Monday, November 12, 2012

Confessions of a Six Year Old Texas Conservative

By Haley Gillette 
guttervox columnist

On this very special of days, the election days, I find myself rehashing all that has lead up to this most fortuitous event. Fortuitous you say, interrupting your daily political Facebook status to gawk at me in astonishment.

And yes, it is fortuitous.

For those of you unfamiliar with my work, meaning anyone but my family or English teachers, let me introduce myself. My name is Haley Gillette. I am a 22-year-old, lower-middle-class, higher class-class, Caucasian female political-science major.

In other words: your worst nightmare.  I have opinions. Lots of them. And I actually research them. Well, most of them anyways.

I digress.

Back to me again. I have lead a rather unorthodox life, being raised by a single-mother, essentially meaning being raised by my grandparents who were diehard Bill O’Reilly fans; I was a staunch Conservative Republican until the age of 6. Bill Clinton was the epitome of all that was corrupt and wrong in the world, and I would have taken my tiny, infant hand to his face upon meeting him. Then, as soon as I was introduced to the liberal and elitist environment of Doyle Elementary School, I began to see that my entire existence, brief as it had been, had been a lie.

What is all this trickle-down malarkey about? I would rant to my doll Amanda, who was such a great listener, although a little dim, I thought (always with this vacant stare in her eyes). As I began to spend more time with my militantly liberal mother, I began to see how easily I was taken in by all the glamour of the Republican Party, with their money and power and incredible hair! It all looked so beautiful to me. But my eyes were already opened at this point, and there was no going back, as much as the call of the Conservative party would try to lure me back. I was already listening to NPR.

Now let’s go back even further. Say, a few hundred years back, to some crazy kids with some pretty wild ideas. That’s right: the founding fathers. These starry-eyed dreamers were really fed-up with old mother England constantly givin’ em grief and making them pay taxes on stuff that they weren’t even getting.

Bummer, right?

Well that’s what they thought too. So, a handful of battles and some really aggressive tea-steeping later, we were our own country. Take that England! You said we would never amount to anything, and here we are! Free agents. We really showed them. We wrote up the Constitution so England would know how serious we were and would stop calling all of our friends asking when we would come back. Voila! A country with a written doctrine of rules was born!

As one of our founding fathers was leaving after having just put his own John Hancock on the document (no, it wasn’t John Hancock) a woman came up to him, asking what type of government they had just saddled us with. “A democracy, my dear. If you can keep it.” Boom. Just like that, and he walks away. Talk about a mind. Anyways. If there’s anything I have to give this current party of “Libertarians” or Tea-Partiers, or cat-fanciers, whatever they’re calling themselves these days, it is that they are definitely trying to keep it. Exactly, the way, it was. Exactly.

I mean, these rich, middle-aged, white guys that didn’t want to pay taxes so they created a constitution, and they’re still at it! They’re trying to do whatever they can to cut their taxes and keep all of that hard-earned money to themselves. It’s quite patriotic, really. And true, they don’t still have slaves like the good ol’ days, but we have been able to acquire a black man in the White House who works for white people. Close enough, right? Another digression.

The point is, this country is not in complete dire straits yet. We still have the right to vote, hold congress, petition, and freedom of speech. These are all things we take for granted that people are literally dying for in other countries. Seriously, in hoards, actually.

And this is where the liberal party comes into play.

Ah, the liberals. The hipsters of the political machine. We are highly-educated, poorly-motivated, and will make you feel like crap if you dare to have poor grammar or are rich. Or both. God forbid you should make the mistake of misspelling something on our watch! We’ll git ya! But we are also a necessary force in the political world. We keep the Conservatives in check (I guess vice-versa on that one). But we also LOVE to voice our opinions and in abundance. We have big hearts and big mouths. We are the Jewish Mothers of the Nation. So, really, you’re going to try to take our right to petition Wall Street, away? Just like that, huh? Well, suddenly I feel quite ill; so ill that I just might have to go on Welfare. Would you be happy then? Huh? We’ve discovered that the threat of taking away their money scares the Conservatives into pretty much doing whatever we want. It’s not a perfect system, but hey, neither is the government. Heeeeyoooooo….

Back to my favorite subject, me.

Growing up in the extremely conservative state of Texas, one would think that it would have rattled the very thought of liberalism out of me. It was a scary time to be a feminist, democrat, baked-goods connoisseur. Well, maybe not the last one, but scary nonetheless!  If anything, though, it made me even more steadfast in my beliefs. Almost ridiculously steadfast. And this is where I started losing friends. But fear not! I have since left that red-state stasis and have moved to Liberal Heaven, California! But living in Texas did incur on me a very important lesson. People are very polarized. And no matter what you do, you will not change this. Arguing with someone who has the completely opposite political beliefs is about as of much use as a Snuggie. It’s a blanket with arms for Christ’s sake! Anyways, people are very dogmatic and will just scream random facts that are almost irrelevant to the conversation just so they don’t have to hear your valid points (if you do have any). For some reason, politics and religion almost hold the same standing in people’s minds, and if you don’t hold the same beliefs, you’re wrong. Simple as that. I learned this the hard way, unfortunately.

But I have found people of an open mind (sort of), and when I feel secure enough and am in a well-lit public area with lots of witnesses, I let my political opinions spew. And when I do, I am astonished by the misinformed and downright ignorance of some people. I mean, it’s as if Bill O’Reilly is God , and the No Spin Zone is His Ten Commandments, and it is blasphemy to think otherwise. And while I am referencing certain public figures, I am just going to say Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. I am not going to list my grievances against them, but they know. Ohhhh, they know.

I find as well how people aren’t even fully-referenced in things like the Homeland Security Act, the Rendition Act, and certain propositions being passed right under their noses. It’s almost like if it wasn’t made into an app, people have no idea what the hell you’re going on about.

For instance, the Rendition Act makes it completely legal to interrogate and even imprison a person with literally the only basis being SUSPICION of terrorist activities. And I’m not just talking about “those foreign-types.” I am certainly referring those red-blooded, hamburger-eating Americans. Scary stuff, huh? Of course, now, this seems down-right crazy. Well, to me it always did. But keep in mind this Act was borne out of a time of extreme insecurity and paranoia following the 9/11 attacks, and people were in a frenzy to keep themselves and their families safe. There’s a saying that goes something like, “if you sacrifice your rights to gain security then you have attained neither.” Or something like that. I don’t have enough time to memorize quotes and shit. But you get the point. The government should fear its people, NOT the other way around.

Sadly, these more conservative types are the people most gung-ho about voting today. So I guess the White House stylist is going to have to invest in some magic-underpants soon enough here. But, I just hope those Tea-Partiers just take a little time away from their crazy ranting and ill-founded conclusions about Obama’s birth and just research BOTH sides. I mean, what tha heck, right? But seriously, have you actually gone to the official Tea
Party website? I felt like I snuck a peek into the diary of Ted Bundy. It’s just creepy. But in all seriousness, if you do vote, make sure you do just a smidgen of research.

I beg you.

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