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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: The young liberal who learned how to think like a conservative Republican

Published: February 6, 2009
Section: Opinions

As you may have noticed, dear reader, my column did not appear in last week’s issue of The Hoot. This was due to the immense amount of articles that discussed the budget crisis and the closure of the Rose Art Museum. This issue, I would like to take some time off from “controversy” and convey the reasons why I now hold very Conservative political beliefs. Many people have asked me if I really believe the views I have expressed around campus, as numerous individuals think them to be too outlandish to be real. Others have asked me why I am a Conservative and desire to understand the path I took to arrive at my present ideological position. I hope to narrate this story in my column this week and perhaps take some pressure off myself that has built up over my most recent articles.

It may surprise many of you when I say that I was not always Conservative. In fact, I considered myself quite Liberal growing up, and did a number of things to express my leftist political sentiments. I supported Ralph Nader in the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, and even read a few of his books. I also served on my town’s environmental commission and even tried to start a club called “Future Democratic Leaders of America” at my high school. I remember submitting an abrasive article about the human rights violations of the United States government to a contest commemorating the anniversary of 9/11. Yet, all of this was to change.

I remember after 9/11 people expressed such strong sentiments of patriotism. I truly enjoyed this emotion and reveled in it. The Vice-Principle of my high school, Mr. Diverio, particularly nurtured this attitude throughout my school. Each day, before the morning announcements, he would read patriotic quotes, and it really made me proud to be an American. I don’t want to say that Liberals are not patriotic, but Conservatives perhaps display their affection more openly for our country, and Mr. Diverio’s efforts have had an effect on me. I now have a 6X4 foot flag in my room, display a copy of the Gettysburg Address, and have never been afraid of my patriotic sentiments.

Another person who also had an impact on me was a wonderful educator named Mr. Flaim. Though I never had this individual as a teacher, every study hall, I would engage myself in heated political talks with him. This man was fiercely patriotic and donated his time and energy to support the efforts of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. More importantly, Mr. Flaim had Conservative leanings and was extremely articulate about expressing his views. Each time I met with him he had me read brief articles from such sources as the National Review and discussed them with me. I lost nearly every debate we had and Mr. Flaim truly exposed me to the imbecilic nature of much leftist philosophy. Of all the influences in my life, this was the one that pushed me the most to the right, and for this I am deeply indebted to Mr. Flaim.

Another thing that made me side with Conservativism was the Terry Schavio incident. I had a family member who was in a similar condition and truly sided with Conservatives in wanting to keep Schavio alive. This was the first issue that firmly planted me in the “right” of things, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Furthermore, not to depress you with any personal anecdotes, but believe me when I say that since high school I have been almost completely independent economically. Suffice it to say that I work for everything I currently own, from my health insurance to the refrigerator I bought at Target for 56 bucks last summer. This has made me learn the value of working hard and buying things with your own money. Once you are in a similar situation, trust me, you don’t want the government or anyone else taking that money away from you.

In addition, members of my family and people I know have been or are currently on entitlement programs. From my experience, these initiatives are wrong and turn a safety net into a hammock. I don’t want to be shamed by accepting any undeserved money, and these programs are inefficient indeed. All told, my senior year of high school was one of the most defining times of my life, but even with these experiences I still proclaimed myself as a “moderate” when I entered Brandeis in the Fall of 2005.

At Brandeis I interacted with the college Republicans, a group of the articulate and dedicated students. That year we were particularly active, but one incident really turned me to Conservatism. In October 2005 our club did some flyering around campus. We got verbally assaulted pretty much everywhere we went by people throwing around epithets while we used logic. Furthermore one floor (Reitman 1) took down all of our flyers from their hall and slipped them under my door with the note “we don’t want these.” Our advertisements were informational in purpose and it was ludicrous to me that these “Liberals” would not be open to a free marketplace of ideas. What brainwashed idiots, what intolerant dolts. From that point forward I listed myself as “Conservative” or “Very Conservative” on Facebook and never turned back.

Two more influences have truly solidified my current political mindset. One stems from my experiences with AmeriCorps. Surrounded by such unimaginable sadness but uplifted by the work of private charities, I know that the government should not intervene to give the poor a ticket to sloth and laziness. Furthermore, my exposure to the writings of Ayn Rand have made me see the virtue of rational self-interest and have solidified my adherence to some elements of Conservative ideology.

I believe in individual responsibility, I believe in someone’s ability to move upward in this society. I believe in the military might of our nation and the need to keep our nation on a strong moral footing. All of these views and others have firmly wedded me to the Conservative cause. I wish I could elaborate more fully, but I have already exceeded my word limit and must finish here. I have received much agitation because of my Conservative beliefs, including a really unbelievable incident two Saturdays ago when someone called me “cock sucker” repeatedly and launched a number of other expletives at me as well. Please be considerate, and tune in for my columns in the weeks to come. Also, please understand that my current political sentiments are not expressed to gain attention or be a “rabble-rouser,” but come from a gradual move toward Conservative ideology.