Somebody asked me recently why I’m a conservative.
The answer is, well, a little visually disturbing.
I was no more than four years old. My mother watched The Phil Donahue Show. Nobody knew better at the time. Nobody knew he was setting out to change how information is manipulated. People trusted the media. It seemed to at least appear fair. There was no 24-hour-a-day bigotry from the internet and most TV networks. It would be years before Walter Cronkite announced that he was in the tank for Democrats.
But Phil Donahue was a trailblazer. His show changed things. Without even the slightest hint of fear that he was wearing a hideous jacket, he went right for the conservative jugular on morning television in front of hundreds of millions of latently bitter and angry housewives. We wouldn’t have The View without his pap.
I distinctly remember two things as I watched the glowing box from my position on the kitchen floor. He would often have guests on who screamed about women’s rights – “Men are pigs!” “They see us as objects!” “Construction workers whistle at me!” – and one day out of the month he would showcase a performance from the Chippendales dancers.
The mostly-female audience, who clapped and cheered loudly as the regular guests went on and on about the brutish objectification of women, only clapped and cheered more fiercely as the chiseled dancers gyrated in front of them, showing off their muscular bodies and the tiny – it was always tiny! – lump in their skin-tight briefs.
From a very young age, that was my first impression of someone who has long been seen as a groundbreaking “progressive.” Someone who is still, to a large degree, taken seriously.
I was four years old and I could see the hypocrisy. I guess there’s some sort of psychological trick people use where they can justify complaining about something being done to them, and do it to others, and not think of themselves as hypocrites. But that doesn’t occur to a four-year-old. I saw it very plainly: Women talking about how men mistreat them and objectify them, then once every few weeks they’re all there going “wow, look at the six-pack on that hunk, I wish I could take that body home!”
It was just gross. And it stuck with me. Now, if there was one show where bitter feminists bitched and moaned to an audience of misandrist sycophants, and another show where an audience of middle-aged secretaries and homemakers threw their panties at a stage full of male sex objects, I probably would have forgotten about those shows easily. And in fact, even today I don’t necessarily have a problem with a show where feminists bitch about their condition, or a show where chiseled, oiled guys show off their… ahem… assets. In fact John Brodigan still watches professional wrestling. But the fact that it was happening on the same show made it stick out in my mind.
The four-year-old mind is innocent, open, and quick to see patterns. Children can see right past the sort of thing that will trip up any adult. And there it was. The show was arguing that sexual objectification and not loving someone for their mind and their personality was wrong, and the same show was participating in sexual objectification. How could they do something, my little brain wondered, that they said was wrong?
No matter where politics goes, no matter where society goes, I can’t ever shake hypocrisy from the top spot on my list of things that devalue a person in my eyes and devalue their opinion. I’d be preaching to the choir if I listed all the hypocrisy – on both sides of the aisle – of which our Presidents and Congressmen and Senators are guilty.
But it’s pervasive, and not only our public officials are susceptible. A very liberal friend of mine (the one who thanks me for my tax money every time he sees a doctor) posted the following as his Facebook status the other night:
Don’t like gay marriages? Don’t get one.. Don’t like cigarettes? Don’t smoke them.. Don’t like abortions? Don’t get one. Don’t like sex? Don’t have it. Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them. Don’t like porn? Don’t watch it. Don’t like alcohol? Don’t drink it. Don’t like guns? Don’t buy one. DON’T LIKE YOUR RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY???? DON”T TAKE AWAY SOMEONE ELSE’S!!!!! RePoStInG CuZ ItS ToO gOoD NoT To
The creative capitalization at the end suggests it was going around Facebook as one of those “paste this in your status” memes and wasn’t an original thought. But it’s interesting, isn’t it. This radical liberal doesn’t want his rights taken away – his right to an abortion (which I’d pay to see him try to get), his right to porn (which, I admit, I’m a little perturbed Michelle Bachman is trying to take away), his right to gay marriage, etc. – but what does his government do with his consent? Do the phrases “Media Matters,” “Fairness Doctrine,” “Big Business,” and “Obamacare” mean anything to you?
I commented, mocking the style of the original:
Don’t like incandescent light bulbs? Don’t buy them. Don’t like Fox News? Don’t watch it. Don’t like Andrew Breitbart? Don’t follow him on Twitter. Don’t like Rush Limbaugh? Change the station. Don’t like fatty foods? Don’t eat them. Don’t like soda? Don’t buy it. Don’t like the current healthcare system? Don’t take it away from everybody else. Don’t like corporations? Don’t [buy products from] them. DON’T LIKE YOUR RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY???? DON’T TAKE AWAY SOMEONE ELSE’S!!!!!! CoMmEnTiNg BeCaUse It’S ToO gOoD NoT To
Here we are, nearly thirty years later, and Democrats still act like good ol’ Donohue. They scream and cry, they bitch and moan, about how we’re taking away their right to an abortion, their right to gay marriage, their right to porn. Then, once or twice a month, ol’ Phil pulls the curtain back to reveal a shirtless, chiseled Barack Obama, and as he gyrates to the bass-heavy dance music, he takes away our right to own incandescent light bulbs, our right to do business in the free market without excessive regulation, our right to conservative commentators in the media, our right to eat the foods we want to, our right to receive healthcare from the private sector, and the crowd cheers and wets themselves with glee (or, to borrow a phrase, “gets all wee-weed up”).
Except they do it figuratively, and with an extra layer of hypocrisy – they use their Dell or Apple computers (both “big businesses”), powered by carbon-based energy products and in some cases environmentally-hazardous rechargeable batteries, they get on the internet (provided by Time Warner or Comcast or Optimum, all “big businesses”), and they go to Facebook (whose CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is not only the 35th wealthiest citizen in the United States, but is also “one o’ them Jews” they constantly accuse us of believing that they run the media). They guilt conservatives into believing that we stand in the way of gay marriage, when their own President (and by their accounts, the first black President) Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996. They propagate the lie that conservatives are the party of overarching central control (which is why the re-posted status message propagated in the first place), when their own President decided on a Federal level that marriage was only ever between a man and a woman, and their most recent celebrity-cum-diety wants to control what foods we eat, what beverages we drink, what light bulbs we buy, where we get our healthcare, and whose businesses are exempt to their crushing regulation (which is hypocrisy in and of itself, because the answer is, “those business who like us”).
Well, you take off those panties and throw them on the stage, you bitter liberal man. You throw those panties like you’re throwing a shoe at George W. Bush. You know why? Gay marriage is now legal where you live. Abortion is, too. Sex is certainly legal (by liberals’ own logic, if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t need those abortions), and so are cigarettes. Alcohol is still very legal (I had some while writing this blog, in fact, and it was good). And the last time I looked for porn on the Internets, Michelle Bachman didn’t pop up on my screen waving her finger disapprovingly. Your own politicians have made it difficult for you to own a gun, so I can’t help you there.
But I’ll tell you what isn’t legal anymore. Freaking incandescent light bulbs. A damned glowing piece of wire in a glass ball is illegal in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I let you murder fetuses. I let you marry someone who is the same gender as you. I let you tear down Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck all day long with lies and distortions. I suffer through your incessant re-posting of Daily Show bits, HuffPo articles that are downright bigoted, and your ceaseless insistence that I’m “rich” because I’m not a Democrat and I owe you something. I let you do all these terrible, selfish things, and I can’t buy a light bulb that isn’t full of toxic chemicals that could make me sick and kill my cats?
There’s only one word for it: Hypocrisy. We have given so much to the other side, after a tough ideological battle we had every right to have. They not only continue to take away what is rightfully ours, but they do it while hanging on a cross they climbed upon of their own free will, whining almost incomprehensibly about how taking away people’s rights is wrong.
This is why I am a conservative. Hypocrisy and self-flagellation, even in the face of unbelievable compromise, is the heartbeat of the American Leftist. I am not always right, I often land far off the mark, but at my core, I aspire, with every breath I take, not to be a hypocrite.
(This post written entirely by incandescent light. When the stormtroopers come, tell my wife I love her.)