Red Eye For The Straight Guy (or, I just figured out why I’m a conservative!)
Now I'm playing it real straight,
and yes I cut my hair
You might think I'm crazy,
but I don't even care
Because I can tell what's going on
It's hip to be square. -- Huey Lewis, 1986
If you look at the blue vs red map from the last presidential election, and it's broken down by precinct or whatever, you'll see in Ohio, that while all the rural areas are red (Republican), all the urban areas are blue (Democrat) -- with one big red exception, and that's Cincinnati (ironically, the home of what was once "The Big Red Machine"). Being from that part of the state, maybe that's why I see the world the way I do.
I found a kindred spirt recently. There's a quirky talk show on Fox News Channel called "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld." A recent edition of The New York Observer provides a glimpse into the mind of Gutfeld, a man of irreverent and unbridled common-sense, and who really knows how to party.
In other words, a man after my own heart:
While Mr Gutfeld tries to keep the show from idling too long on partisan territory ("They get that 23 hours a day"), his own politics are fairly at home on Fox. He dismisses liberalism as "romantic notions that are false, based on the idea of making yourself look good to other people. That's why most men—Bill Clinton is a good example—are liberal, because they need to get l***. If you look at most left-wing guys, they've made a deal with the devil. They don't really believe that s***-they're going against their own innate nature, because liberalism is anti-man. If you believe that peace and love work, you're not a man, because this world works on war. The only people who respect you are people who are scared of you—and that's why Reagan was a great President. And the idea that you can negotiate with people who want you dead is a complete lie. That's why the left is the most self-absorbed, vanity-driven enterprise. These are people who would rather feel good about themselves at a cocktail party that actually protect people's lives. If you're at a party and you say, 'The war on terror is the most important thing in the world'—you won't get a nod. But if you say, 'Global warming is the biggest threat,' you will get l***."
There was a time when I might have said, well, I'm a conservative because my dad was, and it just sorta stuck. But it's much more than that. And the very notion of what it is to be conservative is burdened with caricatures that bear little resemblance to its true meaning. You see, everybody wants to hang with the cool kids, and the minute they find out you're a conservative, they don't care about the why or wherefore, they fall on their unproven caricatures to make assumptions about you, and before you know it, you can't sit at the cool kids' table anymore.
I'm not a conservative on most political and social issues because I identify with white-bread-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant, golf-club-swinging, power-brokering, banker-lawyer-types. No, not by a long shot. I'm a conservative because I realize the world is the way it is for a reason, and you have to know the reason and deal with it on those terms if you are to prevail. To give you an example "ripped from the headlines," as they say, it would be nice if the leaders of certain Islamic nations and/or movements could sit down with us and we throw them a bone by staying out of their business and that would be the end of it. The problem is, it wouldn't be the end of it. They don't want our friendship; they want our conversion to Islam, or they want us dead. That's what they bring to the table; convert or die. And whatever the more moderate practitioners of Islam may tell you in all sincerity, they're not the ones calling the shots on this deal, and the ones who do, have been very clear on what they want, and what they would do to get it.
You can't reason with people like that. You have to do one of two things. One is to beat them into total submission. Like any schoolyard bully, they won't like it, but they will respect you for it, because it's the only language they understand. The other is to give up your Wilsonian fantasies of empire, and draw a line in the sand that these barbarians would only cross at their peril. (We call such a line "secure borders.") Short of that, hunkering down for long engagements in their home territory is just what they can use to wear us down. They want us to endure discontent at home, with protesters in the streets. This demoralizes the troops, and they all go home making the USA look stupid. Just like Vietnam. They read history books too, you know. They still get their briefs in a knot over something that happened over five centuries ago, as if the Battle of Lepanto happened yesterday. They could be home chasing their many wives, playing with the kiddies, or having an outdoor barbeque (with anything but pork). But oh, no, they're strapping bombs to their kiddies, so the kiddies can go to heaven.
Catholics do the same thing with the Brown Scapular, by the way. It's a lot safer. And not nearly as retarded.
Jane Fonda apparently doesn't read history books, especially where her own name is mentioned, so she didn't learn anything from Vietnam. Otherwise she'd be keeping her damn mouth shut for a change. George Bush didn't learn from it either, or he wouldn't be acting like old "blood and guts" with some other family's kids' blood and guts, while his kids stay home and commute between the Peace Corps and the party circuit. Not a bad life, really. But why do everybody else's kids have to pay for it?
Programs to fight poverty didn't work then, and don't now. I'd like to be compassionate to the poor, I want to see a natural distribution of wealth. I abhor the disparity between haves and have-nots, the greed of corporations that get government subsidies and send American jobs overseas, only to award their big guys with fat-ass year-end bonuses. But giving the poor handouts for life doesn't stop making them poor; it makes them never have to be rich. You've got two, even three generations of families who have been on the dole their whole lives. It's no longer an emergency measure; it's now a bad habit.
Forced busing didn't work. Shuffling white kids to a part of town where mostly blacks lived got the crap beat out of them, and that's about it. (At my Catholic high school in a well-manicured neighborhood on the edge of Cincinnati, the biggest bad-ass types were white guys who went to Catholic school because the nearest public school was nearly all black, and they couldn't very well be the bad-ass there, now, could they?) Shuffling black kids to white schools drew attention to them, and people had to be nice out of guilt, as if people can't discern insincerity. Then they all grow up and are still pissed off at one another. No one knows why. Young black guys envy rap artists who parade in videos wearing oversized jewelry, driving luxurious cars, surrounded by beautiful women, while still being angry about "bitches and ho's" or something or other, I can't tell.
Liberals love to talk about our dwindling resources, global warming and world peace. (Thirty years ago, they were complaining about the coming Ice Age. We appear to have averted that minor crisis somehow.) Their heralds of the message fly around in Gulfstream jets and live in houses with seven bedrooms and seven-car garages -- presumedly one of each for every day of the week. Then you've got liberals in Arlington County, Virgina, who have a Board of Supervisors composed entirely of Democrats, drive big-ass SUVs to go to the Whole Foods Market six blocks away for eggs from organically-grown free-range chickens, pay double the property taxes of five years ago, and tear down affordable housing for yet another luxury condo project. In yet another five years, there will be no place for their maids to live. In ten years, there'll be no place for their policemen or firefighters to live. But they'll all be living in North Carolina by then, where their retirement income isn't taxed, so why should they care?
To be a liberal is more than just to dream, but to live in a dream world, where your heroes are Hollywood celebrities with no discernible job skills, and who can't behave with any semblance of class on television, no matter how well they dress. To be a conservative is to hope for a better world, but also to understand that it won't get better with pop songs about everybody holding hands, pithy slogans, empty promises, ignoring the obvious, or by throwing someone else's money at the problem.
It'll get better when you roll up your own sleeves and take care of your damn self, and occasionally lend a hand to your neighbor without a government program showing you how. If everybody living on your block does that, it's one less neighborhood to worry about.
"You may disagree with me, but you can’t stop watching..."