To my conservative friends

I listen to the local grandees slapping their knees and chortling as they talk about shooting a few liberals so we get the point. I look at the paper and I see an editorial saying that people with my opinions aren’t American and should leave the country. I look at the TV and I’m being called a traitor, a liar, a sympathizer with our enemies. I see nice clean smart educated middle-class people in sweaters agreeing with each other that homosexuals and liberals and non-christians should be excluded from our schools and government jobs because “they just don’t share our values”.

I see this more and more, and a hundredfold again more since this election.

And then I look at my conservative friends, who vote and donate and support these people. I think about people who are very nice to my face and share food with me and appear to enjoy my company, and call themselves my friends. And then I look at their friends. And I think: “What do they say when I’m not around?”

Do they stand up for me and mine at all? Does anyone ever say “No, those people are Americans, too; their viewpoint is legitimate”. Or “Don’t be silly, this country has room for more opinions than one.” Or even just “live and let live”?

I was raised to build bridges to others; to find points of agreement; to share values when I couldn’t share politics; and to agree to disagree. I can’t do that any more, because they’re making total war on me. When I do it with you now, I feel like an idiot, because no one on your side plays that game now.

My father and his father and his father before him back to the founding of this country have fought in all our wars. I am an American or I am nothing. The liberal values we have are Kennedy’s, and FDR’s, and Jefferson’s. But your friends say that’s all a lie, or at least it’s all over with, and it’s time for me to leave and let them have their way.

Is that how you see me, too? Is that what you want, too? Because if that’s the case, please tell me. Then I’ll know who isn’t my friend, and never was. I’d never thought I’d say this, but I don’t feel safe around you any more.

23 thoughts on “To my conservative friends

  1. even though i know that there is no way in hell i could be considered one of your conservative friends… i just had to poke in to say thank you, thank you for standing up for the rest of us. thank you for saying what you have recently, and saying it more eloquently than i ever could have and thank you for being my friend, however far away we are, both geographically and personally.
    i have more respect for you than i do most anyone i know, and i’m grateful to have met you.
    oh and i would just about kill to be able to sit over a cup of coffee with you these days…

  2. WAIT
    I don’t get it.
    You keep saying that Conservatives find Liberals unacceptable but I kinda feel like you are saying that I am a Conservative and therefore unacceptable to YOU?
    That’s kinda confusing.
    Clarify please.

    1. Re: WAIT
      Yes, it is confusing. That’s because those two statements were both stages in a process and two sides of a coin.
      My first reaction at the post-election mood I described before was fear and rage. I realized that my consensus-building moderate liberalism was unacceptable to these new “conservatives”. And that my strategy of donating, letter-writing, and voting was just laughable; these people wanted me imprisoned or exiled or dead. The whole 8 years of shrieking talk-show propaganda fell on me like a ton of bricks. At this point I felt I’d be better off throwing Molotov cocktails than writing letters to my congressman, and certainly being pleasant to these “conservatives” wasn’t an option any more.
      And then my next reaction kicked in which was this: Wait a sec. What about the people who are on that team and say they’re my friends? What do they say when the “kill the liberals” talk comes up, or their O’Reillys and Larry Elders and Ann Coulters call us traitors and unamerican. Do they nod and smile and then just pretend to respect our opinions later?
      So no, I don’t want to shoot you, for Chrissakes. I’m afraid that your friends are going to come for me and I’ll have to shoot them. And then my next thought is “does she approve of those people? What does she say to them when they say these things?”
      And that’s why I asked my question that no one answered.

    2. Re: WAIT
      BH-
      If I may step in here for a moment …
      Have you ever been fired from a job for being heterosexual? Have you ever been denied housing due to your ethnicity or sexual preference–perceived or otherwise? Have you ever had a doctor or dentist not want to treat you because of your straightness?
      Of course not. When you have, and it was done by someone associating with a group of “right-thinkers” who willingly sell their souls to the devil to gain entrance to heaven, or come right out and tell you they’ll have blood on their hands for eternity if they don’t personally save you, look me up.
      Take responsibility for the message of the group you self-identify with before feigning surprise with the reaction it receives. Not all of it may be pleasant if that group is known for unkind acts against humanity.
      I don’t know you, or your religious or social values, so I do not stand in the position of being able to say whether you believe in what the conservative movement espouses. But if you identify yourself as “conservative” or “religious” your agenda towards others may be suspect from the start. Personally, I would rather not know with which group you identify, so I can form my own opinion about you based upon your acts.
      If that sounds harsh, please don’t take it personally. It’s not about you, it’s about with what you publically identify with. If you don’t want to be associated with those values, think about what they stand for, and if they really fit who you are.

      1. EVERYONE OUT OF THE POOL
        It’s up to her whether she wants to deal with anonymous commenters or not; many people prefer not to for good reasons.
        I think this has taken a different direction than what I meant to say myself anyway. Maybe another forum might be better.

      2. Re: EVERYONE OUT OF THE POOL
        Yes, I understand about dealing with anonymous commentators. My point was that the offer to answer my questions via AIM was moot, since she wasn’t getting that my questions were for her to ponder for how she chose to label herself appeared to the outside world.
        There were no questions I had for BH in my post that I felt needed answering to me personally, and therefore no personal reply was sought or required, and this post is solely to clarify that point.
        -W 🙂

      3. Re: WAIT
        but I do want to say HERE that I HAVE been deinied food stamps and federal aid while pregnant with my son because my husband who made 10$ an HOUR made TOO MUCH money. While my neighbors, with no job to speak of received full aid.
        How is contributing to society better than doing nothing at all ? This seems backwards.
        Is this unrelated? I dunno.
        I am just a person, with tons of love for ALL my friends, No matter their political leanings. I chose to be an example of an understanding, open-minded person, who just happens to see things a little differently due to my personal experiences.
        Also
        Not all conservatives are Christian. trust me.

      4. Re: WAIT
        You didn’t respond to me, so I wonder.
        “Not all conservatives are Christian. trust me.”
        I know, I know! And one of the sad things about the aftermath of this election is that conservatism is sort of dead right now. The actual conservatives — the people who wanted less government and lower taxes and less government intrusion and more business opportunity — are not much in evidence. The “talking points” are endless war, intolerance, and a police state instead.
        The closest I’ve heard to an acknowledgment of that has been a couple of conservative friends of mine who said “Yeah, I know, that’s really too bad it had to be this way”.
        When the Soviet Union was unavoidably demonstrated to be evil and dangerous in the 1930s, most leftists remained in denial. Despite their wretched behavior in Spain and the purge trials of 1938, otherwise sane people kept making excuses for Stalin’s actions while things got worse and worse. Nearly alone among his colleagues on the Left, George Orwell had the guts to write and speak out about the horrors of Soviet Russia, giving us Animal Farm and 1984 and giving the world a powerful warning about ideals gone wrong.
        American conservatives need an Orwell about now. If you need me, I’ll be in Room 101 with rats chewing on my face.

      5. Re: WAIT
        It takes quite a leap of faith to equate failing to qualify for benefits based upon one’s socio-economic class, and being denied access to the norms society you yourself expect as an everyday occurance based upon one’s ethnicity and/or sexual preference.
        That’s just so not getting it on the level of a president claiming to be a uniter and then saying he will work with those who share his agenda.
        -W (not that one 🙂
        :: bang head against brick wall ::

  3. Future history
    The Fascists will overextend themselves and then it’ll get crazy and there will be lynchings and disgraces, and then the hundred million halfwits who supported the Fascists will mysteriously never have supported them! It’ll be like trying to find someone these days who lynched blacks in the South, or shrieked against integration.
    And then we can “begin the healing”, just in time to come together in our future national quest to kill all the Chinamens or gene-splicers or whatever.

  4. Your answer…I hope: Part One of Two
    Conrad, first off, I am glad that you are willing to put yourself and your politics out there for others to see. I think that this is why I respect you and value you as a friend. I know where you stand. For much of this election, I have remained quiet. I feel the hostility on my end as well. Especially when there is a lot about Bush that I do not agree with either. Unfortunately, my response is terribly long. Oh well, political discussion is not simple nor should it be.
    Here is my view on Bush and conservatives:
    The middle class is getting raped. I know, I am the demographic that gets to pay the most taxes due to the fact that I have no children, own a house on a duel income that is above $100,000 a year. Yeah, the property taxes I get to pay are $5000 a year for the local schools that I have no kids to go to. I also pay over $8000 a year for social security that might not be there when I retire.
    Bush is not the stereotypical conservative. Government has gotten larger, not smaller. Government is more intrusive, not less. I understand that we need to strengthen our borders and stop the bad guys. Fine, go do that. But the “shakedown” of the American people has gotten totally out of hand.
    He stance on prescription drugs sucks. I like fiscal conservatism is the aspect of competition on certain segments of the economy. If there is a segment of the economy that is completely out of control expensive and has turned into a money-hording monopoly, competition can change that. Bush, for whatever reason, has sucked up to the drug companies. This sucks. He should allow for Americans to buy their drugs from anywhere. It’s the buyer that has the risk of hurting themselves and should be allowed to have this risk. Paternalistic, awww we will take of you government, was not and should not be part of someone that claims to be a conservative.
    So, then why did I vote for Bush. Well, because Kerry scared me. That is the short answer.

    1. Re: Your answer…I hope: Part Two of Two
      Jobs and the economy: Kerry wanted to increase the taxes on people making more than $200,000 a year. Well, this would include pretty much most small business owners that operate as an S-Corp or sole proprietorship. Currently, my nice paying job is not with some big company, it is with a small consulting company. My spouse’s nice paying job is with a small real estate developer. I believe for most younger people, smaller companies allow us to get “in the door” on certain career paths. Small businesses need to be protected.
      Healthcare. Both sides did not have an answer that I liked. But Kerry’s answer, I disliked even more. There is a dynamic that he has forgotten. In a growing economy, it is increasingly difficult to find qualified people. Health benefits are a benefit that employers use to attract people to work for them. Potential employees ask about the health plan. If Kerry got his health plan passed, my really good health plan now would go away because my employer would opt into the cheaper watered-down health plan that everyone gets. How do I know that it is going to be worse. I relate this to catering. When you cook eggs for 2-10 people, it is pretty good and consistent. When you cook eggs for 2000-10000 people, it taste and looks like crap. The only way it can be good is if you pay A LOT, like 3-4 times as much. In England, heath care is pretty good and is accessible for all citizens. Taxes are pretty high as well.
      International Politics: France and Russia on this planet like every other state for their own self-interest. They do not care about the UN either. Please Kerry, do not defend the UN.
      Religion and values: A lot of new votes came to vote based upon this issue. One statistic I heard was that it was around 20%. And 80%+ of that 20% voted for Bush. This is tied to two issues: gay marriage and abortion.
      See, the problem that I have with gay marriage is that it is called “marriage”. If it was called a “civil union” and was afforded the same legal rights with regards to taxes or whatever, I would vote for it tomorrow. But is not, so I am not going to vote yes for it. Why, well here is my example and where I will get the most flack: Two married couples go into an adoption agency and have identical backgrounds, income, personalities, etc. except one couple is straight and one couple is gay, I want the preference of the adoption agency to be toward the straight couple and not the gay couple. I believe that there is a healthier family when a child is raised by a man and woman verses 2 men or 2 women. That ‘s it. If both couples are defined as a marriage, the can be no preference.
      In regards to abortion, I do not want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned. I do no think most Americans want it to be overturned either. However, I do wish that America valued that all attempts to protect a life should be made. Instead, it is viewed that opting for abortion is an equivalent option to carrying a child to term and then giving the child away for adoption.
      So, to answer your question, I still defend your position. I do not hate you or liberals. Both sides need to be heard and options considered. I wish we had another FDR as well. If we could find a way to put young people to work that did not make correct decisions with regards to their career path and give them a second chance, I am all for it. If we could develop in a way that Americans can increase their skills and become more competitive in the world market place, I am all for it.
      There are a lot of ideals that liberals have that most of America should agree with. Protecting the poor, workers rights (unions, associations, etc.), minority rights, social welfare, and domestic trade policy.
      I think that in this election however, both sides lost.

      1. Re: Your answer…I hope: Part Two of Two
        Reading your response makes me wish the debate was still like this. You and I disagree on a lot, but it’s disagreement and not war.
        I think I’ll avoid responding to your points because that’s not the purpose here. If all I had to do was argue my case with others who had different philosophies I’d be upset when I lost but not this upset.
        My question to my conservative friends was: will you say anything, do you say anything, when your friends want me exiled and disenfranchised and dead? Will you stay with your party if they keep eroding the Bill of Rights? Is there a point at which Christian conservatives could say “stop here, we don’t need a theocracy”? I haven’t seen an answer to that yet.
        What I see is this kind of talk going unchallenged by anyone in the conservative camp. It gives me the same feeling that Louis Farrakhan or David Duke or Le Pen do; a cold breath of fear that we’re losing our moderate core in this country and sliding into demagoguery and neofascist hate. The only people who can reverse that are principled conservatives who are willing to take a stand on Americanism for all of us.

      2. Re: Your answer…I hope: Part Two of Two
        It is always dangerous when the core of the party is so obviously expressed through their candidate. This is case on both sides. Kerry tried to be moderate, but his record is anything but. He is not a second Bill Clinton by any stretch of the imagination. This election was vital to either core due to the number of Supreme Court nominations that might come up. The difference in this election is that the core for the Republicans were much more motivated and organized. They got their message out there more effectively than the left because the message was simple and would impact voters on an emotional level. They did not bark about fiscal policy, international politics, social welfare, health care, etc., they focused on values: family values, effects on children, effects on the direction of the country. This is what turned the tide on the election.
        Hence this impact. So, those that do not hold to the same values are the enemy. Do I hold to the notion that the liberals are now subdued and will submit to this new agenda. Absolutely not. I do beleive though that this does give them the opportunity to reevalute their goals and refocus on what their core should be and what it should fight for.
        What I hope happens is that the left reinvents themselves and finds innovative ways to help solve the major problems that this country is currently dealing with and will face in the future. I think that they can. All they have to do is look at the influencial presidents of the past and what they did. Here are a couple of examples:
        If they can find ways to move companies away from cheap inefficient overseas labor to retraining Americans to be a small, more efficient employable group, this will be winner on both sides of the isle.
        If they can find ways to tell the Middle East to kiss off and use natural gas or electric cars instead of gas-guzzling V8’s, then we can lower the cost of goods and services by moderating fuel costs as well as reducing our portion of the world pollution to make the UN happy.
        In the 1930’s, we provided power to most of the rural South by building dams and power plants through employing out of work Americans. There is not reason why today, we cannot do the same thing with renuable energy.

      3. Re: Your answer…I hope: Part Two of Two
        I’m not sure I follow this. S-corps and sole proprietorships don’t pay dividends (where a substantial portion–but not all–of Bush’s tax savings for those over $200,000 came from), and that somehow relates to whether or not a small employer would be able to offer a job or not. And offering health benefits to more Americans would suddenly cause him/her to choose an option that already exists (cheaper insurance) just because a new option is federally-serviced–clearly an option against Republican views on the function of government (and remember, in a group plan, the owner of the business has to go along with it for their insurance too). And because there’s no scientific facts to prove that a child raised in a stable home with same-sex partners rather than a home broken by rampant divorce rates and de-sanctified by Britney Spears-like stunts is any worse off, the latter is somehow better than the former. I just don’t see it.
        I also don’t see how those choices do anything to defend the rights this administration has already declared they want to take away from you, me and others.
        It’s possible I read the screen wrong, but thank you for sharing how you saw the election–it was a fresh perspective on conservative views on these issues.
        -W 🙂

      4. Re: Your answer…I hope: Part Two of Two
        Ah, but Kerry was not talking about dividends. He was talking about raising individual income taxes on the top 1% of Americans who make over $200,000 a year. How this affects small companies is that most are S-Corps or sole proprietorships whose taxes are on the bottom line profit of the company. See if you are the CEO of a small company and you pull a salary of $100,000. Your company say makes a profit of $150,000. Your taxes are based upon $250,000, not $100,000. This has nothing to do with dividends. Dividends are profit-sharing distributions for investors that hold stock in a company. Most small companys are not publically shared, so the issue of dividends is a minor issue for the private shareholders in the company, if any. Usually, the CEO holds all the shares of a S-Corp.
        The issue of health insurance is a no-win situation. If I own a restuarant, my largest expense are labor expenses even though the majority of people I hire are at minimum wage. If I have to worry about paying for health insurance for employees that work more than 30 hours a week, I am doomed. Basically, I will have to hire more people at a PT level in order to get around this.
        I remember when I worked as a server in college. Those extra 8 hours a week is what let me eat as well as pay the rent. I did not worry about health insurance. I worried about paying for rent and food. I did have the option of getting health insurance through my community college, but opted out of it becuase the $60-80 a month was too much to pay.
        So, when I look at health insurance, I fear that if the government takes it over, my personal really good insurance will go away and be replaced by the cookie cutter government health insurance. I fear that Kerry’s government program will be too far reaching and affect those that do not want our employers thinking of the watered-down government option. Now, if Kerry was offering a low cost health plan to anyone that basically was, “If you do not like your employer’s plan, you can opt out and the money your employer contributes to your health plan will go to a medical savings account and you can opt in to the government program with before tax dollars.” If this was the case, I would go for Kerry’s plan.

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