It’s probably one of the darkest truths I can admit to… I use to be a conservative. Back in my youthful days of elementary and middle school, I listened to people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and I ate up everything they said. I challenged my teachers on everything they said that I thought sounded too Liberal.
Most fearful of all, I have to admit that I had unquestioning faith in George W. Bush. I honestly never dared to criticise a single thing Bush ever said. Imagine being a bipedal version of the sheep in Animal Farm. I must have sounded like… “Conservatives good… Liberals bad… Conservatives good… Liberals bad… Bush is always right.”
So now imagine how very refreshing disillusionment must feel. My disillusionment didn’t quite come as a sudden rush, but it feels like I’ve been taking a very deep breath of fresh air for the past three years.
It was around 7th grade that I began to think about philosophy. It was around 8th grade that I began to question everything, and developed a passion for what is true. That’s about the time when I decided that I no longer considered myself Conservative. I’d begun to be a freethinker, but I was still recovering from my past of listening to the likes of Sean Hannity. I still winced at liberal remarks unthinkingly when I first heard them, though when I thought about it, I agreed with them.
I think that one of the things that made my transition slowest was that I had a passionate objectivist, social darwinist, anti-socialism, anti-communism “friend”. But, I’d begun to wonder how it was possible for a person who thought that selfishness was the highest virtue to have friends. It became apparent to me that it was not. Now, I’m free from her paranoid ramblings about how Obama is a socialist, and how we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
I finally began to taste disillusionment.
Shortly after deciding that she was wrong afterall, I began reading The Audacity of Hope. I think that the reason why is now that I could see above the smoke-screen erected by my anti-socialist “friend”, I found that I could relate to Obama. He supports science, for one thing. The fact that he’s not an evolution denier puts him ahead of the majority of the people in this country. His father was an Atheist, so it feels like he can sympathize with us more. A lot of Atheists have been disputing whether or not he’s really an in-the-closet Atheist who really just talks about faith to get elected… I think that that’s just wishful thinking because we’ve gone for so long without having presidential races decided based on faith.
But to be entirely truthful, the reason why I had a sudden interest in Obama was because he was accused of being an ‘elitist’ so many times. He’s seen as out-of-touch by many because he uses words like “arugula” where the common man is familiar with “beer” (see the cover of Newsweek). People don’t feel like he shares the same past times as them, like bowling.
I think… I think that he is a victim of anti-intellectualism. I think that people are suspicious, hostile to him because… he’s different.
It’s because of my perception of this lack of acceptance that I feel that I can relate to him.
The parts that I’ve read of his book so far do make me want to believe in him. It would be nice if I could believe that he’s an honest politician (which I believe in about as much as I believe in the Yeti). But I don’t want to have faith in him.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve been avoiding endorsing politicans for so long. It feels like I have to have faith that they are the least bit honest. That part within me which causes me to want him to win, I feel, is based far more in pathos than in logos… and that worries me a bit.
So… I will end this musing, hoping that it will not be seen as exactly an endorsement but just as a musing. Expect my review of his book when you see it.