My Journey to the Conservative I am Today
I’ve been writing on Redstate since I was 17. During that time, I’ve grown up, graduated college, and now work as a registered nurse. I’m not the same person I was when I first came to Redstate. I don’t believe everything I used to; I have, for lack of a better word, evolved. I’m still a passionate conservative; I just found that my conservatism was lacking compassion. My main purpose in writing this is to hopefully reach out to the younger members of our community. Perhaps, to prepare them for what I was not: life experiences will change a person and challenge what one believes. It might just happen, as in my case, that the person realizes just how wrong they were.
The number one thing that has changed me, is seeing people instead of political issues. Too often, those of us who love politics tend to view the world through a prism political ideas. We get so focused on the issue and the “principle of the matter”, that we forget to look beyond that to the real, living, breathing, people involved.
I’ll never forget the first time I met an immigrant mother in ER suffering from heat exhaustion after working in the hot sun all day. Her little children sat quietly by her side, peeking up at me with timid glances. I didn’t see that family as illegal or legal; I saw that mother’s heart: full of self sacrificing love for her children. I saw her perseverance and determination. Then I looked inward at my heart, and cursed myself for ever railing against amnesty and preaching deportation; for arguing that nothing except a family’s legal status should be considered. In that mother’s heart I saw pure love, and realized that I needed more of that in my own. I needed more compassion to understand that people are not political issues to be argued about abstractly.
In the same way, I’ve learned that gay marriage isn’t just an issue. There are real people behind it. People who love each other. People who are just like me, except they happen to love someone of the same gender. Through my wonderful gay friends I’ve experienced their pain, their love, their compassion, and the simple request to have the benefits that marriage provides. I realized that it was ridiculous for me as a conservative deny them. It doesn’t infringe on my rights or anyone else’s for a gay couple to be married. Why then, would I take issue?
Perhaps the jist of what I’m trying to say is that I now understand that people matter more than any political issue; that one’s heart is a better guide than any pundit, talk show host, or politician. I’ve learned that politics and campaigns are not the only way (or even the best way) to change the world. Our love for each other as human beings that were created equal transcends any governmental action or progress we could make politically. Changing the world starts with how we live, not how we vote.