Equally Treated : Equally Criticized

Criticism: Everyone gives it, everyone gets it! This has been known to all who have ever had an opinion about anything! Even more benign topics than politics or morality, such as pineapple on pizza, is it gross or tasty? Chocolate or vanilla? Dog lover or cat lover? The list goes on and on in our everyday lives we don’t even think of, nor truly care about if someone happens to have a different idea of what they like. Of course though, when the stakes are a little higher than “what’s for lunch?” disagreements get more heated! From gay rights, to religion, to racial issues, gender issues, foreign policy, etc…etc… issues that will affect countless people other than yourself, disputes on how to handle them provoke far more conflict.

Issues that both sides of the aisle can agree needed change, such as blatant racism, segregation, the oppression of women, intolerance for different lifestyles, religions, etc… that led to violence, threats and out and out bigotry, have been addressed and still are. I think we can all agree it was a good thing to stop segregation, lynch mobs, slavery etc… or stop treating wives and children as property, or letting women reap the rights and duties as citizens of this country too. Or to be more open minded to a changing society and learning about those who are different from ourselves. We’ve come along way from a century ago and many things I’ll admit I’m glad we can leave behind in the history books.

However, there comes a new issue with this newfound freedom many groups now enjoy alongside us: The pendulum swinging too far the other way! See, I don’t mean that in the sense they are too equal and should be put back in a state of disadvantage and inequality again, but in their right and just equality with the traditional “majority”, they feel in order to be our equal, they must become our superior! How is this?

Well, take the issue of criticism. It is true many minority groups feel that if a member of the majority group criticizes any aspect about them, this must mean that the criticizer wants to revoke their equality in this country and set them back a century! Now, in a way, I can get an understanding of why some may feel this way. If you genuinely feel that the group who gave you your equality is bitter and resentful and wants any excuse to find a way to revoke it, then yeah, I can understand that. Or if historically, that group had a voice and you didn’t, you might feel that when today, your former “oppressors” speak up and critique something, it can bring flash backs of that earlier time where you didn’t have a voice to respond.

Trouble is of course, just because you feel a certain way, doesn’t make it true! Just because something “feels” like past oppression, doesn’t mean it is. For one example, a brutally honest critique of a minority group doesn’t always mean that the person making the criticism does it out of hatred or bigotry for that race. It may sound very harsh and uncharitable to hear, but that person may have a valid point. If one says that for example, the Black community is disproportionately affected by crime and has a 75% illegitimacy rate, and this should change to build better communities and families, unless these assertions came out of thin air and are false, it is a valid criticism that needs to be addressed. Just because, say, the person noting this was White, doesn’t mean they say this out of ill will, bigotry and hatred for the black community, anymore than when fellow Black leaders such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell say it. No more “racist” than when someone in the Black community wishes to offer a criticism of White people and ask them to address something that they feel needs fixing, such as racial bias…

Or look at Native Americans. Reservations often have similar issues with crime and gangs. Child abuse and alcoholism are rife. So is poverty, and no, it’s not solely “the white man’s fault!”. Does bringing this up beyond blaming white people mean that person hates Indians? Not necessarily! You don’t need to be Native American to see the devastation alcoholism and poverty had affected many of their communities! Perhaps maybe, just maybe, the outsider who raised the issue genuinely wants to help and to do so, must bring it out into the open?

Every society has things that are good, and things that need to be looked at with a critical eye and addressed. Hiding one’s need for change behind labels such as “racist” and making excuses that only your group can ever critique your society when the issues at hand are plain for all to see, lets a blind eye be turned to pressing issues as of course no one likes being criticized and told they need change! If the only people who can criticize you are you, then how honest will you really be with yourself??? Outside 3rd parties help eliminate some internal bias or even just shortsightedness for things an insider may take for granted. An obvious fabrication and lie told about a group is not the same as a proven fact that happens to be unflattering being called out in the open by others. A criticism is not the same as slander!

A slightly different circumstance but related to the idea of being immune from any outside criticism is happening to the gay community. It’s now the law of the land gays have the same civil rights, including a legal marriage here in the United States. In fact, being gay is becoming more and more accepted and less stigmatized. I know plenty of gay people, who are just like you and me, have jobs, go to school, like the same things, and are probably among your friends, classmates, coworkers, your favorite celebrity, etc…  From even a few decades ago, the LGBT community has made immense strides in being socially accepted and are being represented exponentially in the media and in society.

However, this apparently is not enough. Despite all the acceptance as well as gaining the clear legal right they wanted to see happen nationwide, they now demand that no one can ever criticize or disagree with their lifestyle. Look, some people have religious objections to the gay lifestyle. Some find it distasteful in their personal opinion. There is still opposition to gay marriage. And yes, instances of threats and violence and bullying have affected the gay community. Thing is though, there is a vast difference between those who do actual violence and threats towards gay people, and those who in their private opinion, don’t embrace the idea of being gay for religious reasons or otherwise. Many of these people would never threaten a gay family, or do violence against them. Those that do are a very small minority who we can all agree are in the wrong regardless of their opinions!

No one is entitled to force people to like and embrace your choices in life. You have the right under federal law to be gay and to be free from threats and violence as much as any other citizen in this country. What you don’t have the right to however, is to make everyone embrace your choices or else be labeled a “bigot!” and demonized. I personally don’t mind gay people and nor does my family who would love me just as much if I were gay myself. What I do mind though, is the idea that any valid criticism of the gay community, or someone’s personal distaste for the gay lifestyle must be stamped out and compelled to agree with it in the name of “acceptance”. No, not everyone has to “accept” your choices in their personal opinions!

Still don’t understand? Take my own personal example. I’m an atheist, and a “minority” within the conservative community. Some of my fellow religious conservative peers say things about atheism and non-believers I can find too harsh and un-nuanced, such as the idea that my non-belief means I don’t have any real moral code based in anything real. Or that my life is unfulfilled and I must be angry and bitter. Now, I will argue against these assertions about my non-belief, but I will never demand religious people stop criticizing atheists to spare my “delicate feelings”! They have just as much right to their own opinion and criticisms about my lifestyle choice to be an atheist as a fellow atheist. Many religious people may find atheism distasteful, and that’s okay. The beauty of this country is we can all have our own opinions! Now, it crosses a line if they were to threaten me or openly discriminate against me, but again, criticism alone does NOT equal discrimination! I can be a non-believer in this country just as you can be gay, and we both have the legal right to be what we are. What more should we demand??? Anything beyond that to me smacks of entitlement!

To sum all this up in general for everyone, no one is immune from criticism, nor is entitled to be! As a conservative as well, don’t I and many of my fellow patriots know it! 😉 We don’t demand the Left never criticize us. Just don’t threaten us and our families, bar us from jobs, and ostracize us from society. Nor do we seek to stifle the voices of minorities, women, gays, etc… as in the past. We just want to still let our voices be heard alongside yours now. We do want equality for all in this country. But equality means we all can be equally criticized as well as equally heard! And don’t forget of course, of you want to be free from criticism, then don’t feel entitled to hurl it at others, like straight, white cisgendered males for instance! 🙂

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My #WalkAway Story Series: Verna

My #WalkAway Story Series is a bigger and more long term project for A Lady of Reason, and it’s all about YOU! This is your big chance at getting your voice heard and your own story out there! For many closeted conservatives, afraid for our livelihood, social networks, family connections, even physical safety now, being stuck in the closet can be extremely isolating and it’s easy to feel like it’s you against the world sometimes! I certainly feel that way! By sharing our stories collectively, I hope to give a voice to you, my dear readers and followers here on WordPress and Social Media, to show each other camaraderie and that in fact, we’re NOT alone, just in the shadows. Well folks, it’s time to come out of the shadows and into the light! The “silent majority” is at least half of our nation, so you’re not truly alone. Come and hear others, and add your own voice, your own story to the mix, of what it’s like being a conservative in an increasingly Leftist country! Send me an e-mail at aladyofreason@outlook.com or direct message me at @aladyofreason1 on Twitter to add YOUR story!!! 🙂 I’ll send you the standard question list, or you can just write it free form as a narrative…

Tell me about yourself briefly:

I am 52 and married. I am disabled and worked in the insurance industry as an accountant. My husband is a Army vet, who is also disabled. I grew up military, my father was career Army until his forced “disabled retirement” I had 1 sibling who committed suicide at a young age, Drugs got him☹ My mother was 100% Aztec Indian, her mother legally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Mexico City to be exact. My grandfather was White and worked in the Railroads until his retirement. My father was white, and from Kansas city Missouri. None of my grandparents on either side are living and both of my parents have passed, both at the age of 59 😦 . I love my Cats and am your typical “cat lady” I love to crochet, draw, make crafts of all kinds. I love reading and puzzles. I love all animals but I am just partial to cats. I have no other type of animals. I live in rural Texas, east Texas. I do have 2 step daughters that we hardly ever hear from.

When did you become conservative? If you were ever liberal, what made you walk away?

I have always been conservative, but voted Democrat 1 time in the 80’s by mistake. I thought I was voting Republican and didn’t realize I had voted democrat until it was to late 🙂 I think I was brought up conservative, but wasn’t forced to think that way. I don’t even think my parents voted. I loved politics since high school.

Do you feel at all afraid to be openly conservative? If so, how do you cope with being closeted?

I don’t feel I have to hide that I am conservative because of where I live, but we don’t bring attention to ourselves, because some people have homes, cars etc. vandalized

What advice to you have for other conservatives afraid to speak out?

Advice I have for others is to be “true to one’s self” don’t fear who you are… 🙂

Thanks so much Verna! It was great to hear your story, and as always, you’re welcome to write for my blog anytime! We need voices like yours to speak out so the silent majority is no longer silent 😉

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You’re Not Alone: Guest Post by The Re-Farmer

The Re-Farmer is a loyal ally and follower of mine who gave me the honor of writing in her advice for my new “You’re Not Alone” page, where conservatives write a piece of advice to help out their fellow allies! She however, wrote enough deserving its own guest post and is the perfect way for me to proudly present my new page of “You’re Not Alone” words of wisdom and encouragement by many of my loyal followers and fellow conservative allies! Thank you so so much Re-Farmer! 🙂

I’ve enjoyed following Lady of Reason’s blog for a while, now, and have really enjoyed all her posts. It’s so great to encounter this level of intellectual discourse and sober thought – something that is increasingly rare, I’m afraid. So it was quite an honour to be asked if I could give some words of encouragement to closeted conservatives. I know that my own experiences are quite different than others – I’m Canadian, for starters, and grew up on a farm two sticks ahead of the stone ages – but I hope that what I’ve learned in my own life can be helpful to others.

I’m not really a closeted conservative, and have been fortunate enough live in areas where being a conservative was pretty normal. My own views used to be far more to the “left” than they are now, which is odd, considering my own experiences and those of my family should have made the flaws of those views obvious. I guess the words attributed to Churchill are true; if you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain. Plus, I was definitely a product of the school system, even though it wasn’t particularly liberal back then – at least not compared to now.

We have had so much happen to us, especially within the last 5-6 years, that something like a lefty getting upset over my conservative views can’t bother me anymore. They just aren’t at the same level of what we’ve already lived through, and I’ve reached a point in my life where I can no longer be threatened or intimidated into submission. Age has its benefits! In the process, I discovered that the people who are the most threatening and bully-ish in their behaviour are often the most cowardly. They expect you to be cowed into submission, and when you’re not, they can’t handle it. However, instead of backing down, I have found that more and more, they instead become more devious and try to bring you down through whatever system is available to them. It could be the law, or it could be company rules and regulations, or even housing bylaws.

Here are some of the things I’ve found to be the most useful in defending myself.

First and foremost, truth, accuracy, transparency and honesty. This is the strongest foundation to stand on.

Second, constantly educate yourself in what you need to defend and protect yourself. What that is depends on your situation. In my case, for several years, the thing that protected me most was a set of bylaws for where we lived. I learned to love those bylaws! Study relevant laws, company policies – even the dictionary! – etc. They will be used against you, so know what they really say! More than that, use this self-education to know what you are and why you are that thing. If you are a conservative, what does that mean? Why did you become one? Leftists will rewrite definitions to suit their needs (as well as laws, regulations, etc.) and project motivations onto you. Do not let them define what you are. Oh, and make sure to learn Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They WILL be used against you.

Third, document everything. Have your phone ready to record things. Have witnesses. Be in public. Take photos and video. Have a dashboard cam. Keep emails. Take screen captures. Journal. As much as possible, make sure the time and date is included. Just as leftists will make up their own definitions, they will make up their own reality. You will be accused of all sorts of things, and having that documentation to prove the truth and defend yourself becomes essential. I started documenting things because we lived so far from family, and I wanted to share our new life with them. That habit ended up saving our butts more than a few times.

And finally, be prepared to defend yourself physically, too. It’s a sad reality, but that is increasingly the world we live in. Take self defense classes, if you can. See what options there are in your area. Maintain situational awareness. Even reading helps; I recommend The Gift of Fear, by Gavin DeBecker, which will help assess real dangers from artificial ones.

I struggle with the idea of people having to hide that they are conservatives. You are not alone! I understand the why of it, and when your career or safety is on the line, I get it. I really do. Sometimes, saying and doing nothing is the best choice. However, in my experience, saying something or standing up against something, as painful as it may be, is the only thing that will stop the problem. Not saying or doing anything serves to validate and strengthen the behaviour, and it will just keep getting worse. I think this is part of why leftism is such a big threat to our society right now. So few have stood up to challenge them for so long, it allowed them to gain power over our lives in a way that is now becoming dangerous. Conservatives tend to have a live-and-let-live attitude, and that has been taken advantage of by leftists. That can only stop if conservatives challenge them. In that, the internet can be a beautiful thing, because it does allow conservatives to stand up to the leftists – shine a light on the harm the are doing, yet still be able to protect themselves and their loved ones through anonymity.

When it comes down to it, we are at war right now. Not so much a physical war, but most definitely a psychological war. A war over to control our very thoughts and feelings. The leftists have significant control over our culture, our media, our legal systems, our education systems, and our work environment. This is a concept Christians should understand well, as we are taught, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places .” (ASV, Ephesians 6:12) As conservatives, sometimes our greatest enemy is our own apathy. We all have our strengths. As much as possible, we need to use them to fight back. If you can write, get your words out there; send letters to editors, politicians, start a blog, write a book, a script, poetry (a young Karol Wojtyla was an underground actor and poet before he became Pope John Paul II and helped bring down communism). Anonymity can be a significant shield, but if you are in a position to act openly, do it! If you can speak, speak boldly. If you are a sword, learn to cut. If you are a shield, shield those who are being targeted.

Leftists have weaponized social media, the arts, education, and even art and entertainment. These are, however, just tools, and tools can be used for good as well as evil. Conservatives can use the same tools. It isn’t easy, to be sure, but there is one thing to remember. You are NOT alone.

Thanks Re-Farmer for your amazing words! You are absolutely right that we must speak for those who cannot, and the silent majority must no longer be silent! I’m deeply honored you chose to write for me, and appreciate your loyal support of my blog, and as a fellow patriot 🙂

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