Wearing Liberalism

Socializing is tough when you're a conservative living in a liberal world. Liberals generally speak quite freely about their political views, and they act as if everyone in the room is like minded. After all, if you're there, breathing, then surely you must agree with them! A conservative mustn't respond in the midst of the intellectual tyranny. To do so means breaking social protocol, offending people, and ruining the evening. And blame, of course, goes to you, the conservative, for being the one who is outrageous. It's best to mind one's business if one is to have friends. So I don't do much sharing of my views when I'm not on the radio. I do lots of listening, and I store up my observations and reactions, which I'd like to share with you, a bit. Please don't read this if you're a liberal, as I'll be expressing ideas that you don't agree with, so you'll have no choice but to be offended and outraged. What have we learned about the people in power over the past several months? Democrats are proving themselves, once again, to be the business as usual people. Change means changing the guard, it doesn't mean changing "the way Washington does business." Okay. That's fine, isn't it? That's what politics is all about. The thing that bothers me is the deception - that the marketeers have successfully created the impression that Democrats represent something that is superior - morally elevated. Morally elevated during an election cycle, business as usual once they gain power. How does a liberal reconcile the big lies after the most recent election. Remember that Barack Obama was able to outflank Hillary Clinton only because he was able to define her as an insider, lacking the imagination or the chutzpa to oppose the war in Iraq. Obama would systematically remove our troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office without regard for what was happening on the ground. Remember? Liberals don't remember. At least, they don't seem to care that 5 months into his president, when twenty to forty thousand troops would have been ordered home had his campaign promise been followed, no force reduction has taken place. To be fair, most Obama supporters aren't aware of the deception. They don't pay that much attention. But others are conscious of it, and I wonder how they come to terms with it. I assume that they are so pleased to have their guy in power that they just don't care that he's another lying politician. He's their lying politician - and if that's what it takes to put them in charge, they're fine with it. They're so pleased, they ignore, or swat away the deceptions with throwaway lines - "Oh, well, you can't get everything." On Friday we went to my mother's for dinner. She lives in a lovely senior community in Lexington, packed full of retirees with a background in the arts, education, and the sciences. A very intellectual crowd. There was an art show to attend before our meal, and the first person I talked with was Mary Lou, a neighbor in town when I was growing up. We chatted for a few minutes about her jewelry, and then she said, "I've never listened to you on the radio. I can't believe you're a Republican!" "Someone has to make sense," I responded snidely. I grow tired of this intellectual bigotry, and the shroud it places over the ability of people to think. "Don't even go there," she replied. And I didn't. Because, of course, when talking to the enlightened, there's no where to go. The doors are all locked. There's no celebration of diversity when it comes to ideology. One must conform if one is to included. Last night, we had dinner in Gloucester with a group of friends, and a member of the arts community was sitting next to me. She's a lovely woman, and we had a fun time talking, on and off, for an hour so. After she'd had a couple of drinks, Linda blurted out, "Are you really a Republican? I can't even talk about it! Don't even tell me! I can't listen to you on the radio." "Don't you believe in diversity?" I asked, cleverly. Ideas are supposed to be, after all, a wonderful thing. "I just don't get it," she said. I offered an explanation. "It's not that complicated. Have you ever been to the Registry of Motors Vehicles and noticed how the service is slow and the staff can be surly? You always leave frustrated at the negative experience, and you leave wondering how they get away with it. The answer, of course, is they don't care, and they don't care because they have no incentive to care. They get their money no matter what, so whey should they value you as a customer rather than treating you like the bane of their existence?" She wasn't much interested, but I was tired after a couple of days of hiding my opinions in deference to social harmony, so I went on. "That's the power of capitalism. People vote with their money every day for what should be, and if a business isn't providing the right product, they've got to adjust or die. That's why we have the most vibrant economy in the history of the world - we have freedom, and we have capitalism. It's proved to be an unbeatable combination that's lifted millions around the world out of poverty." Enough theory, I decided. Time to bring the point home. "So, when someone says to me, 'Do you want universal health care,' I say no. I don't want the spirit of the motor vehicle department to take over the health care industry. I want us to have the best." Linda mustered the gumption for a question. "Well, that's not happening in our country, is it? We haven't lost any of our freedoms or anything." "It's not that big and scary, my conservatism. It's just about underlying principles," I offered, sidestepping the question for fear of scaring her with the answer. "I believe in the constitution of our country, and the premise upon which the nation was built, that the greatest good is found when you let people live their own lives - you don't guarantee their results, you let them win or lose on their own. The beauty of the country is that anyone gets to enter the game - if you can deliver the goods, you can win." "You're so intense," she deflected. And the moment was over, the conversation drifting back into less precarious territory as others joined in. A moment later, some of our party of 7 was starting to get up from the table, and a couple walked over from another table to introduce themselves to me. "We used to love your Sunday radio show," they said. "We'd drop anchor at Wingaersheek or Good Harbor Beach and take out the radio and put your show on and listen to the whole thing. Your morning show is good, but we really think you should be on alone. People need to hear your ideas." "Your fan club," said Linda, laughing. For once, it seemed that I had escaped my breech of protocol having created only minor social damage. Not an easy thing to do being a conservative in a world of nodding heads. What a shame it is that liberals can't have a conversation about politics - that they have so successfully isolated themselves in doctrine that the exploration of ideas is verboten. While there's much talk about changing the tone of Washington, it seems that Washington is only reflecting the tone of the nation. Ideas are not explored as unique, disecatable things - they're wrapped in cultural packages that we carry around but we never open. People don't acquire these opinions as a result of thinking, they accept them as fashion - like how young men today have goatees and shaved heads and women must show excessive cleavage. That's what the crowd is doing, that's what the crowd is thinking. As a result, asking someone to explain their views is an affront. You can't very well ask a young mother why she dresses in a manner that is generally regarded as overtly sexual, and you similarly can't ask anti-war Obama voters if they're upset that the President was just kidding when he promised to end the war in Iraq in 16 months. The truth is, they wouldn't know what to say because they've probably never thought about it.