#012; yes, I happen to enjoy guns, church, AND tofu

“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.” – Stephen R. Covey
Catherine Favazza has a great blog post up this morning (by Kirsten Wright of Wright Creativity) about the stereotypes and assumptions conservatives face when involved in social media. The post got me thinking – I find that it’s not so much my social media networking that surprises people when they find out I’m a Republican, but the fact that I consider myself one at all.I make no secret of the fact that my history in policy has focused on green energy, women’s rights (reproductive rights especially), and GLBT equality. However, people seem to forget that there are a whole host of other issues one can disagree with the Democratic Party on. Military force, global strategy, free markets, trade, taxes, lobbyist influence, the death penalty, mandatory sentences, privatization of anything, education, states’ rights…

I’m not trying to use this post to start a debate on the issues, I just find it so frustrating when I’m accused of being a ‘faux’ Republican because I happen to be a blogger who’s into equality for all. I can, of course, argue until I’m blue in the face that my Party also agrees with equal rights (or, realistically, that neither do – particularly when the heads of the Dems – Obama, Biden, and Reid – are against gay marriages), but then you get into a discussion about evolution of policy, national platform, and personal belief. I’m not here to convince you of anything, and so I won’t try.

My belief that a woman has a right to choose doesn’t mean that I believe any less in my right to own a gun. It doesn’t mean that I am for extravagant spending policies or that I have anything but absolute respect for our armed forces. It’s become increasingly frustrating to feel that perhaps I simply don’t have a home in either Party. The Libertarians are too laissez-faire for me. Independents can’t vote in primaries and don’t have young groups of activists like the DCYRs and Young Dems of America.

And so I cling to my Republicanism, feeling much more comfortable in discussions of small government and cigarette smoke and brunches. I wear pearls and cardigans because I happen to like them no matter what my artist friends and housemates may say otherwise. I am not putting on an act by enjoying time with fellow conservatives (because though I am partially socially liberal, I do consider myself mostly a conservative) or by going to Mass on Sundays.

What stereotypes do you find most insulting? Politically or otherwise? Do people assume things about you because of your religion? (One I get a lot? “Oh, you’re Catholic, so you hate gays, right?”) What about your upbringing? I think my problem with all of this is the disgust on the faces of those who learn my truth. The fact that it’s assumed that I’m liberal or a Democrat doesn’t bother me, so much as the attitude that’s taken once it’s found out that I’m not. As if I should know better or just haven’t found the light yet. The assumption that I’m somehow faking this, that for some reason I’m taking a stand on behalf of things that I don’t believe in at all. I want to be trusted to my own beliefs – if they evolve (which they have before) I am someone who admits as much, but until then, I find the assumption a very trying one.

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