"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best stage, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one." — Tom Paine
A few days ago I received a private Facebook message from a gal asking me to "break down what it means to be a Conservative".
Initially, I was going to respond to her via private message and leave it at that. However, I got to thinking that she may not be the only person wondering what certain affiliations mean or how best to classify their political views. Now, I know many of you don't care. Apathetic is the word that best describes you. Some of you simply don't like either political party. I get it, trust me. The truth is, I hate lots of things about our two party system and regularly threaten to de-affiliate with the Republicans because our national leadership sucks so badly. No party, group or philosophy is perfect but I choose to focus on the ways they do represent me and my closely held beliefs.
So, please allow me to be very clear, I'm not necessarily a Republican but I am most definitely a Conservative. The difference you ask? Simple: I don't like watered down religion and my politics are no different. I can't stand lukewarm anything. Life tends to be very black and white. If you disagree, you are probably a liberal.
So, here is a Jeff Foxworthy style "you may be a Conservative if...." breakdown.
1. You may be a Conservative if you love Jesus and believe that He is relevant and alive and moving among us. You see, our Founders guaranteed freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Conservatives don't want to force anyone to do or be anything. The Founders would be on our side of the whole prayer-in-public debate. They would tell liberals and offended nonbelievers to simply not listen. We are, after all, talking about a group of men who included God in our founding documents. Yep, that's a sticky, tricky fact for religion-haters. God is woven into the essence of America and those who argue something different are simply wrong.
2. You may be a Conservative if you believe in that America is exceptional and that she has been divinely created and sustained by the grace, blessing and provision of an Almighty God. We are the shining city on a hill.
3. You may be a Conservative if you want to open up a very large can of whoop a$$ on Iran, ISIS and Russia. Conservatives tend to appreciate our armed forces not because it is popular and politically correct, but because they actually support the missions and mean it. You see, Conservatives view military strength as a necessary deterrent for both domestic and foreign enemies. We don't desire war but we don't shrink away from it either. We aren't cowards. Conservatives are passionate patriots and possess an acceptable reverence for our military. Our military heroes serve our nation selflessly and shouldn't have their integrity or the necessity of the mission called into question when boots are on the ground in a foreign land. If you are a Jane Fonda-like, anti-war idiot who pickets and protests all forms of armed engagement, chances are you aren't one of us.
4. Oh, and speaking of the above mentioned political correctness. If the mere mention of political correctness makes you want to throat punch people, you are more than likely a Conservative. Welcome.
5. You may be a Conservative if you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Period.
6. You may be a Conservative if you believe that ALL life, whether born or unborn, whether black, brown or white, whether male or female, matters and is created by God to fulfill His holy purpose. No abortion, no exceptions.
7. You may be a Conservative if you believe that the Constitution is the single greatest political document ever written. Ever. And that it, with it's perfect magnificence, should be interpreted strictly and not on the whims of activists judges. (Abortion ain't about privacy, people. Seriously.)
8. You may be a Conservative if you believe in personal accountability and the enduring spirit of the American Dream. You know that saying, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". Yeah, if you believe that good choices and hard work (with a dash of perseverance and sometimes luck) are the recipe for relative success and stability, you may be on my side of this political coin.
9. You may be a Conservative if you want to keep most of your hard earned money. Conservatives love charity. Seriously. Just not in a federal, co-dependent, entitlement, state mandated taxation kind of way. We believe to whom much is given much is expected. We don't like supporting slothfulness.
10. You may be a Conservative if you believe Israel has the right to exist and that we, America, should maintain our staunch support of them as they face Middle Eastern/Arab aggression. Israel won their homeland, including Jerusalem, back fair and square in the 1940s. Get over it.
11. You may be a Conservative if you believe that capitalism and the free market are the fairest, freest concepts in economic policy.
12. You may be a Conservative if you believe that women enjoy tremendous freedom and societal influence in modern America. If you want to burn your bra and have the tax payers pay for your birth control or abortion, you're definitely NOT Team Conservative. And you're pathetic.
13. You may be a Conservative if you have ever had a crush on Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher. Seriously, I'm just sayin'. I have listened to Reagan's "Tear your wall down" speech at least 500 times in my life, each time mesmerized by his perfect hair and good-natured face.
14. You may be a Conservative if you believe you have the right, wait, no, I'm gonna go even further and say that you have the DUTY to bear arms. Our Founding Fathers assumed that we would ALL have guns. They were men of weaponry. You see, they didn't win our independence with diplomacy, peace talks and handshakes. They obtained our freedom with the use of guns, cannons, bayonets, etc. They were warrior politicians, not pansies scared of ammo and Rednecks. They couldn't imagine a world lacking armed citizens. See, this little bit of fact explains the silly little comma in the 2nd Amendment.
15. You may be a Conservative if you enjoy a nice full-bodied Merlot or Miller Lite but are very uncomfortable with the idea of legalizing marijuana. Yeah, Conservatives have read all the statistics, and many in our camp have smoked their fair share, but the reality is that there is a correlation between people who smoke weed and eventually end up trying more serious, elicit drugs. Most teenagers don't start with crack, they start with weed.
16. You may be a Conservative if you believe you are smart enough to decide what is best for your family in the realms of healthcare and education. Liberals like to control all aspects of our lives and create an atmosphere of dependence. Conservatives on the other hand want to educate and equip people to take care of themselves and their families. It's the difference between one man wanting to provide his friends with all the fish they need and another man wanting to teach his friends how to fish for themselves. See the difference?
17. You may be a Conservative if you agree with giving aide to foreign nations and regimes if and only if, they are held accountable for how they spend the American money they are given. Progress reports to our Congress and State Department that include how the money was spent, conditions for continued financial support, humanitarian standards, etc. You know, a gift with strings attached. That's not greedy, that's good business.
18. You may be a Conservative if you have ever thought or uttered the words "drill baby drill" (and meant them). Listen, I'm sorry about the spotted owls and special beetles. But here's the deal: Darwin had one thing right, his notion of the survival of the fittest. We have incredible natural resources lying beneath the land of this great nation. It is one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us from God. And we should find those resources, extract them and use them as a way of making ourselves less dependent on foreign traders. I would hate to know that we would mortgage and risk our children and their survival for the sake of a nasty beetle and an annoying owl. If those creatures are incapable of successful relocation, then I say, let them go the way of the DoDo bird!
19. You may be a Conservative if you belief that law enforcement officers are day in and day out heroes. Yes, there are a few bad apples in the bunch. There always is. However, most cops get up and go to work everyday to protect the communities they love and the citizens they serve. Most are not overly aggressive, power hungry, racists baffoons. The misbehavior of a few shouldn't define the character and commitment of the rest. That would be an completely ridiculous generalization and would encourage lawlessness.
20. And lastly, to summarize all of the above, you may be a Conservative if your spiritual beliefs, religion and personal relationship with Jesus Christ dictate your politics. If the ideas and spiritual truths that you hold dear and cling tightly to in this life are the navigating force when you enter the voting station, you are probably more Conservative than liberal. Liberal ideology tends to ebb and flow. They tend to adjust their spiritual beliefs and their notions of right and wrong to accommodate the ever-changing social and political climates of the world. So, if you are steady and stand firm in what you know to be right, regardless of time and trend, you are probably more red than blue.
Well, I hope this helps. I hope it has given some of you an idea of what it means to be a Conservative. Because we have a very big election on the horizon and the lines are being drawn in the sand.
This is war, people, and everyone needs to pick a side.
For your sake, and for the sake of our great nation, my prayer is that you will all choose wisely.