I’m walking along an old trail in the woods and I’m lost. I stop to catch my breath and take a look around. I can’t tell if I’m headed in the right direction or taken a wrong turn a mile back. Everything looks familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time.
When I start up again, I pass an old oak tree and wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me or if I’m just walking in circles. I could be describing a recent hike I took, but I’m really talking about the state of today’s politics and where I feel that I stand.
A conservative to the core
I’m pretty conservative by nature, thanks in large part to the rural area that I grew up and my family’s own politics. I was brought up believe that you worked hard, respected your elders, saved your pennies, saved your pennies some more, and picked yourself up by your own bootstraps. You didn’t gloat or brag, or take short-cuts for that matter, and you treated others with kindness and respect. We believed also in helping others, but the preferred way of helping came from the church basket instead of government hand-outs. And, no matter how hard the times, welfare and public assistance were for others, never us.
My political leanings haven’t changed all that much as an adult. I’ve long sided on the side of fiscal conservatives. You work hard so that the government can stay out of your pocketbook. In recent years, though, I’ve become much more of contrarian. You say the tomato is red, I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, I say I prove it.
My enemy looks like me
While I’m still a conservative, I feel that my faith in God has changed me over time. I fail to understand how the country with the Statue of Liberty at its shore, with the phrase, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore” can fail to come up with reasonable Democrat and Republican-approved immigration policy. I fail to see how preserving the environment has become a Democratic-only ideal. And I fail to see why so many Republican’s will not even talk about solutions to our fascination with shooting guns in crowded places. (Before anyone goes off the deep end, I’m not talking about changing the second amendment. I simply think we as a society should be able to talk about a problem without one party banning all guns and the other doing the NRA’s bidding.)
In recent years, Republicans have talked endlessly about those damn tax and spend liberals. Yes, I should probably address the elephant in the room: I was not a Trump Republican. My parents brought me up to believe in substance over flash. My biggest fault with former President Trump, I was never a believer in belittling others to make your point. I still don’t. Oh, I actually thought he had some strong economic wins, but he placed the strength of the NYSE above all else, and that, especially in fighting Covid, served as his downfall. In addition, I was never a fan of his lies and his finger pointing. I’m not talking about the lies all politicians make, but the simple ones that could be easily checked.
With all that said, the contrarian in me wonders: When did Democrats become the enemy? Why can’t we have serious discusssions? Why can’t we find a solution that works for everyone, not just the PAC-contributing rich? Where have the statesmen, working for the common man, gone?
The first weak spot in the armor
Yes, I must be losing my mind. I find myself questioning everything that I grew up believing. For example, I see Republicans who hold tight to their pro-life stance, but yet turn a blind eye to suffering of the elderly, veterans, immigrants, and anyone else that doesn’t fit their mold. I really hope that I haven’t become a liberal nut job, but I find it hypocritical on one hand to say we need to ban abortions and then get excited about bringing back the death penalty. If life begins at conception, if God is there at conception, then he is most certainly deep within the Death Row murderer.
I find it impossible to separate the two.
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.
It goes beyond that, I just refuse to believe that if you’re Republican red, everything you espouse is great and if you’re a Democrat blue, oh no, you’re the devil. For every Nancy Pelosi, I’ll give you Marjorie Taylor Greene, for every Chuck Schumer, I’ll give you Mitch McConnell, politicians on both sides who are out for themselves than for the people. I hear too many friends talk horribly about the other side and I want to ask them if they’ve taken a look around in their own families and friends. Do they understand that there have been great Republicans and there have been great Democrats?
So yes, I feel that I’m walking aimlessly in the woods, no party to connect to anymore, no one with principles to stand behind. I keep wanting to yell out “can’t we all just get along.” I suspect the answer is no. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to find a way out of the woods on my own. It may take awhile, but I know I’ll find it.
Politics and the movies: