One Dad's Confession: I'm a Conservative, But I Have A HeartCody
I’m going to admit something here that may not be the most popular of admissions round these parts—I’m a conservative. Gasp. I’ll give you all a moment to collect yourselves. Alright, now that I’ve lost 75% of my readers, I’ll move right along. Technically this isn’t the first time I’ve outed myself as a conservative, but it is the first time I’ve discussed the stance while a very prominent Democratic Convention is underway.
If there’s anything that Twitter has taught me, it’s that watching sports with an updated Twitter stream can be entertaining and that under no circumstances should I open Twitter during the DNC because politics on Twitter can be downright mean spirited and hate filled.
I’ve been conservative ever since I was in the second grade when I adopted President George Bush as my favorite modern day president and my love of the Republican Party only grew as I studied the history of Abraham Lincoln. Here’s the thing, I may be a conservative but I’m still a human being. And I have a heart. Surprise! (Insert jazz hands here!)
I get that there are lots of extremists/crazies on the conservative side of the aisle, and I don’t really want to alarm the liberals, but there are extremists/crazies on the left too. I like to think of myself as someone who leans to the right on most political matters, but understands the stance taken by the Democrats.
I think the conservatives have a better answer for improving the economy, but I’m not sure how much I trust their desire to create a workable healthcare system. (Side note, yes Romney is rich, but I would absolutely love to be as poor as President Obama.) Like many liberals, I believe people need and deserve government assistance when times get rough. People shouldn’t have to lose their entire well-being because they’re down on their luck. After all, my own family received government assistance as I worked my way through school. (And I’ve gotten quite a bit of flak for that from those who think I misused that government program.) Making sure people have a safety net to catch them when they fall is important, but I have met several people who have decided to take advantage of that system by consciously choosing to remain unemployed. People who purposely lose their job and avoid getting hired by good employers, who pay a good salary, because it is much easier to collect an unemployment check. That doesn’t mean that everyone is abusing the system or that even a majority of people are abusing the system, but it is a fact that there are people abusing the system.
Don’t even get me started with same sex marriage. I have my own debate raging in my head divided three ways between my religious beliefs, my social beliefs, and my legal beliefs. I usually take the easy way out by relying on my legal beliefs after all, I will spend the majority of the next 40 years of my life focusing on them. The crux of my point is that the topic isn’t as black and white for many religious people as many liberals would like to believe, but it instead stirs quite an internal struggle that is difficult for many of us to consider.
Healthcare is one of those tricky subjects for me because I believe something needs to be done so that people can afford healthcare, but I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act is the solution this country needs. And no, I don’t have an answer to that question. I read a Tweet from someone who wrote something along the lines of, “Republicans’ healthcare plan for the poor is eat sh%t and die.” I’m not sure the Tweet was all that fair considering that conservatives would like healthcare coverage for the poor to be taken care of by the states rather than the federal government. The truth is that in every state I’ve ever lived, that state has had a healthcare system that is available and affordable to the poor. While the Affordable Care Act now shifts that healthcare system for the poor to the federal level, it doesn’t do all that much to make healthcare affordable for the middle class. If I were to send out a counter Tweet to the previous Tweet it would have to be along the lines of, “Democrats’ healthcare plan for the middleclass is eat sh%t and die.” Of course, I would never send such a Tweet.
After checking my Twitter stream during the Republican Convention, I’m not sure there are many people out there who wouldn’t send similar mean-spirited Tweets. (Side note, I, like Bill Maher, thought Clint Eastwood’s empty chair bit was hysterical and not in a let’s laugh at an old person kind of way.) I read Tweets from people who vowed to never let their daughters listen to Nicki Minaj again because she allegedly endorsed Mitt Romney. I’m sure those parents have their priorities straight since THAT’S the primary reason they won’t let their daughters listen to Nicki Minaj.
Will people stop reading my blog simply because I have different political views? Does having different political opinions really make someone less talented or less of a human being?
Both sides of the aisle have valid points that need to be addressed, but the answer is never as easy as we think it is. Or at least, the answer is never as easy as Twitter would like you to think it is. These are very sophisticated problems despite the tendencies on Twitter to claim that the local 5th grader who lives down the street could solve all of America’s problems. In 140 characters or less! It’s just not that easy. And we start down a pretty dangerous path when we start rebuking people for having different political opinions.
All I’m trying to get at is that it is important to remember that although we may not all have the same political views, we are all people. We all have our own convictions and we all get to vote for those convictions. But using someone’s political differences as a reason to be mean-spirited and hate-filled is just, well, mean and uncalled for. It doesn’t matter if you think your position gives you the moral high ground either. As I have told many clients in the past, never wrestle with a pig in the mud because you both get dirty and the pig just enjoys it. Political discussion should be just that, a discussion. It shouldn’t be used as a technique to bully others who do not have your same views.
Photo Credit: Flickr
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