I’m a conservative, and I don’t feel like voting

Image by DonkeyHotey

by Tamara Stoneburner

I’m voting in the Republican primary when I don’t feel like it. I’m a conservative at heart and certainly when it regards my own ethos.

Though when it comes to intimate issues of faith and sexuality and the decisions and consequences that fall out from what you personally follow, I cannot support a government that dares to mandate these things for an individual. That’s not what a government is for… not really. That’s not where a government belongs. That’s not where a government is most effective. There’s a higher existence for that sort of thing.

And while I’m presently frustrated with the Republican ballot and the extremist vocals that currently represent my entire party (I’m talking about you, Rush Limbaugh, you arrogant son of a something… you need to take a lesson from Mark Levin, who hasn’t forgotten common civility and the art of debate and political analysis and humility… a true and strong old-school Republican voice), I STILL VOTE. I show up at the polls even when Santorum insults my voting privilege by not even trying to get his name on the Virginia ballot. What is your excuse anyway, Rick? Are you in this race or aren’t you? Hell, even Gingrich tried though he fell short of the quota of signatures. And Ron Paul, bless his heart. He is on the Virginia ballot. And if his foreign policy wasn’t so damned conciliatory and unpolished and kowtowing to the Middle East and Asia regarding weapons distribution and responsibility, I’d have strongly considered him.

I do vote Republican because I believe in fiscal analysis and stability. I believe that America can be the ultimate “comeback kid” and resurrect the small-business strength and industry that once was ours. I believe we shouldn’t feel guilty for having the strongest military and daring to maintain it. I don’t believe in welfare (not the atrocious, utterly bastardized and corrupted welfare ticket we’ve been running since the 70’s… a far cry from the mindset we held in the 30’s and 40’s that catalyzed the programs to begin with… the ones that truly tried to help without stripping one’s dignity). I think people are better than that and should be held to a higher standard. They should have the opportunity to be trained and be educated in any fashion they deem appropriate for their situation.

I believe in Border Patrol. It’s not because I detest Mexicans or feel they don’t belong here. That’s bogus. Of course they do, as long as they follow the guidelines that any other immigrant has to go through to gain honest citizenship. And yes, learn the damn language. It won’t diminish you to do so; in fact it strengthens your position by creating a bilingual skill. It won’t take away your national pride or point of origin. If it does, there are potentially bigger issues here. If I were to emigrate to another country, I’d expect to learn its language just to fit in and communicate properly and obtain work. This is a requisite. I believe in Border Patrol because a sloppily protected border allows any extremist faction from any country to smuggle its way in by hook or by crook for the sole purpose of hurting this country. It’s a vulnerability we cannot afford or recover quickly enough from once compromised. Unfortunately, Mexico and South America are channels for both drug and weapons cartels that all too easily provide that side door. It’s never about the people personally, it’s about what standards are allowed to flourish. It’s about that point of jeopardy that all societies possess.

And frankly, we need crowd control. We are not the United States of the World. We should be choosy about who we allow because we can only subscribe to so much before we weaken our core reserves. One shouldn’t kill the golden goose.

I detest the result of affirmative action (it’s a great concept on paper ONLY). I feel that my generation was the last to actually get what you got according to the level of effort that was exerted. You had to prove you had oral/written skills… you had to apply and write essays for scholarships and grants. You had to interview and do research on whatever company or agency where you wanted to land a job. You had to genuinely do extracurricular activities to prove you had teamwork and people skills. And if you wanted to place early in college, you damn well had to jump through hoops and test well and take the AP courses. You had to debate and look someone directly in the eye. If you were an artist applying for a position, you’d better have a buttressing portfolio. It didn’t matter what country you were born in or what ratio mix of color and race you were. You simply just had to work your ass off by any means and actually give a damn. Oh, you didn’t make the cut? Well, don’t you have bootstraps? Start pulling and try another avenue. Reinvent yourself. That’s what the fuck this country is about. When did we stop believing in the true cream of the crop… the best of the best… the tried and the true (to throw out yet another cliché)? When did we stop believing in accountability and responsibility?

Yes, I’m upset and yes, this is a full-on rant. And yes, I voted today in an unpopular primary for an unpopular political party. You have to continue trying. You have to have some spirit. You have to hope that what you believe in is enough to return it all to the positive roots.

And I realize that most of my friends are Liberals and Democratic-affiliated. I’m okay with that. I don’t think any less of you; you’re fighting the same stance as I am, but from another direction and trajectory. Probably most of them aren’t aware that I even hold these views. And there have been times when certain friends have held it bitterly against me that I’m conservative. Know that I’m not attacking you, and I really am not asking for any replies or debates here. I’m just at my wit’s end at so many levels and needed to write about some of it.

Tamara Stoneburner is an artist and calligrapher who lives in Virginia.

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