Conservatism and Living Your Own Life
Hundreds and hundreds of comments posted to numerous diaries lately have occupied hours of my nights here at Redstate in regards to Social/Fiscal/Conservatism/GOProud/CPAC/Etc. I would read one comment and agree, then read someone’s rebuttal and agree again. I continue to pour over the words, searching for an answer, (where is Vassar when you need him?) but in frustration, I sit back and wonder if there is no answer simply because Conservatism might only be defined logically by the individual - strictly for that individual. After all, Individualism is a main ingredient of Conservatism. The American Individual who finds the strength within himself to care for his own, rear his own and defend his own freedom. We strive as individuals to come together for the Common Good, trying to meld our separate philosophies into one big happy melting pot. The odds are not there, so the disputes will carry on. Indefinitely.
Is there a check-list that will help define the Conservative to SocialCon to a FiscalCon to a Libertarian and so-on. Where is the check-list? Is it the same for a Catholic, a Protestant, a born-again? What about the Conservative who is an Atheist? Can there even be one? Who sets the rules? Can a gambler be a Conservative? How about someone who voted for a Democrat in the sixties but swears that he was high that afternoon today? What about a law abiding Muslim-American family? Is it out of the question that they could believe in a limited Government and in our National Defense? Can a pro-choice man attend CPAC? Can a Pro-Life union worker get a ticket to the show?
Being the youngest of seven in an very Conservative Italian family, I would swear none to be stricter than my parents. I recall with great anguish the time I got caught smoking at age 16 and my mother made me eat a cigarette. That might not have been so bad, however she made me eat it – Lit. Strict is not even a big enough word. There are many stories of how Sicilian Mothers would hit their unruly children with big spoons. Well, in my house, you might see one of us with gravy stains on our backs because my Mother would actually pull the wooden spoon out of the hot gravy she was stirring and hit us with that, and then make us sit down and eat. (For the non-Italians, gravy is tomato sauce made with meat).
I give a little backdrop to make a point.
Catholic School – Second Grade – 1980. One child in the entire school was black. His name was Leonard. Leonard was my friend. I was Leonard’s only friend. Everyday. Except on the days when my Mom was a lunch mother. I remember vividly watching Leonard on those days sitting alone on the steps of the school at Recess with his yellow shirt and brown clip on tie. I turned my back on him out of fear of the Wrath of Dad. It was a false fear. Never once was I told not to play with a black child. Never once did I ever hear a slur against a black man in my home. It was a child’s stupid perception of the unknown that said, “You will eat a bar of soap tonight if you get caught playing with Leonard.” Lesson learned, as I have never forgotten him and I never shunned anyone out of fear of the unknown ever again.
Conservatives will stem from all walks of life and will define themselves as Conservatives based on their own belief system, the environment they grew up in and all the social interactions that they have engaged in. This is why we will all never see things the same way. If one is a homosexual and considers himself a Republican or a Liberal or a Conservative, then that is what he is. For first and foremost, he is a free American. He can join a group and become an activist with any party affiliation he likens himself to. If it turns out that he wants to be part of GOProud, then as a true conservative, I say, this is America and he has his every right to participate. And if he likens himself to the Conservative Movement, the Tea-Party, the GOP, then I say, move over and let him stand. If his positions stray and he is not loyal, he will be found out and cast aside. But until then, let the individual show their OWN colors and invite him in where he wants to be, where he should be and where he probably belongs.
The Democratic party has welcomed every soul they could get and has dominated the shift of a free America into a “way to close for comfort” distortion of what it is supposed to be. They open their arms to all facets of society in hopes of garnering their votes. America, at its heart, is right of center. And yet, because of the close-minded, those that want to embrace the values that we take for granted because we lived them all of our lives, are left on the little steps of the school, alone, wanting to join, but are all to often shunned by the fearful. And that is what it is. Fear of the Unknown. Punishable by the strict conservative who says, “You, stay away, and if you don’t, I will boycott the very gathering that I have been tirelessly building up for the passed five years”. This is why it makes no sense. To tear down that which is trying to uplift and build upon makes absolutely no sense. One’s views of their own loyalty to their own values is really all they need answer to. No man, no matter how brilliant or successful, has a right to judge what is in the heart of another. It may turn out that the ones you turn away now could have held the key you needed later.
It seems pretty clear that after the country woke up after a little taste of Obamanomics, many folks from all walks of life, all different classes and all different “upbringings’ will seek to identify somehow with the Conservative way of life. They may not be pure in the sense that we live and breathe it, but we must be open to allow them the chance to commit. Fear of the unknown can tear apart something that wants and needs to grow.