I'm a former liberal Democrat raised in a conservative Mormon home in Northern Utah. I know that makes me a bit of an anomaly. How did a nice Mormon girl like me wind up as a liberal Democrat, and how, after losing my way, did I come back to the fold?
Well, let me explain. I grew up in the Reagan 80s. I was a normal, if slightly geeky teenager. I played on the girl's basketball team, loved school, loved my country, and while I wasn't overtly political, I generally agreed with the conservative culture around me. I worked in my parents' flower shop after school. My biggest form of rebellion was sneaking donuts into a movie theater, and lusting over Patrick Swayze with my geeky girlfriends.
All that changed when I declared journalism as my major in my second year of college. In the space of three years I went from conventional college sophomore to radical politically obsessed college senior. I became convinced that lovable Ronald Reagan hated poor people and that America was a greedy imperial nation, thanks in large part to liberal professors who fueled my fascination for the counter-culture.
I adopted a liberal identity, in some ways, to set myself apart from the conservative crowd at my state university. I wore drab second-hand clothing, and in 1991 took part in protests against the first Gulf War. I was not alone: I think many liberals out there are infatuated with the 60s counterculture, and love to protest. I see nothing wrong with protesting, and getting involved. But I do think that liberalism is a juvenile philosophy. I think it is based on the politics of envy and guilt. Strip away the class warfare and what do you have? Nothing.
How is it that conservatism is more mature? Conservatism is built upon our instincts for self-preservation, and our innate generosity of spirt as human beings. Far from believing in social Darwinism, conservatives believe everyone is capable of rising to their potential - just as Reagan told us. Liberals are the Social Darwins!
While the liberals are busy lamenting the poor, and castigating the rich, conservatives are out there creating wealth that lifts the poor out of poverty. Do liberals ever create wealth? Sure, but then they feel guilty about it, and set about to ensure that no one else can repeat what they did.
Why is it that liberals don't see the dynamism in our population? Generations that were born in poverty don't remain there. Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you." And that is true. But it's not the SAME poor. There is MOVEMENT.
If you can't see what I'm talking about, it's because you're still afflicted with liberalism, still viewing our American culture and economy as a static endeavor rather than the dynamic, fluid miracle that it is. America is about success. That does not mean 100% will be successful 100% of the time. But it is POSSIBLE here.
Ultimately, though, it took me 14 years to break through the liberal fog of my college years. And it took someone brave, my husband, to stand up to my B.S. When he refused to be bullied into accepting my liberal views abortion and gay marriage, I was forced to listen to him. I could either continue to hold on to my views and believe HE was crazy, or actually admit to myself that the man I love more than anyone or anything in this world MIGHT have a valid view of the world.
Once you start listening to the oppostion ... crazy things happen. And that's how I began my recovery from liberalism.