If I were to write a book it would probably be about my journey from a bitter liberal, to a peaceful conservative. The transformation didn’t come easy, nor was it an epiphany—it was gradual changing of my outlook on life. I can’t even put a date on it other than it was shortly after Carter’s presidency (yeah, I voted for him, twice). Maybe Carter’s failed presidency deserves the credit for my leaving the democrat party as much as I do. I’m hoping Obama will have the same effect on thinking liberals…if there is such a thing—my bad, sorry to my liberal friends.
Recently I was asked about my conversion from Liberalism to Conservatism. The process has been enlightening for me and has given me a different internal perspective—I know both sides of the debate. Often I hear my old thoughts echoing through others. I chuckle to myself so I won’t be thought rude for laughing at what is serious conversation to others. It’s a “been there, done that” moment, not one of arrogance. I’ve come to the conclusion that political ideology is more about attitude—combined with a set of ideas—that the ego can’t let go. I’m hopeful that others will open their heart, and get out of the mode of blindly defending their political positions.
When I was a young man my world view was narrow and socially isolated. I lived the class warfare that the left often uses to divide people. To me it was real—it seemed there were two classes of Americans; the rich and powerful, and the poor and weak. During those early years I associated myself with the weak and poor. My wife and I worked long hours trying to raise three children. I felt held back, and my vision for success was limited and almost nonexistent. My upbringing supported that view because I was raised by a father who was an angry union worker and hated those who were in power (mostly his boss).
Eventually I came to realize it was a lot more complicated than that, and that one could actually control the direction of their life. Although it would take time—through education, hard work, dedication, and good planning—I believed opportunity was within reach for everyone willing, and able, to work hard and keep moving forward. Eventually I began to realize my limitations were self-imposed. As I became successful my envy for the rich turned into respect and pride for their accomplishments. I became an observer of life and began to see the cause and effect of actions (mine and others) and the unlimited opportunity that was there for the taking. The more I took charge of my life, the more I moved toward the right and I no longer felt hate toward those who were more successful (I always thought rich was synonymous with Republican). Soon I began questioning my liberal views and the effect, and role, of government involvement in our everyday lives. I started to think more critically about topics such as abortion, gun ownership, taxation, and capitalism. It seemed as if government trumped capitalism with its growing intrusion into the heart beat of America—small business. My liberal ideology began to fade.
Arguably, the default ideology tends to be towards liberalism. At least it was for me.
Kids have a very narrow perspective on life and tend to be very altruistic in thought—it’s not a bad thing—after all, we should share. The real question might be; where do we draw-the-line? Or better yet, who should draw-the-line?
I don’t want our young to grow up thinking they are denied opportunity in what is undeniably the greatest country in the world. They need to hear the message of freedom and opportunity that many conservatives envision, not the cry of despair and separation that socialism feeds on—nor should they be promised a Utopia that only exists within the theory of liberalism. Adults must put away their childish thoughts.
We all have the desire for self-fulfillment, but we cannot expect others to do it for us. For some the journey will be difficult—if not impossible. One must embrace reality rather than deny truth. Most of all—know that you will probably not get a trophy for showing up to work. Speaking of trophies I’m reminded of Florida’s master trophy distributor, Senator Bill Nelson (my poster child for Term limits). Nelson is the senator that promises all and delivers little, does little, but lives large—all while living in a bubble of pretentious nobility. It has become a great gig for Nelson, and at 70 yrs old he still won’t let go of the power and prestige of elected office. I must say something nice about Nelson; he has a big heart and means well, I just don’t believe we need Santa Claus standing at America’s cash register. He must grow up and face the responsibility of a Senator representing all Americans, not just groups with special interests.
I would be remiss not to mention Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Term Limits in the same sentence. They both feed my passion to connect with the real world of average American citizens living the best way they know how. Together, we can get career politicians off the pay roll. We need fresh ideas now. We need ideas that serve all America.