A Letter to Conservatives

May 3, 2013

This is in response to, “A Letter to Liberals” by author Michael Charney. His blog can be found here: http://www.chasingglennbeck.com/homeblog/2013/5/2/a-letter-to-liberals.html#.UYRcmoIyHdU

Hello, Mr. Charney –

Let me take a moment of your time to introduce myself. I’m a West Coast transplant currently living in Oklahoma, in a smallish town about 30 miles east of Oklahoma City. I live in a single-family home with my boyfriend and two dogs. Being older than you, we have no children left in the nest. Our sons are married with sons of their own and are living on opposite coasts.

Our house is very simple. It’s a good 75 years old, perhaps older. The plaster interior walls can’t completely hide the round vents that give evidence to the fact that this house was once heated by woodstoves. It’s a small place, less than 700 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The plumbing gives us problems sometimes, but in the six years I’ve lived here the landlord has always been quick to repair any issues that arise. I believe so firmly in living within my means that the rent is always easy to pay – on time, every single month. My landlord deserves his money no less than I deserve what I work for. We have a small HDTV on which we stream movies via Roku and Netflix because I refuse to pay for cable television – just another example of making sure we always live within our means.

Do you hate me? No? Then I feel safe in asking you to continue reading.

Like you, I work in Human Resources. I’m the payroll manager for a minority-owned security company that boasts a sterling reputation among our industry peers, employees, and customers. I’m also the published author of short fiction and non-, one young adult novel, one novella, and more ghastly poetry than you can shake a stick at. Seriously. I’m the worst poet since Rod McKuen. (At least no one can blame me for “MacArthur Park”.) I’ve always worked, often more than one job at a time. Staying home to raise my son was never an option and I’m not sure I would have done so even if given the chance, but I certainly don’t revile women who choose a career as homemaker and mom. That’s the lovely thing about the little movement called “Women’s Liberation” that came out of the 70s. Women are free to pursue professional careers or raise children. Typically we do both.

Are you hating me yet?

We are a spiritual family. My boyfriend is a Vietnam-era veteran who still embraces much of his Southern Baptist upbringing. Although I was raised Lutheran, for almost 20 years I’ve practiced a little religious philosophy you may have heard of called “witchcraft”. Surprisingly to some, not surprisingly to others, my boyfriend and I have no problem reconciling our beliefs. You see, we both believe in cherishing the earth and loving every single creature that walks, crawls, flies, swims or slithers across its surface. (Well, maybe the b/f isn’t so fond of things that slither. That’s okay. His heebie-jeebies didn’t stop him from helping me safely remove the snake we found in our bathroom last year. That’s the grand thing about love: It overcomes the heebie-jeebies every time. I adore him for that.) I don’t need weekly sermons to remind me that the Creator expects me to obey a certain moral code because that code is simple: Love one another. Help one another. Be good to one another. If you listen closely, I think you’ll hear the words of the wise and wonderful man you call your savior, Jesus of Nazareth, in those rules.

The other week when a little girl crashed her bike in the street outside of my house, I ran over to her. I helped her to her feet, examined her boo-boos, and walked her home to her mother. Contrary to what some might believe about “my kind”, I did not whisk her off to become the weekly sacrifice at a local witches’ coven. Witches don’t practice human sacrifice, nor do we worship satan. In fact, we don’t even believe such an entity exists.

Are you hating me now? Silently or overtly?

I don’t recognize any church dogma which tells me how I should feel about gay marriage or abortion. Among a multitude of other blessings, the Creator gave me a wonderful combination of intelligence and compassion that allows me to come to my own conclusion about such things. When it comes to gay marriage, I don’t care who is marrying whom as long as only consenting adults are involved. Any loving couple (or sextet or octet, I don’t care) who choose to commit their lives to each other are welcome to do so as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I rarely give the matter any thought at all. When it comes to abortion, I have stronger opinions, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the asphalt, it’s not my place to make a decision for any other woman or to cast judgment on her for her choices no matter how far removed they might be from choices I’d make for myself.

How about now? Do you wish I didn’t exist?

To sum it all up, I’m a single mom and grandmother who lives her life with a quiet determination to abide by the Pagan Rede: Do no harm. And more than that, I try to do small, good things when I have the chance, although I confess that I don’t go out of my way looking for opportunities for demonstrating compassion. The opportunities seem to find me as often as necessary to remind me that we’re all in this together, and if we don’t start acting like it, we’re in big trouble as a country and as a species.

No, I don’t hate you Mr. Charney, and I never did. I hope the goodwill is mutual. The only complaint is that your “A Letter to Liberals” was admittedly not autobiographical, and I question why not. This piece, “A Letter to Conservatives” is entirely my story. My life is open to scrutiny and I can tell you right off the bat that anyone looking will find both good there and bad. I’ve done wrong, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and some of them were fairly egregious. I guess that’s what being human is all about.

I guess we’re not so different after all, are we?

7 Responses to “A Letter to Conservatives”

  1. Wonderful post, Deborah. I imagine, by the way, that there are some very right-wing people who would, in fact, hate you. I certainly don’t. As far as my own bio: it’s well documented throughout my website; the purpose for the fictional bio was to make certain points about how people let their emotional triggers over political issues take over when we should first recognize that we are all first human beings who, for the most part, want the same things but differ on how to get there.

    I’ve had hundreds of responses and, frankly, very few were as thoughtful and cogent as yours; the vast majority, in fact include either hateful language or–and this feels worse, actually–pitying language. Not many were like yours…. much to my chagrin.

    And, for the record: I live in New England; I’m in my mid-50s with two grown sons; my first wife (RIP) was wiccan; I graduated from UC Berkeley in 1980;, I, too, write and publish; and I’ve known both the edges of poverty and some very good years, too. And I’m a moderate Republican.


    • Thank you, Michael! Thank you so much for your kind words and your quick response. It is my deeply held belief that intelligence and compassion will overcome all differences, and I hope the wonderful discourse between the two of us sets some kind of example.

      • You’re very welcome; I look forward to reading more of your blog now that I’ve found it! FYI: I link back here from my blog today.


  2. Mickey Mills Says:

    Sweetheart, I love our multi-political/dog-loving/earth-saving/flag-waving home on the prairie. I’ll lay my heebie-jeebies aside every time there’s some rescuing to be done. I’ll even handle wayward snakes in the name of love. ❤

    I truly marvel at this response to Mr. Charney. Being a shade right of center I can reach out and touch both points of view. In all honesty I want to believe where I stand politically is so far down my priority list. Occasionally that's not always the case. I'm working on it.

    It is encouraging to see this kind of civil discussion about life's viewpoints and core beliefs. It gives me hope.

    The one thing I am absolutely convinced of is this. Our grandchildren's future is at stake and if we as a country don't put away our petty differences and work towards a common solution I'm afraid that future is uncertain.

    I'm reminded of the speech given on the Gettysburg Battlefield by Herman Boone, the inspirational head coach of the 1971 T.C. Williams High School football team in Virginia. The circumstances inspired the 2000 movie "Remember the Titans."

    As the first black football coach of a traditionally white school, Coach Boone fought racism and separatism from the moment he stepped onto the T.C. Williams football field.

    In the process of trying to bring his team, white and black, together, they went to a football camp in Pennsylvania.

    On a morning run through the killing fields of Gettysburg he stopped the team and said the following:

    "This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men."

    Now maybe that was all Hollywood bullshit and it didn't go down like that, but I do love the message. We don't have to like each other but we must respect each other. It's the lack of respect that will be our downfall.

    I think about this whole, right vs. left, republican vs. liberal, us vs. them, mentality that permeates our society right now and it makes me sad for the possibilities we are missing because of it.

    I look at the comments on Mr. Charney's blog and in general see a distinct absence of respect. We can't seem to acknowledge our differences with an acceptable discourse and seek the common ground in search of a solution.

    At the end of the day it doesn't matter which side of the spectrum our political views lie. It may very well be the least important factor of our lives. We are judged by how we treat each other and how we live together.

    Collectively we have so much potential and to see it squandered away on petty political playground scuffles is troublesome at best – fatal at worst.

    I love my life with my favorite liberal. Thanks Debi! 🙂

    • You take my breath away, you flaming conservative. I love you with all of my heart, and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? If we can’t love and respect each other, we can’t do a damned thing right. I adore you, now and always.

  3. Deborah, I to live by a principle of live and let live. I have found it to keep the tensions between people when used. The more I have debated and researched into different topics of life, that simple principle comes to be the solution for all sides, or at least a majority of people.

    Having read through your entire life posting, I come away with someone who is actually more of a libertarian conservationist. Michael’s letter to liberals was really a test to see how people respond and what level of conversation they will engage in. I have done so in other article responses, and was even able to predict what responses I would get (which I did).

    I also agree with MIckey, that generally the responses Michael got were of no respect. I know that conservatives don’t fear liberals, unless they are in a position of power. They understand that it’s this disrespect that leads liberals to disregard the rights and freedoms all of us cherish, taking them away in the name of fairness and security. History teaches us that lesson well, when looking back over just the last 100 years.

    You are a very deep thinker, which allows you to sit back and respond analytically to others with a differing world view. If the world was filled with more like you, we wouldn’t have the problems we do today.

  4. janetc20 Says:

    You rock, sister! And you’re (almost) always so coherent. I’m impressed.

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