So, today has been an interesting day of sorts...but why would you expect less from an election day. I voted today in a urine smelling community center about four blocks from my house...they didn't ask for my ID and there wasn't a polling watcher around anywhere, and I looked...
I have always been interested and involved in politics, always. I think a lot of that has to do with the way I grew up. My family lives all over the country... mainly up north and out west. Growing up my grandparents lived in upstate New York and Delaware. My Aunt and Uncles lived in Columbus, OH and Boulder, CO. My Grandfather even had a vacation home out in Arizona when I was very young. So I've been traveling long distances yearly ever since I can remember.
How did this influence your politics Christy? Well, my Dad listened to Rush Limbaugh. I know that name sparks animosity in a lot of people, even some conservatives, but Rush has been on the air for twenty years (I'm 27). I guess my Dad has listened to him from the beginning. My mom always drove a minivan when I was growing up. With three kids, and a lack of safe, stylish SUV's in the 1980's, a minivan was what mom's drove. There weren't the hide-a-way seats, the automatic doors, the DVD players... no, these were the box style, basic model minivans. And as a barely middle class family from Birmingham, Alabama -- a minivan was the transportation of choice when visiting relatives across country. Flying was too hard logistically and financially.
So every year when we would go to visit the relatives, multiple occasions, we would all pile up in the minivan. My dad would take the middle seats out and lay a blanket down in the middle, so we could 'cheat' and not have to sit in seats and actually lay down (hopefully sleep for my parents' sake) for the long, often four day treks across country. While on these trips, my dad would listen to Rush Limbaugh... of course us kids had our toys and Walkmans and what not, but I listened to Rush while my dad did... when I was in first grade our elementary school had a mock election and I was interviewed by the local news...they asked me who I voted for and why... I said (proudly) "I voted for George Bush (Sr.) because my parents are voting for him". Mind you another student in my class was interviewed saying, "I voted for Dukockus (spelling?) because he's black just like me!"..... Regardless, I have a hard time believing today that those experiences didn't play a role in my beliefs today as a conservative Republican.
Now don't get me wrong... most of you see me as a strict, straight party-line conservative... but I'm not really. Two things you might not know about me is that I am very pro-choice (depending on circumstance) and for gay rights. While I believe strongly in these views, they do not influence me to abandon my party views -- and this is because I believe with what sense I have of politics, that abortion will not be made illegal tomorrow... and gay rights will not be squashed tomorrow or outlawed altogether. These two issues are SO extreme and so all over the board across both parties that there is no way any definite change will be made related to them if either candidate is elected. Also, Republicans believe deeply in state rights and putting these types of issues in the hands of the state -- which I firmly agree with -- so I would rather have state votes (like CA is seeing now) on these types of issues rather than the Federal Gov't making a proclamation of some kind.
So... yes, I grew up a conservative Republican...but I did have my rebellious times. However, fundamentally, my experiences growing up in society helped shape my political views. I can go back to High School. Nothing came easy to me in High School and College. I always had to work harder at things to get what I wanted...there wasn't the 'no child left behind' program when I was in school, so we weren't coddled. I've always been underestimated, and I think that made me work that much harder. High School was tough... I was in a graduating class of almost 800 kids... which basically made you invisible. You can be very smart, but in 800, not smart enough...where does 80 out of 800 belong when there are 79 people smarter than you? I was made fun of, pushed in the halls... I had my car keyed twice, my license plate stolen twice, my locker broken into with all my books stolen about five times... basically I wasn't a popular cheerleader type...girls were mean.... I came out of High School with low self esteem and I didn't trust anyone, not even people I considered friends.
College was better, but I still had to work both socially and academically. I won a scholarship...and I was in one of the hardest majors at Clemson, Computer Engineering. I was either the only girl, or one of few girls in every class and lab. I never took less than 18 hours a semester in that major, because I knew I had to work hard to stay in the major and graduate. And I never asked for special help or concessions because I was a minority in that major -- I never protested that none of the professors in that major were female.. none of us (females) ever complained, it just motivated us more to work harder. I worked hard and graduated in four years...went on to my MBA while working three jobs, and graduated with a Masters in two years. Never once did I ask for anything.
Yes, I'm luckier than most... but if I hadn't worked hard and proved myself in High School, I wouldn't have gotten a college scholarship or gotten into college at all for that matter... If I hadn't worked hard in college, I wouldn't have been able to get into my Masters program and maintain three jobs. I worked for what I earned... I worked.
With my current job, I've been successful because I've come to realize the value of personal accountability. It was easy about a year or so ago to complain about work and complain about my position... but I had a good co-worker friend of mine tell me, "You know what Christy? You can sit here and complain all you want, but the only person who's going to make things better for you is...well...YOU. So quit b*tching and do something about it..." And I did. I asked the right questions and worked my you know what off and basically put myself where I am now...where I couldn't be happier. And it was all because of me... I made my own success.
I can also attribute my beliefs to my Grandfather, my mom's dad. My Grandfather grew up in a lower middle class family. Back then it was rare for people to go to college, but my grandfather went to Penn State (the first in his family), graduated in Chemical Engineering, and eventually became the VP of DuPont. Same could be said for my Dad. He started off as a construction worker, and now is a successful business man who owns his own sales business. He worked his you know what off to get to where he is today. Neither of them ever put their hand out for help or complained about how hard it was.
So it's a chain you see... My Grandfather's success and my Dad's success, along with my success in High School, enabled me to go to college and start to build my career and (hopefully) eventual success...so one day when I have kids, I can teach my kids to be hard workers and help my kids go to college and be successful..
So to make a long rambling blog post short, my strong conservative beliefs are rooted in a family tradition of making yourself successful. So when it comes to our next president (so I just heard) awarding citizens who don't push themselves to reach a certain level of success seems fundamentally wrong to me. I get emotional and upset about it... "Wait a minute..." I say..."I just spent the past 15 years of my life working past every obstacle trying my hardest to get to where I am today -- and now we're going to just hand out money to those who don't try?" It might not seem as simple as that to some of you, but in the long run, that's essentially what it is... a combined household of 200K is two married individuals making 100K each (hypothetically). So... if I get married to someone who is on the same education level as me, and we eventually make 100K (which why would I not work towards that???), then we will be taxed heavily for our income total.
And to me, it's not that I'm greedy and I want the money... people fail to realize that that's not the main issue with conservatives at all. My main issue is I am a Christian and a giver. I want to give money to the ballet company (because I love ballet and have benefited from it since I was four). I want to give to my church at home because it helped raised me from birth. I want to give to OCD charities, and causes that are important to me and my family. When I get to the point financially where I have extra income to give, there are certain causes I feel passionate about that I want to contribute to. But if I'm taxed more, all of a sudden that extra money I would've donated to charity is gone -- and instead it goes to programs like ACORN, welfare, and other democratic affiliated organizations that I don't necessarily want my money going towards. If I have worked my you know what off since I was 14 to get to where I am today, then why the hell can I not have the discretion to make decisions about my own money? I had a friend tell me today that she's voting for Obama so she can help the children and education.. how is giving your money to the government going to help those causes? How?
I think that the next four years will be an interesting, telling four years. I think that either Obama will do absolutely nothing (most Dems do nothing in office except stain dresses) or actually follow through on his promises which are very, very frightening for this country. I've said it before, and I'll say it again.... I find it so hard to believe how people in this country are so enamored with this man when all the facts are laid out on the table for us... I mean, you have to hand it to Obama...he was upfront about all of his policies, but Americans fell for this blatant marketing campaign. If you voted for Obama, besides him not being Bush and being a great speaker, do you know why you voted for him, really?
I've said my peace and I hope people won't gloat tomorrow.... I hope for all of our sakes I won't be saying "I told you so..." for the next four years. Good night. Is it too early to buy my "Don't blame me I voted for McCain" t-shirt??? :)
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