I know my blog is not supposed to be about politics, but this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My girlfriend lives in Northern Virginia (the most liberal part of Virginia) and was raised in a very liberal family. I on the other hand live in a very conservative part of Virginia, and while my mother claims to be liberal, I was raised mildly conservative.
We went to church every Sunday, ate (and still eat) a relatively narrow range of foods, and belonged to the local country club. I know these might sound like stupid examples, but they all contributed to a general air of conservatism. Now that my sister and I have grown up, our family is very dysfunctional. Nobody trusts one another, food is a weapon, and everyone is always monitoring everyone else’s business. It’s a very restrictive and hostile environment.
My girlfriend on the other hand lives with a wonderful open and trusting family. Nobody is spying on anyone in her house, there is no sneaking around, and they eat a much wider variety of extremely tasty food. I just love going up to visit her because I feel like I can breath and relax up there. Back at my house, I’m always looking over my shoulder and having to deal with probing questions.
Now this could just be a symptom of our two different families, mine being dysfunctional, but it’s led me to think about the different atmospheres between liberalism and conservatism.
To me, social conservatism seems all about restricting people. You MUST act this way, you must dress within these limits. Exotic, alien foods are un-American and bad. I feel like it’s all a bunch of narrowly defined views that must be abided, or else you face punishment. It’s suffocating really.
Liberalism on the other hand seems to be just the opposite. So much so that I understand how it can make a conservative uneasy. I know I was when I slowly started to make the transition from born-again christian conservative to liberal Atheist. This new and unknown world scared me. I was distrustful of the friendly and accepting atmosphere. Surely these people must be secret evil pedophiles or something. I guess the whole socially liberal thing revolves around the “live and let live” concept. You don’t get on me about the way I live and I won’t get on you.
I just makes me wonder why nobody recognizes the oppressive nature of the “my way or the highway” concept in social conservatism. Perhaps the only people who notice it are those who are being oppressed by it.