Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Red Peg in a Blue Hole

I've already outed myself on Twitter. But just in case anyone missed it over the weekend:

I'm a conservative.

A bonafide Republican.

I campaigned for McCain.

I am putting it out here because part of the reason for starting this new blog was so that I could be more open, real and honest.

And, to be honest, I'm not really able to be that open about my political views in my real life. Of course, my friends know - but I work in social work, I live in Chicago - most disagree with me!

I clearly remember the first time that I became acutely aware of how differences in political opinions can affect relationships. I was sitting at the lunch table at my first social work job, it was the month before the 2004 Presidential Elections. The assistant director was talking about a conversation that she had the night before with her 12 year old daughter.

"Sarah asked me last night what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans..."

"I told her Democrats care about people - Republicans don't."

Somehow I had missed the memo that being a conservative meant that I didn't care about people. Someone had forgotten to warn me that in order to be a good social worker, I must become a liberal. Somewhere along the way, this Republican had slipped through the cracks and gotten her degree in social work.

It would not be the last time that everyone assumed that I was a liberal and said something ignorant and hurtful in my presence. But I can say its gotten a lot easier to hear and I don't take it too personally. Most people are quick to apologize when they find out that I am not a democrat. Then they use qualifying statements, "Republicans don't care about people... well, most republicans... you aren't like most conservatives Rachel!"

Um, okay... thanks?

*sigh*

I generally assume that I am the only conservative in a room when I am at work. It took me quite a while to be comfortable enough to reveal my political views at my last job. I have yet to tell anyone at my current job. My agency is heavily allied with the democratic party in Illinois - I get regular emails encouraging me to participate or act on an issue in order to further the liberal agenda in regards to the state budget. I find it annoying that only one side of the issue is being pushed - but not enough to risk losing my job.

And right now I have to hear all the excitement about the new Healthcare Bill being passed. And mostly, I just smile and nod... and quickly walk away. Not just because I don't agree with the bill - but because if I stick around long enough, the talk will often turn to putting down the GOP and the evil, hateful, racist conservatives that don't care about anyone.

It is not in my nature to shut up and walk away. And so I find myself jumping to defend the issue on a couple friends' Facebook pages, or venting to my mom, or just being irritable.

So, that's pretty much what this post boils down to...

I'm a Republican.

And I care about people.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Rach, I missed your birthday! Sounds like you had a great birthweek :)

    I just wanted to tell you that my best friend is a Republican and I'm a Democrat. We argue about everything! My husband doesn't "know", but he's a Republican too. And still we love each other. (((((((Hugs))))))))) I'm a Democrat and I heart some Republicans. Gotta love self-determination right?

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  2. I like to call myself Independent (and keep meaning to change my voting status) but I'm a registered Democrat. I'm very liberal in my views but I'm very OPEN to other's views, as well. One thing I learned throughout my Social Work education is that I was not as open to the conservative views as I once thought, so I've changed. My husband hails from a conservative Republican family, and unfortunately, I cannot talk to his parents about a lot of things because they aren't open to hearing my views. So, like you, I just sit there and nod. YOU, on the other hand, will listen and respect someone's views, even if you feel offended, etc. That is the social worker in you. You do care. :)

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  3. I am soooo glad I'm not the only one.

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  4. I am not enrolled in either party though in large part I do lean more toward a democratic agenda. (gay marriage is not a great topic for the republican platforms) However that said, I have voted Republican and actually in my state a republican just won Ted Kennedy's seat and there is much I like about him.

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  5. I don't think you have to feel guilty. I'm not thrilled with either party and think it's always a bad idea when everyone in a certain profession is assumed to have a certain political view. That just breeds complacency and lack of introspection, I think.

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  6. We don't discuss religion or politics when family comes over because I have completely different views (and we want to stay close-LOL).

    You and I are peas in a pod, sister! :o)

    Happy Belated Birthday, my friend!

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