I grew up in the liberally elite state of Connecticut, inundated with yacht clubs, country clubs, and various people suffering from the chronic condition of cranial rectal disorder. Connecticut was a cross between the cinematic masterpieces of Pretty in Pink, Mean Girls, and the Stepford wives. I never lived on the right side of the tracks, like Molly Ringwald, was never popular, nor did I want to conform to the rest of the “wives” living in the neighborhood. I was dead set to go against the grain, remaining true to my morals and beliefs. Growing up in Connecticut allowed me to see the superficial hollowness that becomes so prevalent in elite society.
To this day I’m still incredibly surprised that I made it out of that state with a wonderful education that didn’t turn me into a raging liberal, just a mild one. I was also fortunate enough to have a couple of teachers who had a significant impact on my life. I remember camping in the woods during a high school elective English class, studying poetry by Robert Frost, reading about Henry David Thoreau, analyzing short stories and human nature. Our opinions were never formulated for us, rather our teacher continuously asked questions of us when describing our own personal interpretation of what we had read or experienced. Through my experiences I became enamored by the human condition and sought to read literature that provided deeper insight into our humanness. One flattering moment, that should have clued me in, came later in the evening my Sophomore year in High School, where my English teacher called my Mother to let her know that he had never met anybody at such a young age who was so sensitive to the outside world and who was as insightful as friends of his in their early 60’s. As great as that moment was, there is only so much one can learn from books and listening to what others have to say, the greatest learning experience for me was real life.
I went onto college in Virginia, originally hoping to play soccer at a DII or DIII school, but “fell for” a larger one in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley; James Madison University. I tried out for the club soccer team, because there was too much I would miss, if I weren’t playing a team sport. I had a competitive edge, a drive, and a determination that needed to be squelched, and soccer was my outlet. As I studied and did well in school, I felt a deep nagging within me. There was something different, something missing, but within my first two years at JMU I wasn’t able to put my finger on it.
The first time I was able to vote, I was a Sophomore in college, leave it to a Utopian seeking, one-issue voter, who doesn’t know any better, to cast their ballot for Al Gore – believe me I’m still making amends for it today.
The second half of that year I spent a semester living abroad. I lived in Spain with a family for close to four months, unable to speak English with them, only the group of 25 that I went with. I was always an independent young woman – I was the only one from my high school graduating class to go to my college and didn’t know anybody when I left for Europe. I was immersed in a completely different culture, and don’t get me wrong, I had fun, probably too much fun, but I began becoming homesick more often than not. I started to realize what it was I had taken for granted in the United States, like having a computer in my dorm room. In Spain I had to walk a mile or so to an Internet café and pay to use an Internet connection that sometimes would not work. I had a roommate and our beds were so close together that I could reach my hand towards her and touch her arm. Showers could only be taken every other day and my jeans were always stiff after they came out of the wash, as if a box of starch was dumped on them. I lived on a small narrow floor in a tiny flat with 5 other people, no TV, no phone calls, unless they were made in the street via a payphone, and we couldn’t leave lights on for long periods of time. I took classes that were in a different language, had my wallet stolen, and stayed up all hours of the night. I slowly became more patriotic, even if it was very subtle.
I was a junior in college on 9/11. I had just gotten out of the shower and was eating breakfast with my roommates getting ready to drive over to campus for our early economics class. My hair was still wrapped in a towel when we sat on our couches watching the planes fly into the two towers and the pentagon. We screamed as the first tower came crashing to the ground, soon followed by the second. I tried to call my Mother to find out if anyone we knew or any family members working on Wall Street were injured, or worse yet, killed in the attack. I also needed to find out if she was ok. My mother worked in the Pentagon from time-to-time when on business travel to DC. All phone lines were busy and the only people we were left with were each other. That day was solemn, we wandered around like zombies, silent for hours, until it broke and the waters came cascading through. I bonded with people I never had contact with, or those whom never interested me as friends. Life had changed forever in that moment, that day, that year.
The problem that surfaces is our apathetic nature, our requirement for immediate gratification and results. The War on Terror dragged on and many forgot 9/11 – including myself. It’s not that I wasn’t patriotic and more so than I was previously, but that I became so consumed with me.
I graduated from college with a 3.58 GPA, which got me to Cum Laude status. I would be taking home a degree in International business, finance and a minor in Spanish. I just wasn’t taking a degree in humility, character, and a minor in honesty, home with me.
I left Virginia and headed to Baltimore for a job in the Defense Industry. Through my encounters with real war heroes and patriots, I was able to ascertain what it means to believe and fight for the constitution and the country. I tended to be a sponge of sorts when it came to one-on-one encounters; taking in not only my own experiences, but also others, and using them to form my opinions on life. My opinions started to change, however, I still didn’t know all that much about politics besides what my coworkers and boyfriend would tell me.
It was during this time in my early 20s that I faced some of the biggest struggles of my young life. What wasn’t mentioned above was the fact that I had an Irish curse, but unfortunately had no Irish ancestry. My life was clouded by drinking and partaking in things I was taught not to do. I lived to excess and became a belligerent, miserable human being. There came a point in time where my boyfriend of two years couldn’t deal with me, my family had cut me off, my job was in jeopardy, and I had several falling-outs with close friends. I was the most self-centered, egotistical, victim that walked the face of the earth. And I was alone in the world. I hit rock bottom… I looked into a mirror for the first time in years and scared myself to death. There was nothing looking back at me, just emptiness.
Something happens to an individual when she is left alone to look inside herself. After years of running from who I really was, and after years of blaming all my problems on everyone around me, I realized that I was the only common denominator in all them. I spent two years reading a book that was quite large and had a bluish tint. I spent two years being told to sit down, shut up, take the cotton out of my ears, and put it in my mouth from “old timers.” I knew the value of tough love, and the value of taking an inventory, following principles, traditions, and realizing that most of my problems can summarily be pinned on one thing: ME.
I, as much as I hated it, did not have control over everything. God, a power greater than myself, was the captain of the ship I had boarded. I had free will to roam around the vessel and make decisions upon which course I attempted to traverse, but ultimately the current was God’s. I had finally found faith, and the above-mentioned feeling of absence was just a gaping hole inside of me that just so happened to fit God perfectly.
Through a life changing process I was able to see the significance of common sense and logic. I had learned the definition of insanity a long time ago: “Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” What applies in our own personal lives, whether it’s attempting to relieve debt by creating more debt, or just repeating the same habits over again, hoping for a different outcome, all equates to insanity, and quite frankly makes no sense. In essence, I had lifted myself up by my bootstraps, been raised from the dead, and suddenly taken from the scrap heap of life to something better than I had known. I live life by two mottos: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ The Little Prince; “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character, which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” ~ Bill W.
It has become harder to relate to friends my age who have never traveled outside the country, let alone their state. It’s harder conversing or debating with those who have never lived in an inner city seeing liberal philosophy play out first hand. It’s harder still finding common ground with those who have never known what it is like to suffer and overcome adversity, and recognize the value of life, and those intangible elements that fulfill each little moment of every day.
There is more to life than college degrees, great grades, titles, money, power, material goods, or using empty rhetoric well when staring at a teleprompter. I tend to believe that intellect may come from books and theories, but wisdom comes from life experience. Wisdom far outweighs intellect on any given day. I have come to realize in the last few years, that my personal strife and success has awakened me to things I would have been forever blinded to otherwise.
I believe that our values shape our political ideologies. What is important to me in life shapes how I view the outside world, and those aspects of life and people that I deem most important.
Values and traditions are imperative for a fruitful society and many of those traditions run in tandem with our morals and principals. This is why the constitution needs to be upheld; not merely because of the blood, sweat, and tears of our founding fathers, although that should be enough, but because it’s what made this country great in the first place. As they say, “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.” The Constitution was a lessons’ learned document much like businesses have standard operating procedures to make companies as efficient as possible. Our founding fathers knew what they didn’t want after experiencing a soft tyranny first hand. They knew that by making a government less centralized and more federalized that constituents could be better represented. The founding fathers also felt that members of congress should hold real life jobs while working in the capitol so they would not lose sight of their peoples’ concerns and hardships. Sadly, our country continues to move further and further away from the true intentions of our founding documents. Lobbyists, special interests, “too-big-to-fail” corporations, media, political power, and elitism seep through the pores of our nation’s face, and there is no honest dermatologist in sight!
I am a skeptic of the highest order, and that is why I don’t give credence to either party. Both are as progressive and as power hungry as the other. I simply want regular people to wake up and realize who is supposed to be in charge, and who knows, maybe there is one honest politician on the horizon? One can hope.
Common sense tells me that staying true to the Constitution will make this country tick, that keeping firearms is not about hunting, but about defending freedom and liberty, that using our own natural resources and nuclear power would make us energy independent much faster than alternative energy for a propagandized crisis that is non-existent in reality. Common sense tells me that spending your way out of debt does not work, that saving, scrimping, and being fiscally responsible is what we should be doing in our own lives, so why not the government? Common sense tells me that tax cuts and supply side economics make sense during a recession to relieve economic woes, and that trying to fix the symptoms rather than the underlying disease will make the patient sicker. Common sense tells me that universal healthcare does not work, and there is no such thing as a free lunch, that cap and trade is just a power grab that will destroy many of our still thriving industries like coal, that big government equals big corruption, and that immigrants should come in the right and legal way, much like our ancestors. Common sense tells me much, much more, but I could go on forever about the many issues that I see emanating from Washington, D.C.
D.C. is making decisions for future generations and each and every American, rather than giving us that choice. It kills me to know that so many my age cannot see what’s coming, nor do they care. I have spent too much of my life pointing my finger blaming people for my wrongdoings and feeling entitled. I care more about individuals and the content of character, rather than the color of one’s skin, their religion, or ethnicity. If we were all created equal why don’t we start acting like it? It’s time to wean ourselves off the government dope that the bureaucrats continue to push. I would prefer to change my own diapers than have a nanny state change them for me.
The people of the United States are the only arbiters of change. It is up to us, as a society of regular folks to affect those around us and take up a cause that puts our country back on the right track. It’s time to stand up and be counted, it’s time to bring common sense back to Capitol Hill, and it’s time to put country before ourselves.
I am a 27 year-old conservative, and a federalist; I’m a believer in the constitution, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, not the pursuit of a sub-prime loan. I’m a believer in honesty, integrity, and character, and above all else, I’m a believer in the American people.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~ Helen Keller