“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 40, you have no brain.”
Perhaps you’ve heard a version of this quote, generally (but incorrectly) attributed to Winston Churchill. I was unfamiliar until it was spitefully hurled at me by a pacifist classmate during a heated high school history debate. And that’s when I realized that many people truly believe that politically conservative people are inherently bad – or at the very least, not very smart.
That was during the post-9/11 Bush era. Now, sadly, divisions are even deeper. Today, soundbites with the highest shock value go viral, and therefore get the most news coverage. Because of that, as well as Trump’s outrageous and unpredictable behavior, conservatives have been lumped into a category of violent, gun-toting, selfish and reactionary racists. Basically, Democrats vs. Republicans has become good vs. evil. Now, these evil Americans (Republicans) who share their political views on social media, at work or at the “water cooler” risk getting fired. Cancelled. Thus an eerie silence has fallen on half the nation. Only the most extreme Republicans seem to share their views and make the news, making the situation even worse.
That’s why I’m here - to say, I’m not the guy with the face paint, fur helmet and horns who stormed the Capitol building!
(What people think conservatives are like... vs. what many of us are actually like!)
I love animals and don’t (usually) eat meat. I love our beautiful green earth (without loving all the green spending in Biden's proposed infrastructure bill). I regularly practice yoga and live mindfully.
I have empathy for those who are struggling, and teach our children to be kind, moral individuals.
See? I’m not evil. I’m not racist. And I’m conservative. Wait, what?? But this is also me: I don’t trust that the government will properly spend our hard-earned dollars. I think you have to teach a man to fish instead of serving him pan-seared Chilean sea bass. I believe people will work harder (or simply work, period) when they’re incentivized to do so. I’ve seen proof of these viewpoints firsthand during my career as a TV news reporter.
I also don’t think it’s cool to hate America, or to erase and rewrite our history. More on that later.
By speaking freely, I hope to empower other moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents to do the same. If more of us can come out of the political closet, maybe our fellow Americans will slowly realize that it’s the vocal extremists on both sides who give the rest of us a bad name. Let's shift the extremists back to the margins (where extremes, by definition, belong). This way, the rest of us can focus on working together, to make our country and communities a better place to live and raise our families.
Now I invite you to come out of the political closet. Which way do you lean, and what makes you a good person?
(Just for fun - some photos from covering the 2016 Presidential Debate at Wash U. Note: I don't currently report the news which is why I'm able to share my opinions on this blog. Unbiased reporting has always been the gold standard which I worked tirelessly to achieve.)