They Loved Me Before I Belonged to “The Party of Hate”: Confessions of a Conservative

They Loved Me Before I Belonged to “The Party of Hate”: Confessions of a Conservative

They Loved Me Before I Belonged to “The Party of Hate”: Confessions of a Conservative

Back in my college days, I voted solely on what was “cool”. Being a Democrat was “cool”. And I so wanted to be at the table with the cool kids. You know, the “educated” ones, the “intellectuals”. I would make fun of my young Republican friends for being too rigid and parochial; too “churchy”. I didn’t do uptight. I didn’t do church and I certainly didn’t do God and Christianity. Though looking back, I dabbled in other philosophies trying to find Him. I went wherever the wind took me. I was a child of the desert in Arizona, after all, it was edgy to be flippant. I had no real plans for my future. After racking up thousands of dollars in debt upon graduating college, I went looking for a full-time job. You know, one with a nice salary and benefits? I was entitled to that high-paying job with benefits because, after all, I had a BA.

One year into struggling to make my car payments, monthly rent and going to my mom’s house for dinner A LOT and complaining how others (who have paid their dues) made more than I did, I figured out very quickly that the world did not owe me a damn thing. I left the Arizona desert for a better-paying gig in Virginia and continued to work two or three jobs to pay my rent, make my car payments and pay off the credit card bills I so foolishly racked up. I did it. I waited tables, worked nights doing political phone surveys and finally got a decent-paying part-time union gig in D.C.

While hard work was paying off, I still lived solely for myself, for my own gratification. I still wanted so much to impress the right people and have people like me (a disorder that goes back to my days in elementary school). At one point, a Conservative friend of mine called me “selfish” and I thought, “How dare he”?! After all, I busted my hump and the world still owed me. I was entitled to be selfish.

And like a slap in the face, I woke up one September morning, grabbed my WaWa coffee and took my selfish being into work for another day in my very selfish, meaningless life of pure fluff. I arrived at work with visuals of burning buildings on the news and found myself unable to speak, paralyzed. While this may sound cliché, life changed as I knew it in those moments as those buildings crumbled to the ground. For the first time in my life, I realized exactly what it meant to be an American and what it meant to be hated because I am an American.

Fast forward to a year later. As irony would play out, I found myself in a relationship with a Marine. We married in 2004, two weeks before he deployed. I found it somewhat baffling at the time how he and his fellow Marines were excited about “getting to go” to war and live in a tent in the middle of a desert somewhere. I remember the overwhelming excitement and pride I felt seven months later when their homecoming aircraft roared down the runway of MCAS Cherry Point. I remember the cheers coming from all of the spouses and families…and the tears of joy upon the reunions.

About a year after that first deployment, we found ourselves expecting our first child. God has a way of slapping me upside the head and slapping me HARD and He had his way with me on Christmas Day of 2005. Despite my gradual change in attitude, my attitude on Faith still needed some major adjustments. I was still caught up in what others thought of me and what was the “correct” thing to say. Two days before Christmas, I got hormonal and up-in-arms with a woman who said “Merry Christmas” to me in the MCDonald’s drive thru after my politically-correct “Happy Holidays” sentiment. “What if I am not a Christian? Happy Holidayzzzzzze!” I snapped at her and drove off. There I was, eating my Egg McMuffin and shoving my pregnant face with hash browns fuming about how some woman assumed I celebrated Christmas when I DID celebrate Christmas!

This is where the slap upside the head comes in. One day later, I was rushed to the hospital with a BP of 196/117. My organs were failing and I lost a lot of blood. At that point, I realized the only way our little family was to get through this was prayer. Yes, to God. At 5:37am on Christmas morning, our first (and only) child was born. He is almost 11 years old now and full of beans!

In the course of 10 years, I went from living only for myself, struggling to make it, to making it, to falling in love with a man who actually wanted to play his part in defending this wonderful, beautiful country we know as America. That love and pride I felt when he returned home safe for the first time has never waned and only grew in intensity after multiple deployments and subsequent homecomings. And every time-he’d come home 15 pounds lighter from Iraq, Afghanistan, GITMO–whereverbut happy, because he “got to go” and be a part of something much greater than himself which in turn, made me love him even more. Through this love, we brought life into this world and I discovered a love like I’ve never known before at the very sound of his little heartbeat at that first appointment. How anyone would want to throw that away, to willingly cease that little heart’s flutter or to not share the joy with someone else who may not be able to carry a child became unfathomable in my mind. That something so precious that I fought for, that other mothers fight for and pray for is completely disregarded and dispensable to some.

As a Conservative now, I’ve been told that I have been “brainwashed” and that I am “laying on the guilt trip” when I post patriotic photos or a picture of an American flag. I have been called “ignorant”, “bigoted”, “racist” and “out-of-touch-with-reality”. I’ve seen flat-out insults and obscenities from liberal friends on Facebook to MY Faith and MY God from the same people who call others “intolerant”. I no longer receive invites to my liberal friends’ get-togethers despite the fact that I never once got into any disagreements on our differing political philosophies when I was on their short list. I have been shunned by liberal friends of the same profession, unfollowed and unfriended and the uber-liberal “friends” that have remained don’t even like my cat pictures on Facebook anymore. I do not fit into their little box. At first, I was not sure how it happened but then I figured it out. Life happened and I found myself not only responsible for my actions but tasked with a responsibility of supporting the man I love and instilling some character into a young, impressionable mind. I do not want him to grow up to be me in my 20s and thinking the world owes him something for nothing. I also have the responsibility of cherishing this God-given second chance at my life and to continue to work hard, to love and treat people with respect and to be grateful to be an American. Every single day. I may no longer hang with the so-called “intellectuals” who are actually big, fat bullies. I realized those very people are the elementary school kids that I wanted so badly to impress disguised as adults. They tell you they are smarter than you, they tell you they are superior to you, they belittle you and call you names and insult you and your beliefs. It got me to thinking about why I was chasing my tail for so long. Whatever for?! They dropped me when my beliefs did not align with theirs! This election season, I know that I may continue to lose “friends”, and to be told that I am a hateful human being because I am proud of my country, the people who stand up for it, hard work and grit and for life as we know it here. While I won’t be invited to their parties anymore, I will be told that I belong to “The Party of Hate” even though hate did not get me here. Love did.

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  • Katy says:

    I grew up in small town rural and remember where entire communities were made up of people like you. And they were real communities.

    Now I live in the city surrounded by vibrancy and multiculturalism and diversity. It’s rammed down my throat at church and at work and I am growing to simply despise these people, the migrants and the one who enable them.

    I look at Europe and wonder, “How did we do this to ourselves?”

  • Timothy Mitcham says:

    How come this wasn’t linked on FB? I almost missed this great article.

  • Merle says:

    Some people wake up slowly – sadly some never wake up.

    You did OK.


  • Lisa Carr says:

    Thanks, all! I was a bit slow on the uptake…but I got there. 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    Lisa, Your humility, sense of humor, and deep love of God, family and country made this a joy to read. The expression goes “If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35 you have no brain” — but that’s not quite right. There is much heart in conservatism, much generosity and compassion, and I thank you for revealing it again here.

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