The Requisite Monthly Rant: for the record, Republican doesn't equal "Moral" or "Righteous"
November 29, 2004

Throughout the course of my brief time as a writer, I've generally been able to pin "opponents" by brand. There's the "You're Too Young to Know Anything So Go Back and Finish College First" brand of people. There's also the "I Think You're an Uncle Tom, Coon, Sell-out Because You Talked Bad About Jesse Jackson And it Rubbed Me the Wrong Way" brand of people. Lastly, there's my personal favorite: the "I'm An Atheist and A Democrat and I Think You're Stooopid" brand of people. I am quite familiar with all these schools of thought. However, just when you think you're on top of your game, a new brand emerges. Well, somewhat new to me at least. Earlier this summer, I was introduced to what appears to be the most dangerous of all the brands of opposition: the "I'm a Republican and Am Therefore by Default Righteous and Moral" people. Boy does this one open up a can of worms. These people are dangerous because they are deceived.

For whatever reason (personal attachment perhaps), quite a few individuals have taken umbrage with the fact that A) I am not a Republican and B) I refuse to believe that the sun shines out of the Republican Party's posterior. That said, I feel the need to make something clear: being a Republican does not equate to righteousness or morality any more than being a member of a particular denomination makes someone a follower of Jesus Christ. Republicans are not the saviors of the world; they're not even the saviors of the government. They are a political party capable of wrongdoing like anyone else.

What's more disturbing to me is our society's definition of "Conservatism". Look, I don't pretend to be an expert on these things, but the face of Conservatism in America is in my most humble opinion, sketchy. I say this because from one person to the next, there are a zillion different brands of what it means to profess "Conservative values". It's almost cringe-worthy.

These days, people should be apprehensive about calling themselves any political title with all the poor and confusing representations out there for the naked eye to see.

Take the case of noted homosexual author Andrew Sullivan, whose sexual orientation I point out only because it appears that his entire identity and framework for thinking is wrapped up in it (which is only to be expected). Sullivan has long been touted as a prominent Conservative writer or what I call the "Gay hope of the Right". The "Right" of course, seems to hold on to him with a death grip while simultaneously transmitting the subliminal signal of, "Hey look, you can be a conservative and be gay too so like us please like us, we're not homophobic, really we're not!" And yet, on just about every social issue, Mr. Sullivan and I contend.

Recently, I read one of Sullivan's articles in which he pins Pixar's latest flick "The Incredibles" as too conservative. Apparently, the mother and father figure family representation is just too preachy. Which leads me to the next question of what exactly is everyone trying to "conserve" these days? Conserve what? Conserve who? If I may utilize one of my favorite phrases known to the late nineties, "Bump that." Some of the individuals who claim themselves to be Conservatives are not interested in conserving much of anything let alone traditional values.

Enter this whole idea of people being "socially liberal" and "fiscally conservative". Whatever. I'm not going to get into how much that bothers me because I realize that people are entitled to think and believe whatever they want to. But I will say this: I'm so tired of everyone defining their identity by a political ideology. Throughout my life, I've made a fairly good effort not to allow myself to succumb to the pressure of conforming to other peoples' beliefs about what's right for this country.

I'm tired of the high and mighty attitude that accompanies the Republican Party wherein there too is evil and wickedness and improper motives. It bothers me that on any given day, I can read the words of people who profess to be "Conservative" or "Republican" and want to hurl. Yes, hurl. Because well, I am being reminded of the painful reality that the existence of political parties has given birth to a collective false sense of righteousness that God never intended.

So I'm sorry to all of those who are irritated that I won't worship at the altar of the Republican Party. A political party or ideology will never get my worship (nor should it). Republicans certainly are a sacred cow these days. For the record, Conservative does not equal Republican, nor vice versa. Unfortunately, the idea of what it means to be "Conservative" is up for extensive debate and equating any of these things to morality or righteousness will ultimately be to our demise.

Quite frankly, it's all getting a little disgusting.

Posted by Ambra at November 29, 2004 4:15 AM in Requisite Monthly Rant
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If you feel like hurling, can you imagine how God feels when some "out there" churches use the label "Christian" yet have very little to do with Christ? Labels are unfortunate but inevitable, part of the human experience in having to deal with the masses. Using a label is much easier than going through a ten (or twenty or more) point checklist of decisions on vital topics for every person or group.

Elections crystallize this process of labelling, where you have to decide who will best represent your decisions. Everyone wants to be a "conservative" - conserving the way they think things should be and work best.

I'd like to take "conservative" a step further and see a third party come up in the ranks. Constitutionalists would go back to the original intent of the Founding Fathers: limited Federal government, let the states handle things not in the Constitution or amendments.

[Maybe somebody can come up with a better name. Constitutionalists is long and awkward to type and say.]

I'm tickled when GOP stalwarts decry Pres. Clinton's accomplishments, yet he balanced the national budget, championed welfare reform, and advocated adoption over abortion. I vote person, not party.

Sounds like you're ready to drop the "conservative" label to try on the "Independent" one?

As I posted a while ago in response to one of your posts, the neocons of today are not the Conservatives of yesteryear. I think perhaps you would like the Goldwater people. The Reagan-Bush people are..well..you know.

I'm with Diane. Limbaugh,Liddy, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld do not exactly call to mind Bob Dole,Bill Buckley and George Will.

Hm. Of your list though, B, only Limbaugh is the relative new jack. The others were all in the mix, all a part of the constituency, though perhaps more in the background, no?

Must be something about young people and the hatred of labels (will that qualify me for your first group?)

Can you pick up an electric guitar and still play Jazz? Labels are just shorthand, it makes life a little easier.

There is no third way, you either believe in freedom or you don't. Until the lib/dems decide to leave me alone, the Republicans/Conservatives are just fine, No matter how imperfect they are.

Bijan - the list you gave as Clinton's "accomplishments" were all after the Republicans took control of congress. Nice try, but his first two years were what he really belived in (the fat chicks came later.)

If you want to give hime credit for something, try the Balkans.

Mmmkay. So Steven, I think you missed the point of my rant.

It's not the hating of the labels that's being communicated here. It's the hatred of the worship of those labels, shorthand or not.

And yes, it does qualify you for my first group. In which case, I know how to deal accordingly.

Lovely.
Lovely.
Lovely.
Lovely.
Lovely.

Yeah, now THAT'S WHAT'S UP!

Andrew Sullivan is gay?

Billy: Hee!

I'm a registered Republican but only because I wanted to vote in the Republican primaries in one of last century's elections. It was not that important to me to change my "party affiliation."

I don't really know what labels accurately describe me. I think I'm a conservative, because I do want to preserve traditions like respect and honor, and my husband and I do our best to model a good work ethic for our kids, among other things. But when people start flinging around terms like "conservative" and "liberal" these days, I suspect there are a lot of cultural connotations, as well as true meanings, that I am unaware of -- and so I hesitate to use such terms to describe myself, or anyone else.

Republicans don't have a lock on virtue any more than do the many self-proclaimed "Christians." Any one who lays claim to higher moral ground on such a lame basis deserves our scorn and derision. Let's judge these people on their professed views, their votes, and their actions -- the way they choose to live their lives -- and then decide for ourselves just how "righteous" they truly are.

definitely. just like I'm a Democrat and therefore I am caring and compassionate.

many in each group actually are, but it doesn't really have anything to do with the associated labels.

i'm annoyed at both official parties for various reasons and am registered independent as well even though i lean significantly conservative/libertarian.

That goes for the myth of 'I'm a Liberal and I'm not a racist' like those white hooded Conservatives. Case in point, the terrible insults hurled at Condi Rice, as Ambra mentioned a while back. (I just love your first name, Ambra) There are only two labels that mean anything to Christ, that is "saved" or "lost."

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City