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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?

Be the best you can be, do the NEXT RIGHT thing, and always, with passion, treat others EXACTLY how you want them to treat you! -Lou Holtz