A sense of accomplishment is in the air. Today is the first anniversary of ALS. Wow an entire year. What brought me, lil ol’ Afrocity to create this blog in the first place? In short, after not quite fitting in at The Confluence and not quite fitting in at Little Green Footballs (which turned out to be a liberal blog disguised as a center right blog or some strange experiment in blogger as evil puppet master), I decided to get my own diggs.
Shedding a political spouse, in my case the Democratic Party, required some solitude and space to explore my values. What do I really want for my country? What causes are worth fighting for? I had to ask myself these things because for so long I played in the liberal sandbox watching my pals kick down castles of military defense, christian values, parental rights and all sorts of things that really mattered to me. Externally, I muttered yeah “fuck the military!”, “burn that flag” , “sure the government owes blacks” but internally, especially as I aged, I winced at mostly everything liberals stood for with the exception of women’s rights. Compassion and equal opportunity for all is something I can agree with. I had it in me to be a good liberal, however I also had it in me to be a better conservative.
There is a difference between being a compassionate person and an enabler. Liberals have a tendency to dramatize the human condition, particularly that of minorities and any one they see as down-trodden. When you just spend, spend, spend money- tax dollars- on “compassionate programs” , you have to take a step back in order to see if those programs are really helping anyone or are they enabling a persistent problem to turn into a generational saga. Let’s take welfare programs for example and you know how I feel about those.
One of the reasons I am against government assistance is because I grew up on it. And yes, it fed me, kept me adequately healthy, but did it advance me or my mother? No. Did it pay for my prom dress? No. Prom was a big deal to a 17 year old girl. How would the $250 government check pay for my prom gown, my hair appointment, my #352 pink dyed shoes to match my dress and my jewelry? The answer was, it would not. Mother went looking for dresses at the Salvation Army store, meanwhile Afrocity began looking for a job. This image of one of us actually working was a bit much for my mother to handle, “you know they will cut us off, ” she warned.
I did not care, I had a date with a Victor Costa gown at Nieman Marcus. School by day, working until 1am as a hostess at a Mexican restaurant was tough. In retrospect, it was dangerous to take the bus home so late at night. My school work was neglected B’s morphed into C’s. One night I was so tired, I fell asleep with the curling iron still rolled in my hair. When you are young, you can put up with a lot and my first paycheck made all of the trouble worth it. My first paycheck- that I earned for my work. Money not for nothing but for something I did besides being black and poor. I came to a particular understanding that my mother had yet to achieve. Welfare may let you survive but it doesn’t let you live. Maybe I got the job out of necessity. I had a need that a welfare check could not fulfill. I had a dream about a dress but what about my life beyond the dress? What happens when welfare will not pay for your dreams?
Republican candidates would appear on television, right away before they could speak several words, my mother would shout, “They are only for the rich people, they want to cut welfare and programs in order to hurt blacks.” Funny how our lives did not improve much under Jimmy Carter. Funny how mother’s life did not improve much under Bill Clinton, until she was forced to get a job because the conservative state of Texas would not let her draw a government check just for being her wonderful self.
In working, she began to buy nice things, take me to lunch, actually act and behave as mother. When she lost the job, she lost her sense of self again. Being 65, by that time, the government was there waiting for her to pick up the pieces. Back she went to waiting for their check. When she died, she had not more than $345 in her bank account. I reported her deceased and the government took back $325 and left her with $20. Why was I angry? True, it was Uncle Sam’s money to give to her and she was dead. However, could he not at least left her with some dignity and money to be buried with? He left her with what she came to him with…Nothing. Nothing at all but her life and the clothes on her back.
The reason I created this blog was to chronicle the thoughts and feelings of a reformed liberal. To some degree I am still evolving. One of the problems some of my critics have with me is my ability to be so compassionate and pathetic, yet turn into a brutal critic of the Obama administration. A lot of people, especially those of color call me a self-loathing Auntie Tom who has sold out. They think I am really a liberal and delusional on some level about my move towards conservatism. I have struggled this year with the enormity of my exodus from Donkeyville. People especially, PUMA’s have posted and gone. Once friends are now distant acquaintances in the political blogosphere.
Am I happier now having left the Democrats? Oh definitely yes. That party is unrecognizable to me. This country and the direction it is moving in is unrecognizable to me.
Am I a well rounded conservative? Oh definitely, no. I remain pro-choice. There are many things to admire about the pro-life movement but a woman’s choice is a woman’s choice and she should always have the freedom to make that choice.
As this blog continues, I am always hoping to attract people who are willing to hear and understand both sides of an issue.
Before you can help people, you have to first listen to them. This simple practice is something that is severely lacking in the Obama administration and among many compassionate liberals.
Give people what they need, not what you think they need. Give people the ability to help themselves, not a lifetime sentence to be helped by you. You cannot wave a magic wand and expect to end world hunger, wars, pain, sickness, global warming and paper cuts using other people’s money. Your reward will be debt, depression and a lowered moral among those who actually do contribute to society.
You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Autographed Letter Signed on this our 1 year anniversary,