Confessions of a conservative

11

I have been relatively conservative in my politics, religion, and lifestyle most of my life.

By that I mean that I have supported my country’s actions even when I disagreed with them or had serious doubts about the process that gave birth to those actions. And, while I thought that I had the right to voice my views, pro and con, I also defended the rights of others to have to civilly disagree with me and my stands.

As a critical part of my conservative philosophy, I also thought that where and when I disagreed with the actions of lawmakers, our forefathers had enabled us to deal with that by working to elect or lobbying so that those actions were overturned in a legal manner, not destroy things to get our point across.

I deeply disagree with violent, loud and/or rude demonstrations by those who have a grievance about the decisions of elected or appointed officials. For example, as a veteran infantryman who served in Viet Nam and returned to civilian life to pursue a college degree in the turbulent 60s and early 70s, I had no problem with those fellow students who felt strongly that our presence in South East Asia was wrong and should be terminated. They were entitled to that opinion and I supported their right to hold that view.

I did have a problem with the more radical part of that movement like the Students for Democratic Society and their spin off of the Weathermen. I, probably naively, thought that If one did not like our foreign policy, one should organize voters to elect men and women in sympathy with that viewpoint; not throw bombs, destroy buildings, and vandalize university offices.

There are numerous current issues with which I disagree, but as they are the law of the land, I will obey them until they are overturned by legislation or court actions.
Having said that, you can probably guess that I was more than a little disturbed by the actions of those few people who so rudely and almost violently confronted Senators over the prospective vote for Justice Kavanaugh.

It just baffles me how anyone purporting to be rational can immediately assume guilt for a person accused just because that accusation is made by a woman against a man. Now, I have no idea whether Justice Kavanaugh is a serial rapist or whether Dr. Ford is a pathological liar. I just think that there should be an assumption of innocence until proof otherwise is produced.

Maybe I just naively remember something like that from my civics classes during my schooling. I also am fairly confident that those demonstrating would want that same assumption if they were accused of a crime.

Even more disturbing to me than the reprehensible actions taken is the underlying posture that we find today in our everyday lives and in our elected leadership. That being that whoever disagrees with me and my views must, by definition, be the enemy whose views are prima facie unworthy of consideration by me and should be rejected without hearing. Sadly, I see this view promoted by elected officials in the highest offices on the country and trumpeted proudly.

What I see as the result of this is that we have come to a point where compromise is impossible, and to even begin to suggest that the opposition may have stands and views worth considering is to risk losing one’s office, friends, or social standing and becoming the object of scorn, derision, and censure.

I fear that we have seen the end of the time when a conservative Republican President like Ronald Reagan and a liberal Democrat House speaker like Tip O’Neill can agree on a legislative agenda. There is lip service paid constantly to “reaching across the aisle” and “working with our colleagues on the other side” every election cycle. But once in office, officials seem to immediately act without regard to differing opinions and take a posture like that of a recent President who said “Elections have consequences.  We won, you lost. Get over it.”

I think the consequences of that attitude from either side of the political spectrum have led us to the point where we can elect a President only because he is an “outsider”. And I think that we have given birth to a way of thinking that will never take the time to research their own stands and verify facts, nor that of those who disagree with those stands.

The acerbic behaviors of some who wanted to reject the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh, as well as the tantrums of our President, are merely a symptom of a virulent and deadly disease that may only worsen.

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