Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why I Am A Conservative

Brigid's post, which I linked in my post Saturday night and this post by Josh Painter at Redstate got me to thinking about why I am a conservative.

When I was in my teens, I was a conservative. In the 1964 election I was 18 and would have voted for Goldwater had I been 21.

I was in Vietnam in 1968 and felt I was too busy trying to stay alive to bother with absentee voting from overseas. It was a lot of trouble and I really didn't fully understand the importance of voting at the time.

When I got out of the Air Force and went back to college, I majored in Political Science and Sociology. I had misguided dreams of teaching at the time. I was naturally exposed to a lot of liberal social and political theory. I remained a fiscal and national defense conservative, but bought into the social liberal school of thought because "It felt good" to do something for the greater good. I must confess to or plead to being young and foolish. Now I'm just old and foolish, but I digress.

I wound up working for the Vetrans' Administration for 20 years and was able to do some good for some people. During this time, I voted democratic on a regular basis, but I never felt entirely comfortable.

I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 but almost immediately regretted it.

By 1996 I was ready to vote Republican. I realized Dole wasn't the best we could do, but as the saying goes, it was the only game in town.

Shortly after that, due to a life changing event that 's for another post, another time, I was able to do a great deal of self-examination and re-evaluation of some old ideas and assumptions and decide that, among other things, I am a conservative all around, fiscally, on national defense, and socially. I am also in favor of as small a government as possible in a nation of this size.

I was supportive of George Bush. I voted for him twice. I held my nose and voted for McCain. He isn't a conservative, at least not to my way of thinking, but I don't have any answers right now about what conservatives can do to make ourselves heard. I just hope we can survive the next few years.

The virtues cited by Brigid and Josh in their posts are ones I share, as I share the fears they both express. I do not claim to possess the virtues they discuss, but I do try to emulate them

But one other thing came to mind that has been on my mind frequently in the last few months. On October 30, 1966, at approximately 9:30 am, I took the following oath:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Emphasis mine. I have never renounced it and to my knowledge have never been released from it.

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