There are times when I look back at my previous 43 years and wonder how I became the fervent Small Government, Pro-Constitution, Fiscal Conservative that I am as an adult. Sometimes I wonder if it was an evolution, while at others I'm convinced it was a pre-ordained path I was set upon at birth and that I was always a Conservative at heart. Sometimes I think I became a Conservative because of my upbringing, and sometimes I think it was in spite of it. Regardless, it's been a long, strange trip and while a Conservative I may be, and a staunch one at that (few can truly question my veracity) I don't exactly fit the mold most associate with being the prototypical archetype.
I'm an American citizen, but my people haven't always been. On my mom's side, I'm first-generation. She was born in Canada and emigrated here as a kid. I helped my mother study for her citizenship test in 1993. My grandfather was given his first job in America by a Czech couple who had survived a concentration camp. On my father's side, I'm second-generation. His father was conceived in Poland and born over here, the first American in the family. During WW2 he married a girl from Wales and brought her back to the States when the war was over.
I come from a lineage that appreciated being American and following the American dream. I also come from a very, very long line of military people. It's in our blood; it's what we do. On both sides, we're born with a strong sense of duty to serve. My mom's family service goes back to the Crusades. Like I said, it's what we do.
Now, I did say that I became a Conservative in spite of things. By this I mostly mean my education. Public schools have long been the Indoctrination Centers for the Liberal Left. From kindergarten through my first 6 weeks of high school, I was a victim of the Prince George's County public schools in suburban Maryland, long a deep blue bastion of the Left. I had some good teachers but the classes were often severely overcrowded and the schools were more like free lunch and daycare for poorer kids than it was a place to get educated. By junior high, circa 82/83, my classes were 45 kids deep and with a 43 minute class period, so it was less than a minute per kid for the teacher to spend. Good luck if a kid needed some extra help. No wonder some kids fell through the cracks.
I can't recall any overt political indoctrination in my younger years but they really hammered Black History Month on us every year, maybe because I was a bit of a minority (to put it mildly) and in the mid-70's we really weren't that far past the civil rights fights around the time of my birth in 1969. Teachers encouraged us to watch the mini-series "Roots". I could be wrong but this may have been the beginnings of the Liberal Left wave of White Guilt to make us all feel like evil racists. For certain we never learned about any of the historical black Americans I've written about;
instead it was always the Harriet Tubmans and George Washington Carvers and the MLK's. No military figures because the military is evil. Just safe, peaceful academics and freedom fighters against The Man in general and The White Man in particular.
When I hit high school, things took a dramatic turn. I left the DC suburbs and found myself in a small school in coastal Maine an hour north of Liberal Boston. The classes were much smaller; anything more than 20 kids was crowded. The teachers were able to spend more time with the students and I feel my education, such as it was, became much better than what I was getting in Maryland. But, and there's always
a but, Maine is full of escaped hippies and tree huggers and transplanted New Yawkas and Masshole Liberals who now outnumber the old-school New England Conservatives easily a hundred-fold. Many Republicans in Maine are Progressive RINO types. My freshman civics teacher moonlighted as a Democrat in the state House of Representatives so my perspective on government may have been sabotaged. I took history classes from a transplanted NY liberal who detested the military and let me and my circle of friends who were fervently pro-military know it.
Yeah, this was a weird crossroads time for me. Looking back, I was the quintessential confused teenager trying to find myself. I was, as I said, fervently pro-military. I mean, seriously
like to the point where I had a subscription to Soldier of Fortune magazine for awhile and I had a litany of tee-shirts that made my teachers cringe. Great shirts like "Kill a Commie For Mommy", and "Kill 'Em All; Let God Sort 'Em Out". After watching the original "Red Dawn" at the movies with my posse, I was convinced the Russian hordes were set to invade Maine and the only hope America had was me and mine.
My high school guidance counselor acted as if he got some sort of bonus or kickback for every kid who went to college after graduation. Sat me down my senior year & asked, "So, what are Steve's plans for after graduation?" Officious prick. Did the same to all of us, and my buddy Chris who was about to enlist in the Marines said ""I dunno, he's right across the table from you. Why don't you ask him?"
Dude had no use for us once we told him we weren't planning on college and that we were enlisting. Seems he'd been drafted and spent a miserable time in Korea and despised the military and everything to do with it. He only grudgingly and with great resistance allowed military recruiters in to talk to students. He had zero use for me and my friends.
Yeah, I was the strange sort of kid who read The Hunt For Red October as a hardback in '85 at age 16 before most submarine officers did. The kid who went to the library to read Jane's Defense Weekly and would regularly check out Norman Polmar's "Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet" to memorize entire sections of data on our military. The kid who called CNN once to talk to another noted naval analyst, Norman Friedman, when he was a guest one afternoon and was told by him that my theory I proposed to him was a great idea. The kid who would read the annual reports
of the Soviet threat and could identify pretty much every tank and aircraft used by NATO and Warsaw Pact forces alike.
Sounds like Reagan's perfect ideal American boy, no?
But at the same time I was a bit conflicted. Like I said, I was finding myself. And in finding myself, I found myself drawn to the fringes of the punk music scene and the second British Invasion of New Wave bands. Sometimes it was hard to play the anti-establishment tunes of the Dead Kennedys as they railed against suit-wearing stodgy stuffy Republicans while thumb-tacking a poster of a flight of A-10 tank-busters on my bedroom wall. Most music scenes are decidedly Liberal. I was reading liberal music rags like Rolling Stone. I would find myself wearing the combat boots and leather jacket (but not the Mohawk or the safety pin in my ear) and feeling rebellious.
Then I joined the Army. It was inevitable, really.
I rode a fine line when I was in the Army. Off duty I still listened to the music and dressed in moody black and hung out with Liberal civilians in artsy clubs, and on duty I was the spit and polish Army cop. I'd get off of patrol duty and high-tail it to the local Alternative Night at a club with my bin of import CDs and 12" remix singles to provide the DJ with fresh tunes. Little did the patrons realize that the dude handing records to the DJ and tearing up the dance floor was a Military Policeman.
I voted in my first Presidential election while stationed in Germany. I voted for Bush 41. Looking back, I wish I had been four years older to have voted for Reagan. C'est la vie.
After the Army I learned what being disgruntled and disenfranchised truly felt like. It took me 10 months to land a job after the Army, despite being told my status as a veteran gave me preferential hiring status and that my Army skills were invaluable in the civilian workforce. I was beginning to wonder about these stodgy old Republicans in their grey suits and whether they were actually looking out for my best interests.
Right about this time, the Left really started to use early social media and TV to grab younger voters and lure them in to the fold. The Left used MTV and liberal musicians (Rock the Vote) to appeal to younger, low-information voters who tend to vote based on how young and hip a candidate is. They pushed for states to adopt Motor Voter Bills, where you registered to vote at the DMV when getting a license (as if it was some sort of Herculean effort and miracle to get registered. It ain't that hard, people. It takes effort and desire, though, and that is something most younger Americans lack these days.) While I can look back and applaud the effort to get younger folks interested in politics, registering to vote and actually voting, all they would do is push liberal agendas and liberal candidates. And it worked.
Young people came out in droves
to vote for Bill Clinton. He was young, he was hip, he played the sax on Arsenio Hall. Bush 41 simply said "Read my lips, no new taxes", and then raised taxes, due in part because Congress was controlled by the Left and that's what Leftists do. But you couldn't tell young people that.
|Slick. Hip. Cool. Serial adulterer.|
I didn't vote in the 1992 election, to be honest. I abstained. I was 23, unemployed, I was pissed off, I felt that after giving my first few years of adulthood to Uncle Sam that I needed a break. It was stupid and petulant of me, looking back.
In late 1993 I went back to Maine for college, and regretted it quickly. The University of Maine is riddled and rife with hippies, tree huggers, and other various & sundry Liberals. While the Criminal Justice program seemed to have its head screwed on right, the rest of the faculty seemed your average garden variety granola. I got bored with the BS for a BS and dropped out, on the Dean's List with a 3.67 GPA. Read about it here
Along came the 1996 election, and I simply didn't trust Bill Clinton. I was 27, recently married, and had responsibilities, things like bills
. And that, my dear readers, is one of the things that grows you up and makes you lean RIGHT and not LEFT: it's easy to bang the liberal drum and rail against those evil banks and corporations when you're a college student leeching off mom and dad or some welfare maven sucking the governmental teat, all woe is me and downtrodden, but once you grow up and have responsibilities and bills to pay, you begin to realize how shallow and corrupt and vile the Left is and you start hungering for fiscal responsibility in your leaders, a strong national defense to keep offshore scumbags at bay, your right to a firearm to keep local scumbags at bay, lower taxes and fewer regulations so you can keep what you earn and live a free life as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Problem is, the GOP kept propping up stodgy old white guys in suits.They still do, actually.
|Yes, I supported Ross the Boss|
Bob Dole had all the personality of a dead fish all through the election of 1996. Slick Willie was all, well, Slick Willie. I supported the Crazy Guy, Ross Perot, as a protest. We got more Slick Willie as a result, and after the election, Bob Dole hit the late night shows (hosted by Liberals) and he was personable, funny, engaging; had he shown even half
that much personality and affability BEFORE the election I'd have been right there with him all the way.
But yeah, the older I've gotten, the more Conservative I've become. In spite of being surrounded by Libs all trying to seduce me to the Dark Side.
The Liberal Lapdog Media likes to portray the Typical Conservative as either a rich, doddering old man in a suit counting his billions schemed off the backs of the proletarian masses, or as a crazed gun-toting redneck garbed in camo and a NASCAR hat, burning crosses and misquoting Bible verses as they run over illegal aliens and other minorities in a giant pickup.
| Conservative Stereotype A|
|Conservative Stereotype B|
Yes, there are rich Conservatives in bespoke suits and yes there are Conservatives who live just down the road from me who fit more than just a couple of the criteria on the latter list. Where do I fit in?
I'm a blue-collar guy. I work for a dairy company in shipping. I'm not rich by any means. I'm a college dropout. A damned intelligent college dropout if I dare say.
I'm not a religious guy whatsoever. On a generous day, I'm an agnostic at best. However, I have no real problem with those who practice their faith. This nation was founded on religious freedom as one of its basic tenets. I simply choose not to practice.
Pickup truck? Not me; I drive a ten year old Toyota made in Kentucky and the wife drives a Kia that we just got a month ago. Almost 44 years old and this was the first brand-new car I'd ever signed my name to.
I have 8 tattoos and 2 earrings.
|Yes, I have tattoos for a band.|
|And I have my belief system as a tattoo|
Gun nut? I like guns, am very comfortable with guns, and I enjoy shooting. Do I own a closet full of shotguns and assault rifles? Nope.We have a couple of handguns for personal defense and recreational shooting. Would I shoot an intruder threatening my home and family? You bet your ass, and with zero hesitation.
Most conservatives are against same-sex marriage. Not me. I'm cool with it. You're different from me in your sexuality? Fine. You found love? Awesome. You wanna commit and get married and take a penalty on your taxes like me? Excellent. You want to be able to extend familial survivor benefits and what not to your spouse? Cool. That in no way affects or threatens my marriage or me in any way. Some people are gay and we as a human race really need to get the fuck over it.
Conservatives by and large wave a big huge giant flag against abortion. It's a super-tricky issue. I'm not in favor of it as a rule, especially not as a form of contraception by irresponsible types and not if we gotta fund it for free for those same irresponsible types. It's your problem; why should I pay for it? The complication is that it is constitutionally legal.
If you ban it, it will just go underground and occur in secret filthy labs set up in self-storage lockers and folks are gonna die. (And by folks I don't just mean the fetus; I also mean that those getting it done will invariably become casualties as they would in any lurid secret underground illegal unlicensed surgical deal). If you really feel the need to ban it, amend the Constitution that you claim to defend, uphold, and support. That's the process we set up when we founded this country. Personally, I'm against it after the first trimester whatsoever, unless continuing the pregnancy will cause harm and irreparable damage. Some say that life begins at conception and others say at birth. Some say that if you're going to say that a pre-fetal zygote is a living human why can't you claim it on your taxes and give it a Social Security Number till it's born? I try and be practical and call it life if it can viably live on its own outside the womb. For the record, I have no children of my own, so some would also say that I shouldn't even comment on the subject at all.But since when do I follow the rules?
The more I get to know my fellow Conservatives (not Establishment Republicans) the more I think I'm probably actually more mainstream than I thought. We tend by and large to fall into that gray area middle ground. We work, and we work hard. We want lower taxes and we want government to stay the hell out of every bit of minutiae in running our lives. We're sick of welfare leeches and sick of paying through the nose for gas and food. We're sick of our rights being eroded away and being replaced by bullshit regulations. We're sick of the Left usurping the Constitution. We're sick of the Establishment GOP handing us RINO squishes and jellybacks as candidates, of giving us progresssive old rich white dudes as candidates, of giving us UNELECTABLE candidates who won't fight back or even fight at all. We're sick of bending over and taking it in the ass from the Left on every issue because our alleged leadership just caves in on every issue.
Okay, rant over.What say you?