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Being a “conservative” means a lot of different things to me.  It describes my preference in government, my lifestyle, even the way I dress.  But today I want to bring attention to people who are calling themselves politically conservative, yet not living the lifestyle that they purport to believe in.

Last November, I found myself recovering from reconstructive ankle surgery on my mother’s couch.  I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything for almost a month, so the internet became my very best friend.  After reading everything there was to read, playing all the games I had the energy to play, and chatting with everyone who would listen, I found myself on Twitter.

I’d had a Twitter account for at least a year, but never really “got it.”  But this time, I found a group of youngsters (ranging in age from 20-30) who work in D.C. for various political entities, all seeming to be the frontrunners in the world of conservative political media and the “who’s who” of #TCOT.  What a fun bunch!  I shared their interests and beliefs and truly enjoyed talking to them at length.

Somewhere between then and now, the associations spread to even lesser acquaintances of theirs, and my group of followers turned into a mix of all ages and walks of life.  As in real life, I began to notice a few things that I truly dislike in people: young women throwing themselves at men or exhibiting “attention-seeking behavior” (think making out with another girl at a frat party), rumors or even confirmations of people sleeping around, requests for provocative photos, men completely objectifying women, married men openly flirting, and even married men flirting with me.

I do not associate with these sort of people in everyday life, and I finally had to make the decision to not associate with them online as well.  I have been interested in men who I think are great guys, only to find out that they drunkenly slept with one of my good friends.  It is so very disappointing – the man you thought was virtuous took advantage of the situation, and your friend can’t make a good decision either.  I know that they are both single, and can do as they wish and that’s fine – it’s just disappointing and rules him out of the dating pool for me, as well as lessens my female friend in my eyes.  I don’t form friendships with married men unless their wife is a part of the friendship as well.  I rarely have sex outside of an established relationship, and I don’t unabashedly flirt with men unless I know I’m the only one he’s interested in. I don’t expect everyone to subscribe to my way of life, and Lord knows that I am not perfect and I have slipped up my fair share of times, but I am aware of my flaws and actively try not to repeat my mistakes.  Above all, I know that by having this sort of romantic life, I don’t have to worry about hurting anyone, especially myself.

Back to my initial point – on a very basic level, this is the behavior that Conservative politicians get skewered for.  Infidelity, exchanging photos with women, etc, and you certainly never heard of Condi Rice flirting with a married man.  It’s ten times worse for the conservative party because we are supposed to uphold the virtues of marriage, be good Christians, revere women, and overall just NOT do this type of thing!  These are our future lobbyists, campaign managers, speech writers, journalists, and possibly even leaders.  We cannot hold our leaders to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.  They may believe in small government and fiscal conservatism, but that seems to be where their conservative beliefs end.  Do you really want this type of behavior to be associated with the conservative party?

The local Young Republican branches here are riddled with some questionable morals as well.  The social director of the YR group in my county openly brags to his friends about getting blow jobs in parking lots and taking women home from bars (even if it’s not true, women should not be spoken of in this manner), and another group’s leadership includes women who go home with strangers from bars.  So there is yet another place that I can’t in good conscience associate with like-minded people.  Don’t even get me started on the fact that the majority of young attendees of CPAC see it as an opportunity to get plastered and hook up.

At last, after actually being quite hurt by some of the behavior mentioned above, I have deleted my Twitter account.  I do miss it – I miss getting news updates through the eyes of fellow conservatives.  I miss having someone to talk to when I can’t sleep.  But I don’t miss being constantly disappointed by my peers.  In time, I hope to move past all this disappointment and find some true (trruuuuuuue) conservatives that lead virtuous lives and set a better example for the type of leaders I hope to elect.  Meanwhile, I ask my #tcot readers – are you really living a conservative life?

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I’ve wanted to write this for over a year now, but summarizing the core values that are at the very heart of your being, and putting them into words is a rather daunting task.  But it’s on my list of 43 Things, and it would be nice to check another one off.  If you’ve never heard of This I Believe, it’s an idea based on a radio show from the 50s, in which notable people would write an essay about “the core values that guide their daily lives,” and then read them on air.  On their website, you can listen to the essays (read by the author) of people like Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, Oscar Hammerstein, Maria Von Trapp, and even Albert Einstein.  Hearing the deepest beliefs of such influential people is a pretty damned cool thing.  So I decided to write my own (narrowed down to a few key subjects).  I was afraid that my beliefs would change over time, but what’s important to note is that these are your core values, and really they shouldn’t change very much over time.  I will say that trying to sum things up into a short essay is very difficult, so I will just do a few topics right now.  Perhaps in another year I will write on a few more.  So…here goes nothing:

My interest in politics is rooted in my passion for basic human decency, self-pride, justice, honor, family, morals, charity, and of course, democracy.  This conservatism was already in my heart long before I was old enough to know what a government is, and I learned these ideals from my parents.  I believe that the root of all decency is in a good family life.  Parents have the ultimate responsibility – creating and molding a life that will contribute to our society.  Involved parents breed good students, and good parents create more good parents by their example.  My parents* taught me good manners, honesty, how to be a hard worker, how to live within my means, and how to help others.  It is often painfully obvious who grew up without good role models.  At the funeral of a friend’s father a few years ago, I learned that he was a very loving man, and that one of his beliefs was that “the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their mother.”  This sentiment truly touched me – he and his wife were still very much in love after decades of marriage.  His sons (who by the way, were not his biological sons), learned how to treat a woman and show love through his example.  In a world where most men still view love as a weakness, I truly value this lesson, and I seek it in my relationships (platonic and romantic) with the opposite sex.  Fathers have a great responsibility to teach their sons how to be good men, and to teach their daughters what to look for in a mate.  Mothers are the example of womanhood to their daughters, and set the example of a future wife for their sons.  Together, the parents show their children the inner workings of a relationship, and it is repeated through the subsequent generations.

I believe that it is better to be kind than to be right.  The best example of this is during an argument.  Being passionate about values and politics, I could potentially get in a lot of arguments with the people I care about.  But I care about them – I would never want to say anything to make them feel badly.  But some people often throw out insults such as “that’s stupid,” “you’re crazy,” and the like.  I cannot imagine insulting the intelligence and sanity of another person, especially one that I care about.  It is perfectly possible to prove a point without resorting to insults.  It’s also possible to not insist on proving a point at all.  People will believe what they believe, and one conversation is not going to change their mind – certainly not one riddled with insults.  If being right means knocking someone else down, or crushing their belief system, perhaps it’s not so important to be right.  We are all very different.  It is impossible for someone to think exactly as you do.  We all have a different frame of reference, different experiences, and different influences that have brought us to this very point.  Forcing beliefs on others has never been successful.  Perhaps you could just listen, and appreciate the beliefs and ideas of another human being – even if they are vastly different from your own.

* I feel it is important to point out here that my parents divorced when I was 15, and yet they were still able to successfully co-parent (and still do!).

The purpose of this post is two-fold: an update on the
ankle and a lead-in to the next two posts I have planned.
First off, the ankle is finally starting to heal in ways that I can
see and rejoice over. For about two weeks, I was sinking into
a depressed state and was growing quite bitter, especially toward
those around me. OK, toward people in general. I’ve
lost my sense of humor about not being able to walk – quite
honestly, not being able to walk for 2 months is no laughing
matter. It’s challenging, painful, and embarrassing.
Coworkers and even complete strangers will act like they’re going
to kick or trip me, or make some kind of comment that just isn’t
necessary. Even though I know it wasn’t out of malice, it
started bothering me so much that I really couldn’t keep it
together at all. Lots and lots of tears. If you’re any
kind of decent person, don’t stare at or tease someone who’s
injured, help them. So, I’ve started physical
therapy. Three times a week (I pushed it to 4 last week) for
an hour after work. Immediately after I have to get home and
ice my foot (by then it’s 8:00), eat dinner, take a shower, and
then it’s straight to bed. Not much room for a social
life! Still no weight allowed on the foot without the boot
on, so it’s all working on getting the fluid out of my foot,
rebuilding muscle with electronic stimulus, range of motion, and
flexibility. The progress is slow, but the physical therapist
did show me how to “walk” with one crutch, and I have even been
able to get around at home without crutches. I can only put
weight on my foot with the boot on though, and only indoors where
the floor is nice and flat. I don’t have any stability at all
and the tendon that does most of that work is still reattaching
itself apparently. Still, it’s progress. I can carry
things!!! I think the worst part of crutches is that you
can’t carry ANYTHING. I’ve been using a small backpack as a
purse (oh how I miss my cute purses), and if it doesn’t fit in
there, it doesn’t go. It’s also extremely tiring. Just
going across a parking lot has me out of breath – I’m not very
athletic anyway, but hauling your lower body weight around on my
scrawny arms has been truly exhausting. I know grown men who
are in great shape that say the same thing, so I think I’ve done
pretty good to do as much as I have. But being able to just
use one crutch at the office has made my life a lot easier
already. I also have to watch that I don’t hyper-extend my
right knee. It is very weak and taking a full stride is quite
painful if I don’t watch how much I am extending it.

Day
48

The
result of 2+ months of being on crutches.

Today was
day 53. I see an end in sight, and things are looking
up. I certainly learned a lot about myself and what I
can/can’t deal with. I also learned that when I injure
myself, I should take care of it! Blasted high threshold for
pain….I always have to learn things the hard way. So, moving
on…I made a list of goals last year and I did complete a lot of
them. You can read that list here
and my follow-up here.
I’m ready to update my list and add some new ones. Most will
obviously be short-term goals concerning the foot, but I’m
considering some longer-term goals as well. Before I can
update my list though, I need to finally write my “This I Believe”
essay (that was one of my goals). If you don’t know what that
is, you should check it
out
. I just love the concept and being a person
with very strong beliefs and ideals, I think I’ll have a lengthy
entry! I’m looking forward to getting my convictions and
beliefs into written format and sharing them with others, and
looking forward to setting and achieving new goals for a new year
that is already looking to be full of possibilities.