I am dedicated to keeping my liberal credentials. To guarantee that, I continue to live in Salt Lake City, which although increasingly sophisticated and urbane, continues to be surrounded by ardently conservative folks.
If I were ever to move back to LA, I am more than confident I would become more conservative.
I have never been consistently liberal or conservative. I’ve been very conservative and flipped to being very liberal. I’d like to say I’m mainly moderate, but that’s a little too boring for my tastes. I make wide swings back and forth.
Unless it is in my interest to be silent, I am notorious for speaking against trend in any group discussion I am part of. Especially if the group leans really conservative or liberal.
For example, my Mormon high priests’ group lessons each Sunday consist of reading a passage from the writings of a past prophet of our religion, and rehearsing why the prophet’s words are right; not necessarily because of their internal logic, but because they’re printed on a page, the discussion of which consists of repeating the same answers I’ve heard for six decades.
This sort of activity had me trying to breakup the monotony by interjecting challenges to the same old answers to the same old ideas. In today’s retrenchment movement by the church, such behavior has become less and less acceptable. There was no particular reason for me to sit in silence and be acutely bored, so I just stopped attending.
Let me be clear, I know why this type of repetition takes place. Memorization of rules leads to the strict following of those rules in one’s behavior. And the more you behave in a certain way, the longer that behavior will be handed down from one generation to the next. This is very important for religions that want to preserve their religious practices. I know this: I just couldn’t keep my sanity by engaging in it.
That’s why I continue to live in Salt Lake City. These conservative practices keep me tuned into why I am liberal. As a result, I love being liberal.
But, I do vote my interests, which are very business oriented. I’m even contemplating why I should support Trump’s tax bill. Frankly, It’s in my financial interest to do so. I’ve learned that when everything is said and done, when I get into the voting booth, the most logical thing I can do is to vote my interest. That’s what I know best. And in the end, it’s really the only thing I know.
To me this sounds ill-liberal, and counter progressive; but it is pragmatic, which when it comes to business I am.
Let’s be real. For example, I can only intellectually sympathize with an African American male raised in a violent inner city. I really do not intrinsically know what it means to be habitually discriminated against for being born with a darker skin than mine. Hence, the answer to this dilemma is the free voting booth, open to all citizens, which becomes the great equalizer in American democracy.
This hypothetical African American male comes to the voting booth and votes his interest, and I, mine. From there, results produce a balance in meeting his needs up against mine. I cannot ask for much more from a society made up diverse individual circumstances. I trust that system. I want things to be equal.
But I can have my own hidden desire can’t I? I hope every single African American votes so we can grind through every issue necessary to creating a better life for present and future generations of African Americans. It will take election after election after election after election. It will take a hundred hundred elections and beyond in every category available for a candidate to run in to balance the scales of justice and keep them balanced.
My hope is that the needs of my African American peer and mine start to overlap more and more. In 2012 I voted for a democrat for the first time in my life. That’s a start.
Does anyone think voting doesn’t work? With the elections of Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Baines Johnson, African American life changed forever for the better.
Yes, I have laid down roots in Salt Lake City. I am succoring the sweet nectar of a liberal life.