I had the good fortune to be born to a family of conservative rednecks. To my further posterity, I then spent my adolescence living inside a hive of religious nutcases. Then, another blessing, was to spend my adulthood surrounded by over-educated, flaming liberals.
I am not being a smart-ass. I am lucky.
The only thing those people had in common was that they were all nice. And capable. And doing the best they could with what they understood to be true. There were extremely damaged people among them, yes, but on the whole, they were good eggs.
I know your Facebook is like mine, aflame at any give time with rage toward liberals, or “tea-partiers” or Obama or Christianity. Does it exhaust you, too? All that hate that your friends spew in the direction of your other friends?
I think I’ve figured out the real difference between Conservatives and Liberals. And it had nothing to do with money or selfishness or socialism.
Conservatives are nostalgic. They constantly crane their necks, trying to see back through the tangled jungle of time to how it used to be. Because it used to be better. If only we could go back to that way, we’d be safe and strong. The problem is that you can’t go back. You can’t restore lost innocence or straighten a complicated knot back into a simple bow. And if you could, you’d find that the past wasn’t as good as you thought. For every fiscally responsible good Christian family, there was a woman getting beaten by her husband with nowhere to turn, or a man who threw himself in front of a train because he was in debt.
Liberals, on the other hand, are delighted to be free of the past. They see the ugliness the Conservative does not. They want to move forward! But they become obsessed with how things could be. If everyone would just be cool, and selfless, and humanitarian and agree on everything, we could have SO MUCH bounty in the world! Then they get frustrated that people won’t be cool (because it simply isn’t human nature to be cool. It’s human nature to ensure your own survival and comfort). Then they want laws forcing people to be cool.
Which is very, very uncool.
It drives me batshit, I have to tell you. People who respect a pre-op transgender male to female’s right to use the lady’s locker room…won’t respect another person’s right to be uncomfortable with it. (FTR, my 6 year old has a right to change for swim class in a completely cock-free zone. If that makes me fascist, then Sieg Heil.)
People who hold holy the teachings of Christ won’t offer prayers of gentle love and support to their country’s leaders. Instead they post angry endless photoshops of Obama giving the camera the finger trying to incite others to the hate they feel.
People who I know are kind and smart seem to suspend those virtues when it comes to politics. I think it’s because ideals are faceless, sort of a victimless target for everything you hate about the world. The catharsis of blame.
Those people all have faces. The person who votes in ways that offend you would still give you a jump in the parking lot of the Walmart if your battery died. Maybe she’s your nurse in the ER. Maybe he coaches your son’s football. How come everyone forgets that?