I am often characterized as being naive. Sometimes, “too straight” or “too conservative” are also added to labels applied to me during conversations. My appearance, the way I dress, walk, conduct myself, comes off as conservative. At least, historically I have appeared as conservative might. A few years ago, I decided my appearance should more accurately reflect the “character” of the person inside.
I shaved my head, grew a goatee, and got some ink. At some point, I’ll probably get some piercings. I have more ink planned. The reason for my changes was to bring my inside and outside into congruence.
Congruence is one of my favorite words; I work “congruence” into conversations as often as I can. “Congruence” means “agreement” or “harmony.” People often say and do things which are not congruent. Their words and deeds do not agree.
Being an educator, I find incongruities in my life and I work to resolve those. Students and their lives are rife with incongruities. Recently, I received an email from a student who had trouble taking an online exam. The student elected to take the exam late in the evening, near the maintenance window. After 30 minutes, the student was closed out of the exam. The email stated, “Can I get back in to finish my exam? I want to do the best I can.”
Not paying attention to the test environment is not making the best effort, not creating a successful environment for learning or anything else.
In large part, being ignorant of creating and building a successful environment is why I cannot be nor will ever support Republican Party dogma nor any Conservative effort or platform.
I am a Pragmatist. Determine the problem, consider a solution, a solution which has a good chance of working, with the least negative downside, and which also is the most sustainable and reasonable or logical. To my way of thinking, new ways, new methods, new technology, receiving input from different perspectives, personal sacrifice, and delayed gratification are all potential influences into decision-making.
Furthermore, the immediate goal is not necessarily the best goal nor should be the focus. From an economic perspective, the question becomes, “what are the downstream costs and benefits?” The implementation of a policy or idea tomorrow may seem like a really good idea, and have an immediate payoff and be immediately gratifying. The problem with such short-sighted thinking involves the future cost of an action which seemed like a good idea at the time and a decade later we have yet to even figure out how to pay for our decision.
“what are the downstream costs and benefits?”
Now, you can read between the lines and say, “oh, he is talking about Afghanistan.” No, not necessarily. Individually, we all make choices which seem incidental at the time, we use credit cards, we receive financial aid, we buy a car and a boat. We have great expectations about our degree we graduated with. But, as a person with a Master’s Degree in European History, what the hell am I going to do with it? What was I thinking? You weren’t.
In the United States, we have encouraged people to stick their heads’ in their butts, and said,
“Honey, if you’re happy with your head in your butt, then I’m happy for you. Here, have a cookie. Oh, wait. You’re head is in your butt. You won’t be able to eat your cookie.”
The Grand Old Party (GOP) and Conservatives have no interest in changing anything and would be more than happy if all U.S. citizens would put their heads firmly into their butts. By definition, the GOP and Conservatives believe this. A Conservative is one
“disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.” (Dictionary.com)
To be Conservative then means to actively be engaged in the promotion of ignorance. Whether heads are in butts or buried in the sand the results are the same: the world changes while we do not change, adapt, modify, or evolve our behavior.
To be Conservative means to fear change, fear newness, fear difference, to be suspicious of different skin colors, of different languages, of different religions – nor no religion, to fear new ideas.
To be Conservative means to actively oppose change, to actively oppose even the notion of challenging old methods, techniques, and ideas.
Today, Conservatives are not simply advocates of the Status Quo, but the advocates of the Status Quo of yesterday, of last week, of last year, of the last 50 years.
Today, Conservatives argue against Same-sex marriage, advocate for Christian prayer in public schools, advocate for teaching the Bible in public schools, advocate Intelligent Design as theory (its not, its philosophy), advocate for the removal of the teaching of Evolution as science (it is science), advocate for the removal of foreign languages from public schools, advocate for the removal of arts and music from public schools, and perhaps worst of all, advocate for the abolishment of Department of Education.
Today, Conservatives will argue Democrats want “everyone to be the same.” To be clear, I am not arguing for Democrats. The Conservative Argument is a logical fallacy. Democrats do not want everyone to be the same; they want everyone to have the same opportunity regardless of race, sex, gender, religion or creed. In fact, I contend Democrats want everyone to be different and want to encourage difference and acceptance of difference.
Conservatives are not congruent.
Conservatives refused to acknowledge Islam as a religion. They refuse to acknowledge the issues of inner city Blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color. They refuse to acknowledge China and the government in Beijing is a partner with Chinese, Korean, and Japanese companies and has already focused on Green Technology and is now the world leader in solar panel technology and wind turbine technology. They refuse to acknowledge the importance of a unified approach to a national educational system to address the needs of today and the future of the United States. They refuse to acknowledge undisciplined finances are detrimental to our national educational system. They refuse to acknowledge education and health care are fundamental rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Conservatives do not want people thinking for themselves and they certainly do not want to encourage free-thinkers to organize themselves via social media. While Conservatives might castigate Democrats for providing “welfare” to groups of people, and often rightly so, Conservatives want to control individual behavior, your bedroom behavior, your religious behavior, and what you have access to on the Internet.
Conservatives are working towards building a country of well-defended ignoramuses.
Conservatives won’t spend money on Education but will be more than happy to spend more money on Defense, despite the fact the United States spends more money on defense than all other countries combined. And, while we will be able to shoot anyone, anywhere, anytime – because we will have smart Asians and a few U.S. citizens building military hardware for us; and, we will have some wealthy people who will have used family money to be able to attend Brown or Columbia and then segue their financial talents into Wall St, whereupon they will yet earn more money by taking advantage of the median U.S. citizen who have become dumbed-down by Conservative fears and ossified notions that decreased military spending translates into a Chinese takeover within a year.
Conservative ideologues and their bankrupt hypotheses not only hold back U.S. entrepreneurial energies but are fundamentally damaging to the social fabric of the United States. From the Birthers to politicians who refused to acknowledge Pres. Obama’s presidency to the local Conservative who refuse to acknowledge Islam, Mormonism, Sikhism, or Atheism, the presence of these ideas undeniable contribute to the societal schisms in current U.S. life.
Conservatives are responsible for the lion’s portion of the blame. The intolerance towards GLBT. The intolerance towards non-Christian faiths. The intolerance towards people of color. The intolerance towards education. The intolerance toward environmental protection and food safety.
I really think people ought to question why they believe the what they believe. Is it simply dogma, handed down from parents, or religious leaders? Is it simply a problem of thinking, in general? The historical inertia of false ideologies is too great to divert? Fear of being ostracized for being different?
If there is one thing I cannot tolerate, its intolerance.
And, I will never be a Conservative.
I hate the label, Liberal. But, over the last 3 years or so, of watching Conservatives denigrate in all things I find value, “Liberal” has become synonymous with “being educated.”
By definition, Conservatives ride their horse into the future based on what they see behind them, and too afraid to turn around to see the path ahead.
I want to ride my horse into the future and plan for what I see ahead.