An Open Letter to Conservative America

I’ve written a collection of comic strips called, “Two Conservative Ladies” that sort of pokes fun at conservative beliefs and behaviors. I say, “sort of” because the way I came up with all the comics was by visiting conservative internet forums and watching Fox News. Then I just transcribed what I saw there into comics that stripped away any pretense. If those comics come across as funny then it’s just because the behavior I witnessed conservatives doing is a joke in-and-of itself. Having said that, a lot of my “Two Conservative Ladies” comics aren’t funny. One person even told me that, far from being funny, they made him feel “disgusting.” I agree, the beliefs and behaviors those comics are transcribed from aren’t funny. In a lot of ways they’re disgusting, even frightening, but the point of the comics isn’t just to be shocking. The point of making the comics is to raise the issue that conservative America is in dire need of an intervention.

It’s impossible to have that intervention without making some generalizations about conservative culture, but if you’ll allow me to make a few generalizations that are true enough to be worth saying it’ll help you understand how the rest of the world sees you, and hopefully you can use that information to take a critical look at yourself and recognize some areas you can improve in.

For what it’s worth, I should start out by saying that I was born and raised in the Bible Belt. I come from the deep, dirty South. I lived in a trailer. As a child I believed country folk had more horse-sense than city slickers, and atheists were evil. I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church when I was 17. I’m a veteran. I’m not saying that all conservatives fit that mold or that any of that makes me cool. The point is I know where you’re coming from, because you raised me.

I’ll be fair to you, I know that your actions are motivated by good intentions, the best intentions. You believe Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, and on the third day after Jesus died he rose from the dead; His blood sacrifice atoned from the sins of mankind, and whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Therefore, as Paul stated in the Great Commission, it’s every Christian’s duty to spread the word of the Gospel to redeem as many of God’s children from the broad path of wickedness that leads to the fiery pits of eternal Hell. Therefore, allowing homosexuality, atheism and every false religion to have an equal, protected (much less celebrated) place in society would make you complicit in sin. If that’s the case, you may as well just roll out the red carpet to Hell, and that would be the greatest disservice you could do to your fellow man.

I get that. I also get why you’re so patriotic. I proudly stood up every morning in first period at school, put my hand over my heart and said the pledge of allegiance. My class-mates and I even said prayers and thanked God that we lived in the greatest country on earth. I learned in school that the Founding Fathers forged the first nation in history built on the principles of truth, justice, freedom and equality. Sure, America had a few blemishes in its history (like slavery), but we put our primitive ways behind us and evolved as a culture and a country because that’s what Americans do, and that’s part of why Americans tend to believe America is the best country in the world.

Americans do have a lot to be proud of. We did in fact build a world super power from scratch. So in the small towns where I grew up we took it for granted that if the government would just let us have our freedom, we all formed strong families and didn’t complain when things got hard we could work our way through any difficulties life could throw at us; if every American just returned to their roots and embraced the beliefs and behaviors that built America in the first place then America could fulfill its potential once again.

When you lay out the reasons for conservative beliefs like that it sounds so wonderful. It wraps up the whole world in a pretty package that gives you a sense of identity and purpose you can be proud of. It sounds so good that anyone who disagrees with it must either be completely stupid or evil.

Unfortunately, as I grew older I came to realize that this perception of reality is unrealistically oversimplified. Ultimately, it translates to the belief that whatever you’ve been doing is the only right way to do things, and whatever anyone else does is evil. Any psychology 101 class will tell you this way of thinking isn’t the product of divine instruction or manifest destiny. It’s called being a cognitive miser; you just refuse to think about anything outside your preconceived beliefs. You reverse-engineer illogical excuses to dismiss evidence that conflicts with your biases, and the more your beliefs are challenged the angrier you get.

I’m not saying this to be mean. It’s human nature. Everyone does it, but some cultures measure maturity by how little someone behaves this way; conservative America measures maturity by how much someone celebrates and defends this behavior. The reason some cultures view this kind of behaviour as immature is because it has objectively measurable negative consequences, and it’s immature to keep doing things that have negative consequences.

The best example of this is far-right wing conservative Republican Christian’s extreme hatred of liberals (or “libtards” as they’re often called).  As proof that conservatives hate liberals, tune into any Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly program. While those  individuals only speak for themselves, they have a huge, loyal following. Conservatives tune into those charismatic personalities for the same reason liberals tune into “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:” to hear someone say the things they want to hear so they can have their biases reconfirmed. We can point fingers at both audiences and say they’re guilty of being cognitive misers, but that’s beside the point I’m trying to make just now. The point is there’s a huge population of conservative Americans who hate liberals, and you can prove that there’s some truth to this by looking at the ratings conservative shock jocks get for bashing liberals. Or you could visit any conservative internet chat forum.

The problem with bashing liberals is that liberals aren’t the problem; they’re a scapegoat. There’s no liberal agenda or conspiracy. There’s just a bunch of people in the world who don’t think the same as you, and that frightens you; and you respond to that fear with hatred, which is all you really wanted all along; you weren’t looking for logical solutions to the world’s problems. You were looking for an enemy to blame.

You can beat the liberal straw man to death for the rest of your life, and it’s not going to solve any of the real-world problems that are having real, negative affects on your life. If you go far enough down the path of blaming another group of people for all your problems you’re eventually going to end up gassing innocent people in death camps. That’s where that path leads, and I have no doubt that some of Fox News’ most loyal fans would love to repeat that failed solution to the world’s problems.

That’s not going to happen though, because the world is too small, and America is too diverse to let that happen. All liberal-bashing is actually going to accomplish is derailing all logical conversation about the world’s problems and thus enabling the continued existence and exacerbation of those problems. Even if that doesn’t lead to the collapse of modern civilization it’ll keep progress stagnated and trap millions (if not billions) of people in miserable poverty and oppression.

If you’d bother to listen to your opponents you’d realize you share the same hopes and values as most “liberals.” You’d also notice most Democratic politicians act the same as Republican politicians because all politicians only answer to their financial sponsors, and they all have the same financial sponsors. Indiscriminately hating politicians who call themselves Democrats and indiscriminately loving politicians who call themselves Republicans allows the overall political system to continue business as usual, and the businesses who sponsor politicians’ careers are in the business of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Your indiscriminate support of the upper class (aka “job creators” as you’ve been told to refer to them as) isn’t making the world a better place. All you’re doing is indiscriminately supporting economic inequality. Indiscriminately opposing welfare, pensions and social services isn’t making the world a better place. It’s making the poor poorer so that the rich can get richer, and that wealth isn’t trickling down. The only thing trickling down is the blood and tears of the poor who have to resort to more desperate measures to stay alive and enjoy a moderate standard of living. If you want to solve America’s problems you need to focus your energy towards fixing campaign contributions and lobbying that allows big businesses to buy a monopoly on political influence.

What’s not going to help solve America’s problems is oppressing everyone who doesn’t share the same values as you. If all sin were legalized tomorrow do you know what would happen? Nothing. Everyone would keep sinning at the exact same rate they’re currently sinning. The only difference is sinners wouldn’t have to live in fear of oppressive Christian laws. That… and we could actually focus on the real issues that are driving America to the brink of collapse.

Sure, in some ways allowing sin makes you complicit in it, but at the same time, punishing sinners puts you in God’s shoes. God didn’t make you judge, jury and executioner. You were tasked with being God’s envoy’s not his right hand of judgement. To that end, your witness would carry more weight if you weren’t famous all around the world for dogmatically oppressing everyone within your borders who doesn’t think exactly like you while gleefully bombing people outside your borders who don’t think exactly like you. I encourage you to seek out people from other countries and ask them what they think about Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and other conservative shock jocks. You may be surprised to learn that the entire world is either laughing at you, scared of you or they pity you. No outside, objective observers perceives you as the heroes you perceive yourselves to be.

It’s blatantly obvious to everyone but you that Fox News and all the celebrity conservative shock jocks who make a living off of bashing liberals are in it for the money and they’ll tell you any lie they can to make your blood boil, because the higher your blood pressure goes the higher their ratings go. The higher their ratings go, the more money they make. The conservative leaders you look up to treat you with complete and utter disrespect and contempt. They must hate you, because you wouldn’t lie to someone you love and trick them into blaming all their problems on an innocent scapegoat while manipulating you into defending the real source of your problems with blind, dogmatic faith.

On one level, my heart goes out to conservative America. Sure, we have our differences, but we agree on far, far, far more than we disagree on. Plus, we’re all humans. We’re all stuck in this life together. We all have to share this world. We come from the same evolutionary tree. On every level, we’re brothers and sisters. It hurts me to watch selfish sociopaths manipulate you into hurting yourself and wasting your life fighting a phantom enemy.

On the other hand, you scare the hell out of me. The smartest thing I can do is get as far away from you as possible, because you’re a mindless wrecking ball. By rights you should be ashamed of yourself, but you’re not, and you’ll hate me for trying to help you. You’ll hate me for just holding up a mirror that shows your flaws.

Your behaviour is a problem, and I can’t in good conscience be complicit in that problem. So as long as you’re going to behave destructively I’m going to keep holding up a mirror to show you and the rest of the world what you really look like beneath the flag-waving, good Christian façade.

Read the rest of the Two Conservative Ladies comics:


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