Thursday, November 7, 2013

“Coming Out Liberal”: Why Some Conservatives Fear Renouncing Their Republicanism

“Coming Out Liberal”: Why Some Conservatives Fear Renouncing Their Republicanism

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republican-democratI’ve stated numerous times before that I don’t really view most Republicans as members of a political party.  I view most conservatives more as members of a faith-based political cult.  I call it “Republicanity.”  It’s a mixture of some form of political ideology blended with a handful of excerpts from the Bible.  Facts, science, math, history—none of it matters.  They follow their party like a faith more than a political ideology.
And faith is much more difficult to reason with.  Faith doesn’t need facts, science or math—it just needs people who believe in it.  In fact, faith often defines the term “illogical” because faith often lacks concrete evidence supporting its beliefs.
So what we see with Republicans is a devotion to their political party much in the same way we see devotion to faith.  Reality, facts, science, math or even rational thought doesn’t matter because they’ve simply “been brought up” to be a Republican.
Much in the same way people are raised to be Christians, many Republicans are raised to be conservatives.  For many of these people if they were to decide to no longer be a Republican it would be similar to someone who was raised in a staunch religious family deciding that they were an atheist.
You see this with homosexuals who fear coming out to their families.  Those who were raised with families who firmly believe homosexuality is a sin punishable by an eternity in hell, having to worry about “coming out” to their family and what backlash they might experience.
And unfortunately for many, that backlash often includes scornful judgement and rejection.
Well, there are many who were raised Republican that face slightly similar fears if they were to “come out as a liberal.”  Granted, political ideology is a choice whereas homosexuality is not — but the fear of family backlash is very real with many in both instances.
Because trust me, being raised in Texas, there are many Republicans that believe liberals are just as big of an enemy as any radical terrorist.  So for quite a few “born and raised conservatives” to “come out” to their family as no longer supporting the Republican party, it can often mean they face similar rejections by their family members as if they had just stood up in the middle of church on a Sunday and declared themselves to be an atheist.
Just take a look at the mind-numbing back and forth I recently had with a Republican acquaintance.  From the onset it’s clear that she was raised to be a Republican, and that theory is confirmed later in the debate as she makes a comment about “being disowned” if she were to no longer be a Republican.
Was she kidding?  Maybe exaggerating a bit, but kidding?  I don’t think she was.
I deal with Republican family members constantly (though thankfully none of them immediate family members) who really view me and my system of beliefs as an attack on God and country.  They see my support of the LGBT community as a slight against God and the fact I’m pro-choice is tantamount to me supporting the murdering of babies.
Then while I make it a point to avoid debating with these people (I might as well just try and convince a rock to become a tree) they often seek me out to make it very clear to me what they think about my choice to be a Democrat.
And don’t forget, these aren’t relatives I see often or were raised by.  If the brief moments I deal with them I experience that level of scorn and grief, I could only imagine if one of their children shared the same political views.  I really do believe they would be ostracized from their family.
Which I think keeps many Republicans from “denouncing” their Republicanism.  It’s the fear that by doing so, they’ll face a hateful, spiteful backlash from many of their friends and family.  After all, they were “raised” to be a Republican.
But that’s the problem.  Political ideology shouldn’t be treated like faith or family.  It should be fluid and evolve.  Simply being “raised” in a home which identifies itself as conservative, or liberal for that matter, shouldn’t be the basis for which facts and reality are determined.
Our political identities should always be up for debate.  And while for many of us we’ll always inherently have some kind of bias towards how we were raised, it’s ridiculous that there are some who fear being ostracized or disowned by their families if they were ever to “come out as liberal.”

A political system of beliefs shouldn’t be treated like a religion or its information supported like faith.  It should be based on reality, history, facts, science, math and common sense.  Then if any of those seem to contradict the way in which you were raised, you shouldn’t question their validity—you should start questioning your political parties.
But it’s a dangerous precedent to set in this country when millions of people are being “raised” to believe in a political ideology that’s treated more like a faith than a system of beliefs that are supposed to be based on facts.  Then many of these same people are afraid of “coming out” as anything but a conservative for fear that their family might disown them.
Because when your “party” has reached that level of extremism,  you cease being considered a political party and instead you’ve become a faith-based cult with political initiatives.
And that’s the very thing our First Amendment was written to prevent.

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