Be careful, conservatives. You might actually be a liberal fighting to convince yourself that you are a conservative. Oh, the horror!
I know this because I actually talked to one this weekend. I was in a hotel having dinner, and I began a conversation with a conservative about some hot topics. As I expected, we made absolutely no headway with the abortion (contraceptives) debate. There is no winning in a debate about that. The debates I really enjoyed were about “entitlement” programs and gay marriage.
In these discussions, I simply used a sequence of logical questions to get the poor closet liberal to admit that they didn’t really align with conservatives in the way they thought. We began discussing the law being free from religion. This conservative played the “Constitution was written on Christian beliefs” card. Well, that was an easy one. I simply got the person’s agreement that the Constitution was written to protect freedom of religion, and freedom from religion. Once that was established, I asked if they believed that the government should be forcing some Christians’ beliefs on others? Of course, it was hard to admit, but I got the “no” I was looking for.
Then it was time for the self-proclaimed conservative to play the “but marriage is a gift from God” card. Another simple one (that seems to be a trend with conservative arguments). The easy argument here is that, while it is fine for a church to refuse to marry people because of their beliefs, marriage as far as the government is concerned, is purely secular. It is a contract that has specific rights and responsibilities included. If religion is taken out of the argument, then we’re only left with a contract (called marriage) that the government has no reason to deny to a gay couple.
At this point, I got an agreement that, even though the conservative didn’t agree with homosexuality, there was no reason that the government should be denying gay marriage. This person did attempt to say that they would have to vote against approving gay marriage if it came up because they didn’t agree with it personally. Well, the discussion immediately became about forcing the person’s beliefs on others versus allowing others to make decisions on their own. No matter what logic was used, this was the last hiding place for this faux conservative. There was not going to be an admission that, even though they said the government should not be writing any religion’s beliefs into law and there was no reason that the government should be denying gay marriage, this person actually believed as many liberals do and would vote to see progress in freedom and civil rights. I warned this person to be careful because they might actually be a liberal in conservative clothes.
At some point, we transitioned to a discussion about “entitlement” programs. We agreed that Social Security, being a system that is paid into by workers, is not what many people refer to as an “entitlement” program. (We had a discussion about the word “entitlement” before we started in which we decided that we would use the word to basically “charity” as many conservatives use the term. We agreed that, by the true definition of the term “entitlement,” social security was one. I’m pretty sure the sentence, “I’ve paid into that my whole career, you’re damn right I’m entitled to it” was uttered.)
Then we agreed that there should be some reform to the programs. We agreed that people on welfare should be subjected to drug testing. The surprising part was that, while the conservative thought Medicaid should be destroyed, we agreed that everyone in a country as rich as ours deserved to have basic necessities like food, shelter, and healthcare. This conservative told me that they believed we should move to a single-payer healthcare system. Stop. Re-read that last sentence. Now realize that this conservative works in the healthcare industry…and has for over 25 years. At this point, there was no denying the obvious. I had to tell this person who proclaims to be conservative that they are actually a liberal. Yes. This anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, self-proclaim Christian conservative is actually a liberal who is refusing to see the truth. If you believe in the freedom to live one’s life, if you believe that the fundamental rights outlined in the Constitution apply to all of us, if you are a true Christian…then you should be very careful with whom you align yourself politically. You may actually be a liberal in conservatives clothing.