Is it just me, or have things gotten a lot nastier in the last decade? Is it just me or have we become more separate and more biased?
I don’t use this blog to talk about politics or religion very often-there are other platforms for that. But I’ve felt the need to say something for quite a while. And before I begin, I’m asking you-don’t unfriend me or unfollow me because we may disagree. Don’t x this page because I am right this instance outing myself as a conservative. I am often very quiet about my political ideals because I’ve been pushed into corners (no literally-into a corner) and judged by people who believe differently than I do. And being the first child pleaser that I am, I don’t like that.
I have always been conservative. As a child it was because my parents were. As a teenager it was because I was pro-life. Now as an adult it is because of oh so many reasons. But let me tell you what a conservative is NOT in case you don’t know any or in case you’ve been lied to by the network news.
1. A conservative does not hate women. I am a woman. I have two girls. I have used birth control in my life. I love women. I am pro woman. I’ve spent my adult life in careers in which I focus on building women up and esteeming women. I have a theology degree (which in case you don’t know-is a field dominated by mostly men). I believe women are created equal to men and can pretty much do anything that men can do (besides um-obviously things their bodies won’t allow). They are equal in mind and ability. I consider myself for the aforementioned reasons-a feminist. But being pro woman DOES NOT mean I HAVE to be pro-abortion. I am not. I believe life begins at conception. I have heard my own daughter’s heartbeats at 6 weeks post conception. I believe in life. I do not have ANY JUDGMENT AT ALL for women who have had abortions. But I do have judgment for a government that wants me to pay for them and an abortion industry and culture that inadequately counsels women before and after abortions.
Side note: I do not believe, however, that our bodies will shut down during rape. I don’t believe that it is my right to dictate what a woman should do in that situation-although I know a lovely 20-year-old, whose mother bravely kept her after being raped (and the world would be far worse without her).
Futhermore-while I have no problem with contraceptives-it is wrong on the government’s part to expect Catholics to provide a service that is contrary to their religious beliefs. This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom. That means that the government should not assert its power over religious institutions. The government must not tell us how to worship or what we should believe. I am terrified to think that the government can dictate to churches what they can and cannot do. This is not my America.
***A friend pointed out that Obama has made an exception for religious institutions. Regardless of this-there are still many religious employers who are opposed to providing the morning after pill or birth control. Like I said, I’ve used birth control, I have no problem with it morally (personally). My issue is forcing people by law to provide a service or product which violates their conscience. We are on a slippery slope here.
2. A conservative is not a bigot. I have many gay friends. If you are my gay friend and you read this, I’m pretty certain you know I love you because we’ve talked about it. I am also not a racist because I don’t support Obama. If you are my friend of color, I’m also certain you know this-because you’ve been in my home and we’ve had coffee and laughs. I’d vote for Condy Rice in a NYC minute and she’s a woman and black. So there!
3. A conservative is not an out of touch rich person. Here’s the deal, and I need to say this. I am not rich-not even close-well actually that’s a lie. If you are reading this and you live in America-we are all much richer that the majority of people in our world. I have been in the trash dumps of Venezuela. I have served food to the homeless in my city. I have been in the projects and played with the poor. I am rich. But that being said-the rich in our country (read: Mitt Romney) have been demonized for having realized the American dream. (And don’t act like Barack Obama wasn’t richer than you or anyone you know even before he headed to Washington-because he was). That’s capitalism people-and aren’t we grateful for it? Aren’t we grateful that there is room for advancement? Last time I checked we’d all like to be “movin’ on up?” RIGHT? Don’t act like you don’t want more money. Because you do. We all do. Here’s my deal with taxes. Like the hippie in the great little flick, Stranger than Fiction I sure wish I had the guts to pay 50% of my taxes (dang my first child pleaser side). I don’t want to pay into a system that I can’t control. I’m mad that I can’t give my money to help my 70 year old friend who’s husband is in a nursing home with dementia and she’s making french fries at McDonald’s. I want to cut her some of my tax check. I’m mad that my sister has bought school supplies and uniforms for a jr high kid whose mother has spent her welfare (your money) check on alcohol instead of her kids. I’m mad that my stimulus money in the state of AR a few years ago laid cable lines for rural Arkansas (granted a job for someone-but a short job). I’m mad that refugees who are new to our country are given 6 months of government aid and then they’re on their own, often on the streets, while others live on welfare for a lifetime. Maybe I could give my money away better if I HAD IT TO GIVE AWAY. But I don’t. The gov does and it irks me. If conservatives are out of touch rich people, then we are all out of touch rich people.
4. Conservatives are not war mongers. Conservatives want justice in our world. Sometimes innocent lives must be sacrificed for the preservation of freedom. Do I hate war? Yes. Did I tell my husband I’d rather pay off school debt myself than ever be a military wife? Yes. Is it gut wrenching to watch my friends with toddlers send their husbands to war? Yes. Is war sometimes necessary to keep us free and free the bondaged. Unfortunately-yes. We all know this is true. Where would we be without the Allies of WW2? We all know the answer.
The US government did nothing to stop the Rwandan genocide. There is mounting evidence that the US government was aware of a possible attack in Libya in September-and did nothing. I would argue that to do nothing in the face of evil is to aid the spread of evil. (If you can present me with a logical counter argument-I will gladly entertain it). But if you think that most people are born good and there is little evil in this world, you’ve never been around when two toddlers are given one toy.
5. Conservatives are not anti-healthcare reform. We don’t believe in pre-existing clauses (my mom has Parkinson’s Disesase-if my dad lost his insurance I can’t fathom what we’d do). We don’t want out of this world premiums. We just want health care reform that every legislator has read and understands. We don’t want to wait a million years for a doctor’s appointment like other countries (and MA) do. We want you to know that it is ILLEGAL to turn people away from hospitals and ERs-insurance or not. We want you to know that many county hospitals have plans that accommodate those who have no insurance. The public hospital in my city provides $1 a month insurance for anyone below a certain income level.
I realize this hits so very close to home for many of us. And let me say again-health care reform is necessary, but there is so much that we don’t understand about it and our politicians were reckless in passing something so HUGE so quickly. It needed more time.
6. Conservatives like Big Bird and NPR. We like Parks. We like Music. We are artists. We have gardens. We carry reusable grocery shopping bags and use cloth diapers and live in pedestrian neighborhoods. We buy organic food. We donate to charity. We donate our time to those less fortunate than us. We aren’t the 1%. We like immigrants. We want Spanish to be taught to our children at a younger age. We don’t bully gay kids in the streets. We don’t advocate that they be bullied. We don’t teach straight kids at churches to bully gay kids. We are not as different as CNN tells you we are. Get to know us.
I want to end by telling you about my friend. One day in the first semester of my freshman year of college we were sitting next to each other during a break from our introductory Theatre class. I turned to her and said, “Hey, it’s weird, there are so many gay guys in this department, but I don’t know any gay girls. Is Susie, do you think?” (I thought Susie may be gay because she had short hair-wow, just wow).
My friend smiled and said, “well-um…I’m dating a girl.”
“Huh. Ok. Well…”
And we we’ve been friends ever since. I haven’t seen her since graduation. But we talk often still about politics and religion. We have great respect for one another because I can say that I truly love her and who she is and I believe she feels the same way about me. She is a good, kind, and true person who wants the best out of this world and the best for humankind. We disagree on a lot, but our friendship and mutual respect goes so much deeper than our political or religious ideologies.
What I’m saying to you is this: I am not your enemy. ABC and CNN and CBS and Matt Lauer and the evil EVIL Bill Maher will tell you that I am, but I’m not. We are friends, we are neighbors, we are family, we are school mates, and co-workers. We are more alike than we are different. We laugh at the same tv shows and go to the same movies. We are Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy. When this is all set and done (sometime in December-but really never) I wish we could just remember that we are a country of people who want the best for one another. Let us not get carried away with partisan hatred as we approach November 6.