seemed to drop me like a hot potato. Some of them just flat out stopped talking to me. Others made snarky comments on my Facebook page when I talked about issues I found important. Still others only acted like they were friends. They planned outings, then failed to follow up, etc. In reality, I hadn’t changed all that much. I’m still the same person, I just now have a more political focus. It’s their assumptions about me that changed.
Oh, sure, some of my views have shifted. But has anyone asked why? No. And, when I talk about my conservative politics on Facebook specifically, I get blasted, all the while sifting through status updates of “Racist TEA Partiers” this and “Evil Capitalists and Fox News” that. Mostly, I try not to comment (though I sometimes can’t resist), and I even went so far as to establish a fan page for my blog so as to avoid confronting my very verbal, very confrontational and, quite frankly, mostly woefully under-informed liberal friends with my evil, racist, homophobic worldview.
Fair warning: that stops today. Don’t like it? Unfriend me now.
Here’s a clue: I’m not a racist. Not only can I truthfully utter the cliche “my best friend is black,” but I voted for Obama. If I’m a racist for voting for him, then so are you. Yes, there have been “signs” at some TEA Party rallies. Many of those signs, if you’d done any research at all, were carried by LaRouche supporters (a far leftist nutbag), or were loudly shouted down by real TEA Party members. But you don’t care. That extra knowledge doesn’t fit your moral indignation with white, capitalist America (of which you all are part, you know), and so I read and read and read about how racist those “teabaggers” are, knowing full well none of you have ever bothered to attend a rally and see for yourselves.
So, why did I become a conservative and what are my values?
I believe in equality: that means equal opportunity, not equal outcome. If someone puts her way through medical school and now pulls down hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through her own efforts, then I say good for her! She’s earned it. We need talented doctors and the market dictates she will make, hopefully, a bucket of cash doing what she she loves to do. I believe in creating equal opportunity by stimulating job growth and making smart educational choice, not hamstringing the capable in favor of those who choose to wallow in misery.
In a free society, some of us will succeed and some of us will fail. If Johnny can’t read because he has Down Syndrome or acute schizophrenia, then maybe Johnny needs our help. If Johnny can’t read because he smoked crack for 20 years and spent the last 10 in prison after holding up a liquor store, then Johnny is on his own.
I believe liberalism actively hurts the poor, minorities and the otherwise disadvantaged by continually emphasizing the fact they are poor, minorities and disadvantaged. Give a man a fish … you know the rest. It’s not just for fortune cookies, you know.
I believe in individual liberty: I’ve always done what I damn well wanted to do. I think what I want. I read what I want. I eat what I want. I put what I want into my body. I date who I want. Most of my liberal friends are the exact same way, though they actively support policies that would take away those liberties from others. Health care reform is a horrible idea, and we’re already seeing where that will go (your BMI might be fairly public, for one.) The government took over the student loan industry in one fell swoop. How do you think that will play out?
I choose to watch Fox. Do I agree with everything they say? Of course not. I’m not a zombie. I research. I’ve read not only the Constitution, but other works of the founding fathers. I know what “separation of church and state” means, where the phrase originated and in what context it was used. Do you?
Censorship is a liberal idea, though not exclusively. In this country, it was Tipper Gore who wanted music censored. It is Shirley Sherrod who is calling for Andrew Breitbart’s sites to be shut down because they do the public “no good”. Will the ACLU rush to Breitbart’s defense? Will you? Do you even know who Andrew Breitbart is?
People ridicule the right for calling Obama a socialist. Not only have I visited a socialist democracy; I lived in one. Did you? The man is a socialist! Your rights are being eroded and you’re actively supporting it. What’s wrong with you?
I believe it is up to me to succeed or to fail in this life; not up to the government. And I will never cede my rights to my own body, my own judgments, my own liberties to the anyone. Nor will I cede yours. Why are you so eager to shout down any dissenting opinion? Why so eager to let the government seize control of more and more of your life? Why do you scream with blood lust every time Glenn Beck opens his mouth? If you come for my blog today, they’re going to come for your blog tomorrow.
I believe in small federal government: Why? First, I know that the United States is not, has never been, and will never be a democracy. It’s called a federal republic. Look it up. There’s a reason people continue to flock to this country, legally and illegally, and it’s not because we’re adopting the European model. It’s because we’re the land of dreams. It’s because the government has limited control over our lives. It’s because the government has limited control over business.
There’s a reason why, while the world criticizes us as stupid, ignorant Americans, we continue to lead the way in medical research, scientific breakthroughs and military might despite having a fairly poor primary education system and no conscripted service. And it’s not because the government tells us what to do. It’s because we see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s because we have learned from the mistakes of our European-model sister nations and have chosen a different path. It’s because we do embrace diversity of race, creed and gender. Not in some flimsy, lip-service way where they can all be equal over there, like my friend who wanted to work with the mentally ill, as long as she didn’t have to actually interact with them, but truly.
I am pro America: When I was still suffering from the last vestiges of liberalism, I thought one of the cleverest things the right had done was co-opt the American flag and patriotism as symbols of conservatism. Now, I realize it’s that the left gave them up. It’s not “clever” to be proud of our country. No, we’re only allowed to see where America fails, not where she continually and constantly succeeds. I love my country. I always have, I always will. And if that makes me a pseudo-intellectual in your book, then so be it. I can speak more than one language. I can discuss quantum theory in detail. And I know who John Galt is. What you got? If you’re a liberal, that doesn’t mean I think you’re an idiot. I’ll judge you on your individual merits. How about cutting me the same slack?
I love my country precisely because I have been to Japan. I have been to Europe. Do I hate every other country but the USA? No. I just think this one is better and I always will.
I am pro military: Always will be. Not only do I know the sacrifices made to keep this country safe, I had a good friend who worked in a very classified position. Without giving me any state secrets, she told me what she’s seen. How many terrorist threats this country actually gets per year.
I support the troops. I love and honor their service. Now, too late in life, I wish I’d done my part. But, since that isn’t an option for several reasons, I will support them any way I can. Am I pro war? I don’t know anyone who is. But if you think brinkmanship isn’t a valid foreign policy, you clearly have your head in the sand. I am pro War on Terror, because I would rather radical terrorism be stopped over there before it becomes widespread over here. I am pro Defending America because, if it’s us or them, it’s going to be US who survives. If that makes me a war monger in your eyes, so be it.
I am pro capitalism: Why? Because capitalism has made this country what it is today. Do I think big business should be able to operate with no restrictions whatsoever? Of course not. I believe in smart laws, not all encompassing, pre-emptive government regulations that invite businesses to leave the state, or even the country. I believe in buying local when possible, and American when possible. Complain all you want about the evils of big business. Say, who do you work for? Hate Microsoft? Get a Mac. Hate Apple? Run Linux. Hate Wal-Mart? Then, for Pete’s sake, don’t shop there. But leave well-functioning businesses alone so that the rest of us can continue to work and shop in peace (and, hopefully, prosperity.)
Unless you’re an entrepreneur and run your own business, you work for the man. If you hate being controlled by business interests and lobbying groups, think how much more it will suck to be controlled by one big business called the government! Seriously.
To sum up: I am not a conservative because I dislike the poor, minorities or those in need. I’m a conservative precisely because of the opposite. I know what works. I know what doesn’t. I know that, before the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, black communities thrived. Now, they’re still segregated in neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods are often impoverished. I have a dream, too. And, in that dream, not only are black people equal to white people, they have their dignity and their businesses back. For all of us.
I hated George Bush’s TARP, much of the Patriot Act, and I loved Bill Clinton’s tax breaks and welfare reform. I’m a conservative, not a Republican. I will vote Republican because that party most closely represents my values. If Libertarians start running viable candidates, I’ll vote for them. And if the TEA Party should expand its platform a bit and organize into something worthy of being called an actual political party, I’ll never vote GOP again. But that’s me. Not all conservatives are the same. We don’t have to be. We’re individuals.
And say, how about if you’re white and heterosexual, you never play the race or minority card again? kthxbye.