"I like people who shake other people up and make them feel uncomfortable." --Jim MorrisonA few weeks ago, my husband and I went on vacation. We went to one of those amazing all-inclusive resorts that you dream about but don't really ever think you'll be able to actually pull off financially or logistically. Well, because my husband is AMAZING, he made it work and took me on an incredible vacation for our 12th anniversary.
One afternoon during this fan-tabulous getaway, while my better half was relaxing by the pool and listening to "Moby Dick" on his iPhone, I was sitting in the nearby hot tub with two of our traveling companions. We were making new friends.
After introductions and the stereotypical "Oh my gosh, are you from Texas? I love your accent"! Yes, I guess I really do have an accent although I totally don't hear it. I digress...anyways, pretty quickly after introductions, the issue of politics came up. Yeah, I know. I just can't help it. These happy little discussions seem to follow me...even to foreign lands.
These particular people were our neighbors from the north, they were Canadians. They made the fateful mistake of engaging me in not only a political discussion but also a spiritual one. I won't bore y'all with all of the gory details but suffice it to say that by the end of the discussion, one of them had called me a bigot and was highly affronted, one of them wanted my blog website address and one of them said they had never met anyone like me--I am still uncertain as to the implications of her tone. Yep, those are the normal responses to me and my life views...either love or hate. The general consensus is that I make people uncomfortable. Yeah, not a lot of lukewarm feelings when it comes to me.
I bring this friendly vacation exchange up because during that hot tub discussion, one of the individuals said they didn't think I "looked like a Conservative". Again, this is a normal assessment. I chuckled and proudly announced that I, and others like me, are the new face of conservatism. You see, I explained to our northern neighbors and the others who joined our hot tub that day, that conservatism isn't just for ole folks. In fact, it isn't just an American ideal. It isn't only an ideal for white people, the super wealthy or the hyper-religious. It isn't a complicated political philosophy only understood and appreciated by those who spend countless hours of their days reading the Wall Street Journal or watching Fox News or attending their prestigious universities.
Conservatism is actually quite simple. It is simply a way of life.
And in my not-so-humble opinion, it is the very best way for individuals to live, states to operate and national governments to govern.
But let's just be real here for a moment, the real problem with conservatism is Republicans.
Yep, that's what I said.
Now don't get me wrong...before you dyed-in-the-wool, super-sensitive Republicans get your high-priced panties in a wad, I am PROUDLY a registered Republican. I am the Vice-President of the Hopkins County Republican Women for crying out loud!! But I am so sick and tired of losing to liberals. I am so sick and tired of being out maneuvered and bullied by loud, lazy, misguided Democrats!! Whew!! I feel relieved having gotten that off of my chest.
If we, Republicans and by default, Conservatives, are going to not only win elections, but also govern successfully and make real, meaningful contributions to our nation and world, we are going to have to get our you-know-what together. We are going to have to bite the bullet and oust some of the old-timers. We are going to have to reach out. We are going to have to dig deep. We are going to have to do some very serious self-examination. We are going to have to search ourselves, our party, our principles, our visions. We are going to have to get very, very uncomfortable with the facts and realities that may stare back at our apathetic faces.
Now don't misunderstand me. I am not calling for a platform overhaul or a deviation from any ideal we hold dear. We don't have to compromise our values to garner support and obtain success. But in order to be effective, we have to EXPLAIN our values and outline our positions. We have to make convincing and relevant arguments to all people--of all colors, genders, backgrounds, and creeds--as to why our ideals are better, why our policies are fairer, why our vision is richer, why our foundations are more solid, more tried and truer. We are going to have to appeal to those and befriend some who find us and our "politics" reprehensible. We are going to have to go out on some limbs, cross a few party lines and take some frightening leaps of faith. We are going to have to get people to think. We are going to have to get people motivated. We are going to have to get people to believe in the necessity of and possibility for a restoration of the America we know and love.
We are going to have to have some very strange, uncomfortable conversations in Mexican hot tubs with complete strangers. Yep, I think this may be part of the equation. Because in the last few weeks, I have received three messages via my blog from people I met during our vacation. One gal wrote to say, "how she had been thinking about what I said and that I am right about getting involved in our political process". A gentlemen from the north, a liberal Jew mind you, wrote me two weeks ago and said, " I loved that I met someone who I completely disagree with but can still talk to and not feel judged. You made me think, Texas. You made me think." One man actually wrote me to tell me that he and his wife had returned to church.
Baby steps, y'all. Baby steps.
Cal Thomas penned an op-ed this week and in it he said, "It will take more than a new Congress in 2015 and a new president in 2017 to save us from the fate of other empires. It will take a revival of the American spirit, and that can only come through changed attitudes towards our institutions and each other".
So, I guess what I am saying is: find a hot tub and a liberal. If we don't get uncomfortable, we are doomed.