“Please don’t call me a feminist”
I was raised in a relatively conservative household. Then, I left for college in 1981 (need I say more?). Though, in 1984, the first time I was eligible to vote in a Presidential election, I did vote for Ronald Reagan. Then, I spent the next 20 years wandering in the wilderness of Liberalism.
My background is theater, which probably sums up why I became a liberal. Though, I would probably describe my 22 year old self more as a mushroom than a Liberal. I tended to take on the flavor of whatever I was around. And I was around theater people. A lot of them are gay and AIDS was a huge issue when I first got out of college in 1985. Most of the people I was around believed that Ronald Reagan was this evil, foaming at the mouth monster who stood in the way of scientists discovering a cure for AIDS for no other reason than he was evil.
I was exposed to Liberalism every day. And, like the old saying goes, if you hang around a barbershop long enough, eventually, you’ll get a haircut.
By the 1988 election, I was speaking the party line. My ex-husband and I campaigned door-to-door for Michael Dukakis. I voted straight-ticket Democrat in the ’88 election and I had no earthly idea who else was running for what beyond the Presidential contest.
Like a trained seal, I began to repeat all the party talking points on women’s rights and gay rights. I actually thought the bumper sticker, “Perfect World if Schools had Enough Money and the Military Had to Hold Bake Sales” was downright genius. I bought into the whole Liberal “feel-good” ideology.
Abortion was the troubling thing. In January 1984, I joined a busload of students from my college who traveled to DC for the March For Life. I was vehemently pro-life. To me, it was a no-brainer. How could any sentient being condone the slaughter of children?
After my slide into Liberalism, I still couldn’t stomach the pro-abortion stand of the people around me. It sickened me the way they stood their ground on wholesale murder. I learned quickly that to speak up and disagree was not advisable. My being pro-life only made them all extremely angry.
By the early nineties, I was living in Chicago, working in the theater as a director and playwright, and I was completely surrounded by Liberals. Most of the women I spent time around preferred to be called “womyn.” They hated every Republican because Republicans were “anti-womyn.” (I know, some things never change).
In 1995, I was asked to write a play commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (granting women … sorry, womyn … the right to vote).
As I began to research the Women Suffrage Movement, I discovered something that surprised me. The people who were most supportive of granting women the right to vote were Republican. It was Democrats in Congress that fought tirelessly to keep women (sorry, I did it again, womyn) from voting. Susan B. Anthony considered herself a Republican though, the only time she voted, she got tossed in jail.
During the course of researching for this musical (I made it a musical), a mustard seed of Conservatism was planted in me. These women who struggled for suffrage were strong, independent thinkers, and they were not man-hating women with a Y. Susan B., Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, Carrie Chapman Catt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These were truly the women that I emulated.
But today’s feminists? Starhawk, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and now Medea Benjamin and Code Pink. These weren’t the women that I looked up to or saw as role models. I found the modern-day feminists abrasive, hateful, bitter, angry. Women with a Y embarrassed me. Their wholesale support of abortion disgusted me. Their hatred for men seemed counter-productive. And one thing they sorely lacked seemed to be the ability to think for themselves. Modern-day feminists were steeped in group-think. And it bugged me.
Slowly, I stopped being a mushroom and began to think for myself.
Liberalism is a house of cards built on a foundation of feelings. Thinking, especially independent thinking, is not encouraged. Every argument, no matter what the issue, always boils down to feelings.
“I understand that there is a second amendment, but I just feel that nobody needs an assault rifle.”
“I understand that marriage was originally between a man and a woman, but I just feel like it’s only fair that gays can get married too.”
Think of the Obamacare debate. While we conservatives put forward well-reasoned arguments outlining how government control of healthcare will increase costs and limit availability of treatments, the Democrats orchestrated a victim parade – marching one sob story after another in front of the cameras. My mother died from cancer because she lost her insurance. Sob, sob, sob. Liberals pull at the heartstrings to evoke feelings. They have no reasoned arguments. All they have are feelings. Nothing more than feelings (and now that song will be stuck in your head the rest of the day, sorry).
Independent thinking. Rationally weighing evidence and coming to a conclusion. These are not tolerated by the Left. And this was exactly what was happening to me. I was beginning to look at Liberalism objectively, and I didn’t like what I saw.
What began for me in 1995 was not an instantaneous conversion to Conservatism. In 1996 I did vote for Bill Clinton (again). In 1998 when the Monica Lewinsky scandal hit, I watched those around me scoff at it. What difference does it make? Who cares? But in my mind, it mattered. It made a difference. What does it say about a man who would behave in such a despicable way? While the women with a Y were offering to give the President oral sex for keeping abortion legal, I was being pushed further and further away from Liberalism by their own disgusting words and actions.
But still, I was a Democrat. In 2000, I voted for Al Gore. I disliked him with a passion. I thought he was a blowhard and a buffoon, but so relentless were the attacks on George W. Bush as stupid, and a war-mongering cowboy, and on and on, that thought of voting Republican would be impossible. So I cast my vote for the buffoon.
I was never so glad that my guy lost as I was on September 11, 2001.