Friday, May 5, 2017

How I Became A Conservative Unicorn: I Went To Public School

Whenever someone is curious enough to ask me what my political leanings are, I usually let them know that politically I'm a conservative unicorn: a person who doesn't fit the stereotypical "face" of a conservative. If you didn't receive the memo, a conservative is usually a close-minded traditionalist, white, cis-gendered male, whose life is privileged regardless of his social or economic status. Although I don't care for the "close-minded" or "white privilege" sentiment, there is a vein of truth in this stereotype. According to the Pew Research Center study on deep divides between United States political parties, there are "sharp differences between race, gender, generation, and education." Demographic groups that tilt Democratic are blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, post-graduate women, the religiously unaffiliated, and those born into the millennial generation (those ages 18-33). Now I'm not going to argue that the statistics or that the stereotype is wrong, however I'm a college educated, Hispanic, millennial woman, but I've been leaning politically conservative since grade school. To many I shouldn't exist. How does a young Hispanic girl from Chicago, a city enveloped by liberal policies and values, become a conservative unicorn? It's simple; I went to public school.

Before I elaborate on the environmental influence leading to my political choice, on a previous blog post I mentioned how inherent personality can explain why people engage in certain types of political behavior. To do this I examined prominent feminists what types of choices they make politically and how these choices may reflect there inherent personality. As for myself, using the same (Big Five) framework to describe my personality, it does reflect the personality of someone who would be typically conservative. Although I'm open to all types of information, I'm conscientious and value order,  hard work, and perseverance. Frankly, I don't believe people are born "blank slates." We are all born with personalities that can be shaped by outside factors. As for myself one of the major factors that influenced the way I think about politics was my journey through the government bureaucracy called the Chicago Cook County public school system.

After living in Puerto Rico for almost two years, my parents decided to move back to the United States, and I was sent to (a predominately African-American) public school. As I started school in the second grade it became apparent what the school's motto should've been, "ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school." If a student was to succeed, the school would succeed, no matter if the school was responsible for the student's success or not. However if a student failed or disrupted the classroom the whole class would be punished. Collective justice, the idea that we are our brother's (and sister's) keeper, is one of the most fundamental moral lessons taught to most while attending public school. My school was just one of many that decided to take it upon themselves to promote values founded upon the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child and no child should be treated unfairly. Newly instated fair school programs such as free student breakfast and lunch, because children who are impoverished should be feed for free, even though in most situations their parents are being paid by the government to feed them. Other changes included the dismantling of the school uniforms, because some parents felt they were not affordable or wanted their children to wear some outfit they bought them. As for academic changes, the school to created a specialized class for gifted students. It lasted less than a week due to complaints from some parents due to their child not being one of the few students privileged enough to join the class.
Although these incidents annoyed me, at the time I was quite indifferent, and throughout my early school life I never questioned the intentions of the school authorities. If they said they were working for the good of the students then, no matter how idiotic they seemed, their solutions had to be worth it. It wasn't until the fourth grade when I picked up a book and read the simple line, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." George Orwell's Animal Farm was my gateway into questioning the true intentions of authority when compared to the results. The system I was placed in began to dissolve and reveal in it's place the consequence of a revolution in political thought within public education, in which every teacher was a believer in the soft bigotry of low expectations. Since these expectations were low investment, usually tossing money at the perpetual problem, ought to be done.

In the 2017 school year, the Cook County school district invests an average of $12,075 per student, and administration along with teachers still want more. Why? Teachers and faculty cry out that every student, no matter their race or gender deserves not only an education, but a quality education. All student outcomes must not merely be equal, but equal and of the same quality. In my opinion the quality is poor but if you disagree with this opinion, it is a fact the quality is poor. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Illinois State Board of Education tests in reading and mathematics lead to the result to "one in four CPS students in grades three through eight and high school performed at a level necessary for post-secondary education." When taking into consideration the race of most of these students in these Chicago Public Schools, it becomes inevitable that someone will use this as a means for political and social outrage, along with a steady flow of income.

But is this true progress if the result leaves many students lacking in independence, confidence, along with social and educational skills? By questioning the results of the bureaucratic nature public education system along with the authority that surrounded me, I was able to forgo the collectivist principle of equality within the public commune, and in it's place a more conservative and individualistic framework spurred by my personality began to take shape, and to take this step and seek diversity of political and philosophical thinking as a young girl of Puerto Rican heritage within a public school environment, is what I call progress.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Confessions of a #MehTrump Supporter: Why I'm Voting for Donald Trump

I have a confession to make. I am now part of the 40% of likely voters, who this presidential election will vote for Donald Trump for president of the United States. Currently out of this  40% (to Clinton's 43%) their reason for voting for Trump usually comes from an angry response to government elitism, frustration about the economy, and wanting to dissolve political correctness. However reasonable this group's anger may seem, it doesn't seem fitting to put all of your hopes and dreams into the hands of anyone running for president of the United States. Personally, I don't expect government to solve the economy and I don't suspect the establishment will learn nothing after this election other than, "Wow! People really do like the idea of populism!" I put my faith in no politician, not even one with beautifully coiffed hair, which is definitely not a wig or a comb-over. (Thanks mainstream media for this valuable information.) That being said, there are two main reasons I'll vote for Donald Trump:

(1) I believe the Republican Party should fracture. As many of you know politically I'm a conservative Constitutionalist who has worked with the Republican party in part because I thought they had values that mirrored by own. Now I know what some of you may say, "Well, why didn't you protest against McCain's presidential bid, or what about Romney's?" Simply put I actually liked their policies, character, and record when compared to Obama's lack of experience and overall manner. In my opinion, Trump is the Republican party's version of President Obama. Both claim to be for the people and how they alone will enact the change their followers desperately seek, while their followers do everything in their power to protect them from all criticism, be it justified or not. Call me cynical (because I usually am) but I don't care for the (typically Democrat) rhetoric Trump seems so found of spouting. I never would have thought a Republican presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention would say the words, "I alone can fix the system," but I guess that's the philosophy the Republican party has to sell in order to stay relevant to the modern voter: government dependence.

Welcome to the Trump party! Leave your principles at the door!
As someone who has had to try to sell the ideal of and "freedom" to young people, I understand why the Republican party would shift this way. It's hard telling a potential voter that too much government is a problem and not a solution. Selling freedom isn't easy, but selling free stuff is. Things get especially difficult when you take into account that most young people have gone to public universities, have used government loans to attend that school, and who may find themselves working for government entities. Trump, as far as I know doesn't want to cut entitlement spending, is against free-trade, and believes the government can somehow "create jobs." Frankly, this doesn't sound like a Republican to me. (Or maybe it does, and if so I'm glad I'm washing my hands of them.)

With that being said I don't think the Republican party is able to change course. When faced with the outcome of Hillary Clinton becoming president they're in a helpless position and will vote for anyone (and I mean anyone) who will go against her. Disgustingly, the Republican and Democrat parties have now forced the American voter to engage in an act of desperation where they must choose a candidate whose values don't necessarily reflect their own to win the presidency to "save" the country. I'm not choosing Trump to save the country, I'm choosing him to break the party, and allow for the strong potential of a new conservative party to take shape and leave the Republican party behind.

(2)  My second reason is accountability. Donald Trump if president, will be held accountable for all of his actions by the press, in turn forcing journalists, after eight years, to finally do their jobs and eagerly investigate information released by Federal executive authorities or anyone who associates with Trump's administration. During the past eight years of the Obama presidency the media have done nothing to investigate any actions taken by his administration. I've yet to see any hard hitting investigations from mainstream news sources on the failed gun-walking operation called "Fast & Furious,"  which put about 2,000 guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartel criminals, to the recent Iran nuclear deal that would allow Iran to pursue the construction of two nuclear plants with little oversight by the United States, and now recently the revelation that the Obama administration paid $400 million dollars to Iran conveniently at the same time the American hostages were being released. Let's not forget the scandals involving the Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, such as her use of multiple private, unsecure servers to store classified government information while Secretary of State, her role in Benghazi and how she lied to the American people when she said the attack occurred in retaliation to a "YouTube video," and more recently the rumor the Clinton Foundation took money from Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for it's mistreatment of women and homosexuals. Then just when you think the media couldn't get any lower, they didn't even bother to critique the Clinton campaign's use of rope to wrangle fellow journalists during a parade event. The media doesn't cover these topics, not because these incidents aren't astounding or newsworthy, but because they don't suit their lazy narrative of "Republicans bad. Democrats good."

It doesn't escape me that Trump isn't a nice man, or a well-spoken politician, or someone I could fully trust as commander-in-chief, but right now he is what makes the media get up in the morning. Silly though it may seem, if the mainstream media wanted to do their job, evoke true journalistic integrity, and regain public trust they would vote for Trump.

Even with these two reasons, I still have some reservations for voting for Trump.

What if the Republican party doesn't fracture due to this political shift of values? What if there aren't enough conservatives who want to break away from party that may give them what they wanted, but at the same time expand Federal government to do it? Honestly I don't expect a massive party to arise, but I do expect to see a new network of conservatives  in creating a new platform using new media, online tools, and engaging in local communities that the Republican party has ignored. To my surprise I've encountered many minorities, women, and young people who are conservative, just not Republican. If the Republican party fractures, they may find a political group that represents them. Then again who knows what will happen? This all assumes Donald Trump will win the presidential election, but as it stands today the odds are in Hillary Clinton's favor, and as we all know if Clinton wins the world will suddenly blow up (or something to that effect).

What if the media, even if after Trump wins the presidency, decide to engage him by just covering inconsequential information about him and his administration? This theory is reasonable given that the media does mostly focus on mundane actions president Obama engages in, such as his golf outings, vacations, and the occasional foreign handshake photo-shoot. Going through media headlines like Trump Tried To Invite Himself To Chelsea's WeddingNC Trump Staffer Resigns Amid Lawsuit Alleging He Pulled Gun and now the latest Time Magazine cover featuring Trump's "meltdown," it would seem like a safe prediction to say the media could do the same with Trump and focus on his words rather than policies.

Here's the problem: one of his policies will directly effect mainstream media journalists. Donald Trump wants to "open up" libel laws so he can sue media outlets because in his words, "It's so unfair. I have stories, and I have - you have no recourse. You have no recourse whatsoever because the laws are really impotent." Is this someone the media can ignore? Would it stand to reason that they not only focus on this policy but multiple policies that effect their narrative? Even though I don't agree with their narrative, I can see the value of critique, which is something that within the Republican party isn't welcome in this new pro-Trump era. It would be refreshing to see the media finally do their job after eight grueling years of pundits pontificating their love for the prophet Obama (peace be upon him).
So much for being the party of Freedom of Speech and anti-political correctness. *sigh*
Unlike many Trump sycophants, who plan on voting for Trump because it's the "right thing to do," I'm not here to tell you this is the right decision, or the moral decision, or one that I'm necessarily proud of. I'm not even going to encourage you to vote or not vote. Do what you please. Nevertheless, this is my decision when faced with the fact we need a media, a government, and a society that is accountable for their actions, and right now they aren't. As long as the media and public hold Donald Trump accountable for his indiscretions while ignoring Clinton's flaws and failures, I plan on voting for Trump this November. No matter who wins, hopefully I won't be the only one holding them accountable for their actions as president of the United States.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Responding to YouTube Comments #1: Social Conservatism, Women, and Muh Amy Schumer

Questions: the sentences that usually get an answer hardly ever get answered using the YouTube comment system. Why? Well it's complicated, and by complicated I mean the YouTube comment system on occasion doesn't allow me to even notice a comment has been posted at all. However, today I'm going to answer and address some comments that I find answer-worthy. Here we go.

This comment was in response to my video entitled, Why Women Aren't Funny. In it, I begin by asking a very simple question: out of your top ten favorite comedians how many women are on that list? I'm a fan of comedy, I have dabbled in stand up before, and I love the art form, and some of my favorite comedians are Patrice O'Neal, Bill Burr, and Colin Quinn. I can honestly say that there are few women on my list and if they are on the list it isn't because of stand up but the comedic acting and skits they created. However, I can't deny that women when compared to men on average, aren't very funny. Why? Women don't have to be. In fact in my opinion women don't really need to be anything but there in a modern relationship. They just have to be there, try to be nice when they can, and be decent company while being physically attractive for their mate. The women comedians who are funny usually don't engage in stand-up and instead do skits, improv, or anything else that involves acting. This may be fine for some like Denton up here, but not for me, so there are no ladies on my top ten list.

As for men, lets face it, you guys have to be funny in order to attract the attention of a female. When a woman is listing off traits she would love in her potential mate she usually lists "funny" or "makes me laugh" as one of those. I've yet to meet a man who told me, "I think you're funny N.C. Clark, I think we should date." Never. Ever.

But no, Amy Schumer is a female and she must be funny to someone, therefore you may now disregard anything I said in the video and move on to another brilliant comment by one of my viewers.

What happens when you make a video entitled Women in Politics: A Tale of Two Representations? You get this lovely comment about how you didn't "take a stand."

Now the purpose of the video was not to take a specific stand, other than to say that women in politics
change nothing within the political sphere, other than try to score brownie points by using "feminine" buzz words and sayings like "as a woman" or "women's issues." Basically women try to pander to other women, and for women like Blessington, it works. Overall I challenged the belief that women have some kind of Patriarchal barrier that prevents them from becoming representatives and that female representation in politics doesn't matter in the slightest to someone like me who doesn't care about superficial representation (race, gender, etc). I care about ideology, values, and character. But wait, what about estrogen that has to do something to make women more valuable and make a real difference in politics. Newsflash, it doesn't. According to political pundits like Candy Crowley, who herself wanted to believe women can make positive changes in government, suddenly realized when it comes to the allocation of power, responsibilities, and representation women are no different than men. No less kind, and no less nurturing. I therefore presume that the nature of the job makes it so that women with the same personalities of leadership, confidence, and charisma choose the job of a political representative and ultimately make the same decisions or come to the same positions as their male counterparts.

On the contrary, if I were to believe this comment I would have to assume Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) or would be a better representative than Paul Ryan (R Wisconsin 1st Dist.) for me, because Pelosi and I are both women and Ryan is a man. This is laughable. The mere question of "did you know that Republican women candidates do not get any support from their party" further proves my point. This comment reeks of sexism or the preferential treatment of a specific gender all based upon stereotypes that some female politicians blatantly take advantage of. A good example of that manipulation is the Hilary Clinton's campaign ridiculous use of emphasizing how Clinton is a woman and that is what makes her special or different than the other candidates. No talk of substance or specifics. All they have to do is say, "I'm a woman, hear me roar!" and women like Blessington clap like trained seals.

Lastly, I have a comment recommending a response to a video entitled, Social Conservatism is Abuse. Sadly, I'm the only open conservative political pundit this person knows and so I feel it is my duty to at least speak on the matter.

Lets begin with the videos claims:
(1) Social conservatism is about going "back to the past."
(2) In the past he was emotionally and physically abused in the past.
(3) Therefore, it must be the case that social conservatism is abuse.

Why would he see it as abuse? "Well," he answers,"I see it as abuse, because it is. They are attempting to abuse the liberties and rights of others. Curtailing them, stripping them away, preventing them from expanding." He mentions that when he talks to social conservatives they seem to have no interest in the progressive ideals that involve marriage equality, gender equality, or dismantling the Patriarchy. All of which I don't find relevant to his argument, and I'll explain why.

First, for fun, lets accept his basic definitions of what is "conservative" and what is "progressive." Conservative according to the video creator is staying in the past, while progressive means
Now at first most people would agree with these definitions, however there is "conservative" is the general sense, "conservative" in the philosophical sense, and "conservative" in the political sense and lastly "conservative" and what it means to a person emotionally or personally. This person has decided to make the claim that conservatism, as defined by their own experience, actually is the true definition by which everyone who claims to be conservative actually is. More to the point, his personal became an objective definition which highly influences his interactions with others.

So what does this have to do with anything. It's simple. What if we accept the premise that conservative means staying in the past and progressive means going further, what does that have to do with the "good" or what values are correct? Nothing. Ideas of the past could just be as good as those in the future. Or perhaps the future's values and ideals are not as worthwhile as some would believe. What would be needed to solve this problem is clear context and understanding that conservatism actually is within the context of someone that is conservative... someone like myself.

What does it mean to be a conservative from a philosophical stand point? To find virtues that have lasting value and promote them. It is not to trample the rights of others, unless of course you are a conservative authoritarian, but then again any authoritarian group would want to trample your rights so unless you believe that "conservative" and authoritarian are synonymous and if so you have my sympathy.

Nevertheless back to the philosophical argument presented, or should I say, emotional argument. I believe that our country is founded upon the idea of the free market of ideas for someone to say, "that the idea that social conservatism is toxic," and ought to be eradicated is quite hysterical. Not only can't destroy an idea within this free market, but you ought not to. How is it moral to imply that an idea should be eradicated because you feel it is wrong. At least explain unemotionally why it's wrong! But no, just say that it's toxic, toss out some poor examples without context, and sprinkle on more vague definitions of what you feel is happening rather than what is, because I really need more of this in my life.

When it comes to "progressive" concepts, is it toxic to ask questions? Is it toxic to ask if abortion is legal, how are we to define when liberty begins and when does liberty end? Is it toxic to merely state that the average child does better in a family with a father and a mother? Is it toxic to say that conservatism isn't abuse? For a person who defines themselves as progressive, he really doesn't understand that today's progressive idea is tomorrow's conservative value. He has the attitude of a king, picking and choosing ideas he finds valuable for any personal reason then dictating that if you don't like these values, accept them, or dare I say question them, you sir and/or madam are toxic. He is literally the caricature of a progressive.

Honestly, I don't wish an idea to be eradicated because it's not worth the mental energy to wish something that can't come to fruition. You can propose new ideas that are contrary to what is now "conservative" or as the video creator defined it, "the past ideals," but keep in mind anything that you propose today will be old tomorrow if accepted by the general populous. As life moves on, we may die but ideas will stay around forever, some people like me call this progress.