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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Too long, after all, to post as a comment at Totten's blog

I left a comment at Michael Totten's blog, and later in the thread "David" asked why my husband and I are switching parties after being lifelong Democrats (70 voting years between the two of us). This is my attempt at a short answer.

9/11 and the bombing of a Passover seder in Netanya several months afterward made us wake up with a start and pay attention, and begin to take Muslim terrorism seriously (and personally). It was no longer theoretical or just an "issue" once we realized that our own and our children's lives and safety were at stake.

After years of being knee-jerk liberals who never considered or questioned, but just continued the line of politics we inherited at age 15, we started to investigate, study history and {gasp!} read differing opinions.

The first big shocker was the liberal bias of the media, the second was the inability of our families and friends to respond to change in the world with anything other than the old knee-jerk cliches, and the third has been the devastating revelation that the Left seems not have meant what it used to say. When push comes to shove, it doesn't live up to its supposed ideals. The ideals, the values, are just as theoretical as the "issues."

Liberal rhetoric became anathema to me. Seeing leftists supporting Palestinians as victims (even as they were blowing themselves up to murder innocent Jews), marching in parades wearing keffiyahs, "Free Palestine" signs in every antiwar protest, the re-emergence of swastikas, Nazi and Hitler references and images -- everywhere from campus antiwar protests to Al Gore's speeches . . . the whole thing has been absolutely appalling, and it's been a phenomenon on the Left, not the Right.

I am ashamed to admit that as a reactionary liberal, I "hated" eveything and everybody conservative - Newt Gingrich,Oliver North, Bill Bennett etc.- without ever really knowing what they were about, without ever once really listening to what they had to say. Over a period of a couple of years I became more comfortable with FoxNews than with the New York Times and NPR, both of which I had previously held in The Very Highest Regard. (I still read the Times, but read the Wall Street Journal as well.)

Conservatives simply make more sense to me these days. They seem generally less arrogant and punitive than my home base has become.

Too, we keep getting pushed to the Right by the Left (e.g. Legion's comment, "good riddance"). Democrats talk a good game about tolerance, but in practice their tolerance is quite arbitrary, extended only to those with whom they agree and those whom they see as victims. They seem far better able to tolerate Arab Muslims (who want to do away with Jews and the Jewish state, and Americans and the American state) than fundamentalist Christians. One person actually told me that he feared the Christian Right more than Arab Muslim terrorists. (C'mon, when was the last time American Baptists blew themselves up to murder innocent people?) That kind of thing just doesn't make any sense to me, and what's more, I find it so off base, so far out, that it's alarming.

The liberals I know say worse things about Pres. Bush and Zell Miller than I've ever heard them say about Osama bin Laden, or Arafat! I am sickened to hear Zell Miller described on this thread as "a complete waterhead hack" and "an utterly spent whore." I empathize with Miller's indignation and anger at his own party pulling the rug out from under him, betraying him and his values, abandoning him and his beliefs . . . like Doug Purdie said in the thread, "I feel it too."

I come from ("Mountaineers are always free") WVA, and a lot of the liberal criticism of Zell Miller - about how he looks and talks - is a class and culture thing, and I am repelled by the lack of respect for the unpretentious among us, the rural folk, the "retro."

For me, the left is too far left now, their rhetoric too hyperbolic and inflammatory.

Generally, my old liberal crowd seems misguided (Bush is the real terrorist?),

inconsistent (Kerry's anti-VN-war protests were noble, but Cheney's deferrments are somehow shameful?),

closed-minded (Dissent is patriotic; therefore only dissent is patriotic. except for Zell Miller's.)

arrogant (bumper sticker: "If you can read this, you're not the President"),

morally bankrupt (ANYONE but Bush?)...

Oh yeah, and spineless in their own defense. They would stand up for anyone, save their own. What kind of craziness is that?

In general, I find more authenticity, more courage of conviction and more just plain common sense in conservatives.

So I'm switching over.