Note: Yes, I’m still on hiatus… I just ran across two articles I had to blog. Then I’ll disappear for a while again.
Cinnamon Stillwell has a fantastic article on sfgate.com. I was especially moved because it so mirrored my experiences which I detail below.
…Growing up, I bought into the prevailing liberal wisdom of my surroundings because I didn’t know anything else. I wrote off all Republicans as ignorant, intolerant yahoos. It didn’t matter that I knew none personally; it was simply de rigueur to look down on such people. The fact that I was being a bigot never occurred to me, because I was certain that I inhabited the moral high ground.
Having been indoctrinated in the postcolonialist, self-loathing school of multiculturalism, I thought America was the root of all evil in the world. Its democratic form of government and capitalist economic system was nothing more than a machine in which citizens were forced to be cogs. I put aside the nagging question of why so many people all over the world risk their lives to come to the United States. Freedom of speech, religious freedom, women’s rights, gay rights (yes, even without same-sex marriage), social and economic mobility, relative racial harmony and democracy itself were all taken for granted in my narrow, insulated world view.
So, what happened to change all that? In a nutshell, 9/11. The terrorist attacks on this country were not only an act of war but also a crime against humanity. It seemed glaringly obvious to me at the time, and it still does today. But the reaction of my former comrades on the left bespoke a different perspective. The day after the attacks, I dragged myself into work, still in a state of shock, and the first thing I heard was one of my co-workers bellowing triumphantly, “Bush got his war!” There was little sympathy for the victims of this horrific attack, only an irrational hatred for their own country.
Thoroughly disgusted by the behavior of those on the left, I began to look elsewhere for support. To my astonishment, I found that the only voices that seemed to me to be intellectually and morally honest were on the right. Suddenly, I was listening to conservative talk-show hosts on the radio and reading conservative columnists, and they were making sense. When I actually met conservatives, I discovered that they did not at all embody the stereotypes with which I’d been inculcated as a liberal.
The whole thing is a must, must, must, must read. She brilliantly outlines what is wrong with the American left and why she left them. She talks about her experiences at anti-war protests and the anti-semitism on the left.
I went thru a similar transformation. Being born in the mid 60’s and the youngest child in a large family, I was greatly influenced by my older siblings’ hippie lifestyles. I was once a member of Greenpeace and marched with striking workers I had never met before, who were striking over an issue I knew nothing about. But that is what we did on the left- we marched and chanted.
I, like Cinnamon, rationalized my bigotry and hatred by telling myself that “we were right.” But my value system was always conservative – even though I did not know it. I went about 4 years of never watching a newscast. When I tuned back in, I was astonished to see which side was making sense.
I’ll never forget the first time I turned Rush Limbaugh on… I wanted to know what “those people” were saying. I approached his show like I would listening to a cult leader… ever wary of his cult leader status and knowing that I’d have to keep my wits about me, lest I be sucked in by his svengali like mind control abilities. I pitied the “ditto-heads” and knew I was smarter than to fall for his shtick.
But a funny thing happened when I opened my ears. I realized that the other side was right. I realized that much of the crap I was spouting was nonsense and could not stand up to any critical review. When I stopped long enough to think about my “beliefs,” I realized they were not based in reality. They were not “beliefs,” they were simply a recitation of leftist talking points.
The final straw was when I subscribed to the Conservative Chronicle which is simply a collection of op-ed pieces from modern conservative thinkers. I subscribed out of curiosity but after a few issues I realized the conservatives were running logical circles around the left. Conservatives were speaking about ideas and ideals and liberals were speaking about hatred and fear. (not much has changed in the political arena since then either)
So now, like a newly sober drunk or a reformed smoker, I’m pretty hard-core. I now see that one side really is a bunch of cultists. — But it is the left. And it annoys me that so many otherwise rational people will spout utter nonsense because the cult leaders tell them to.
I should have pity or at least empathy for them, for once I was doing the same thing… but I don’t. The only tool required to see reality is a brain. If these people refuse to use theirs, I can’t feel any pity for them.
It is a grim reality that it took 9/11 to wake Cinnamon up, but I’m glad it did. Welcome to reality Cinnamon, it’s a far better place.