Liberal to Conservative: My Journey

If you don’t like politics, then skip this one. If you are a liberal, I’m sorry if I offend you. But I used to be one of you and I HAVE to tell my story.

Many people who have only known me for a few years are surprised to know that I voted for Bill Clinton in 1996. As conservative as I am now, I was the exact opposite in my younger years.

When I was a child, sometime in 1984 (during Ronald Reagan’s second election), I asked my mother about the difference between a Democrat and Republican. My beautiful, naive mother gave me the response that so many liberals seem to hold to these days. “A Democrat takes from the rich and gives to the poor. A Republican takes from the poor and gives to the rich.” I could almost see Walter Mondale wearing the green tunic, feathered hat and tights. With a view of politics like that, how could anyone not be a Democrat?

However, I decided early on that I would be the best Democrat that I could be. I researched the party’s beliefs and decided to adopt liberalism totally. By age twelve (before I really knew about the “birds and bees”), I was pro-choice. I hated guns. I taught myself to believe that the Federal government should be responsible for taking care of our every need. I also learned to be a subject to that government. And I hated Reagan for being the president who spoke about how the government SHOULDN’T rule us.

When I was in high school, my Speech and Debate teacher, Tim Hager, was a conservative. I enjoyed a good-natured debate with him for four years. When Clinton was elected in 1992 for his first term (I was seventeen, so I couldn’t vote yet), I remember walking into Mr. Hager’s classroom and laughing heartily at him. He took it with an air of dignity, although I came to understand the fear for our country that he must have felt at that time when I saw Obama elected in 2008. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In our Debate class, we were assigned topics and we weren’t allowed to choose our sides. Mr. Hager assigned me a gun-control debate where I was to be against it. I did the research and came to a startling conclusion . . . one that shook the very foundation of my ideals. If a criminal is a criminal because he breaks the law, then making guns legally more difficult to get would only harm law-abiding citizens. The criminals would have no problem with going through illegal channels to get their guns without a “waiting period.”

Okay, so I was no longer for gun control. But I was still a liberal, doggone it!

Then I was converted to Christ when I was twenty-one. Over the course of the next two years, I began reading the Bible everyday. No exceptions. Although it came too late to keep me from voting for Clinton in 1996, the Word changed me. I no longer felt that a woman’s “right to choose” was more important than the life growing inside her. I no longer felt that two men or two women should flaunt their love in the face of God’s design. I no longer felt that the government should control our lives. After all, they were the ones who told us that we couldn’t study the Bible in school. They were the ones who worked to make evolution the reigning theory of the creation of life.

I spent the last three years of Clinton’s presidency trying to make up for my earlier beliefs by teaching my own parents what the real differences were between a Democrat and Republican. My mother holds very conservative views and always voted for men who went against those views because she believed that the men that she voted into office would take from the rich and give to the poor. And they tried. But their reasons were less than noble. They did it because a populace that is dependent on the government is easier to control. I know that now and believe it with every fiber of my being.

And, at my ten-year class reunion in 2003, I shook Mr. Hager’s hand and said, “You were right and I was wrong.”

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1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, life, political, Politics

One response to “Liberal to Conservative: My Journey

  1. That was very good, Jeff. I can’t say that I know how you feel, though. I came from a Christian, conservative upbringing. Still, as I grew older, I paid close attention to all the rhetoric and such, and decided for myself exactly why my parents had taught me to side with conservatism.