Monday, January 30, 2006

156 questioning my conservativism

Two friends of mine, Blake and Christine, just came back from a trip to New Orleans where they went to help with the clean up effort. Lots of gnarly stories about devastation and corruption and hopelessness. And here's the bit that surprises and saddens me. My first reaction is blame - I blame the people for not getting out when the warnings went out, I blame the governor and the mayor for talking too much and not doing enough, I blame the police force for their corruption.

And then it struck me. These questions come out of a mind that leans right politically. And it saddens me because they're elitist questions asked from the comforts of Hawaii. And all that blame does nothing to help those affected by Katrina. And I wonder what other insensitive, reactionary tendencies I've developed as a conservative.

It's all very confusing to me because from the moment I was introduced to conservative ideology, it made sense to me and I started reading books (Limbaugh, Cal Thomas, Bernard Goldberg, Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, and others) and I built up a world view that toed the party line. And that's not entirely a bad thing because it did get me to start thinking about government and social issues whereas before I was blissfully ignorant of what was going on around me, but now I'm starting to question elements of conservative group-think.

See, it saddens me that my first reaction is blame and a cynicism centered around racial and class stereotypes. And stereotypes aren't the product of spontaneous generation, they come from somewhere and in my case, I think a lot of mine came out of what I had learned from conservatism.

And so now I'm a bit confused. I don't want to simply jettison my conservative beliefs, but I don't want to turn into an insensitive, conservative blowhard.

Anyway, it's almost 11:30pm and I've got to work tomorrow at 6am which means I have to get tup at 4am in order to have enough time to shower, shave, and make lunch.

More thoughts soon.

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