Some Not-so-Apologetic Apologetics

[This blog begins a series of posts on the 2008 presidential election from Flat Hat staffers Alex Ely and Beth Sutherland.]

Let’s start this off with a quick, potentially boring bio, just so you know who I am.

Senior; English and history major; movie-reviewer for The Flat Hat; aspiring medievalist; Writing Center consultant; creative writer; reviewer for The Monitor; honors student working on Chaucer; sometime ESL tutor; Batman fanatic; bibliophile extraordinaire; born-and-raised Army brat; family o’ six.

Based on the caustic things the majority of my peers routinely say about both my party and my candidates, I feel the need to justify my a-typical collegiate conservatism. I feel the need, though, in truth, none exists. At the risk of being egoistic, I would like to spend my first post walking up the hill I know already exists for me.

Next time, I will look down it and speak my mind about this election. For right now, let me just say that nothing on this lovely planet could possibly induce me to vote for Barack Obama. We’ll explore my perfectly logical, malice-free reasons for this later.

Several thoughts popped into my head when The Flat Hat asked me to be its right-wing blogger.

First, I realized that I would now have a kindred spirit in the salmon that wriggle upstream every spawning season.

Second. This was all Facebook’s fault. When college students do identify their political leanings on this wonderful, life-consuming “social network,” the status quo seems to run from “Liberal” to “Very Liberal.” So I’m seldom surprised when people comment on the irregularity of my “Very Conservative” affiliation. And my more opinionated status updates have spurred many a vehement debate on my Wall and in my Inbox.

Just by being honest, I attract lots of attention. Strange, really.

I never post agitated comments on others’ Walls. Maybe I should?

Third: what about my hippie skirts and pink fishnets?

Finally!—some recognition in spite of myself. Don’t ask me what things are like for a conservative on campus. I’m not sure I know. One of the most common things I hear is, “I thought you were a liberal. I mean, the way you dress…” Or my favorite, “You are nothing like a conservative.” Of course I’m like a conservative; I am a conservative. I dispel these unfortunate preconceptions as soon as I open my mouth, but I don’t make a habit of starting every conversation off with political dialogue. One of my good friends told me I would never be admitted into the Republican Convention. I said, of course I would—I do them proud. His response verbatim? “Not with that eyeshadow, sister.”

Similar to one of my professors’s comments, which ran something like, “You can’t be a Republican. You’re cool.”

Okay. Time to destroy some rather insulting myths.

I hope I always have and always will engage with my liberal comrades (and I mean that in the most non-Communist of ways) in a respectful, compassionate, good-humored, and, most of all, open-minded manner.

I will respectfully consider anything put before me. I ask the same, of course. And, heavens-to-Betsy, may I never conform to the Liberal Gaze and start dressing like their conception of a conservative.

These are my intentions for this blog.

Before taking offense to what I say, please step back and consider the fact that I’m coming from the opposite end of the spectrum (most likely), with a deep love for America and a passion for democracy.

This apologia may seem self-indulgent. I mean… it kind of is.

It really shouldn’t be necessary, but I’ve taken enough guff over the years to feel the need for its inclusion. At the same time, I’ve been cheered by William and Mary. I have found more respect than an outspoken Reaganite could ever have hoped for, and this has far overshadowed the moments of patronization, hostility, and ignorance.

I’m very grateful for this forum and look forward to making use of it in a lively and efficient manner. One, hopefully, that will foster communication and cross-partisan understanding.


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