A healthy Conservatism is committed to the past, the present, and the future. It keeps our present rooted in the love and wisdom of the ancestors, including honorably learning from their errors, failures and sacrifices. Likewise, a well-rooted, conscientious Conservatism approaches a brighter future through inculcating moral courage and critical thinking in younger generations. We who live in the present are always at the sacred crux of time, remembering the love of the ancestors while we have faith in the regenerative capabilities of generations of ancestors yet to come.
Consider that it is through my own identity in Whiteness as a White Person that I have felt immediate empathy for Muslims and Queer people alike, among others.
Being Muslim means constantly feeling the pressure to not be perceived as an extremist terrorist who wants to dominate others, despite the sad reality that there are some Muslims who do this and have power. To be Muslim under hostile eyes, even the eyes of those rightly angry because they have suffered from Islamic extremism, nevertheless means belonging to a group that is guilty until proven innocent. If a caring Muslim person wants to speak out against Islamist extremism, they risk opening themselves to other peoples’s false perceptions of permission to attack and demean all Muslim identity, despite deeply honorable efforts among many Muslims to actively decrease extremist ideologies in their communities.
So it is with being White, seriously contending against literal White Supremacists while constantly being demeaned as the racially guilty enemy in my own land just for being White and not apologizing for that.
To be Queer (transgender, genderqueer, etc) means always trying to educate others while caring for yourself and your own life experience without constant self-conscious worry, once you express your heart’s aligninment with this identity explicitly and without apology. It means looking for counselors who understand your social situation enough so that you can spend that time being cared for instead of putting precious emotional energy into educating the one who should be therapeutically comforting you.
Where my Whiteness differs from these parallels drawn with Muslim and Queer identities is that to be White means being everywhere and nowhere, being assumed “the blank slate” norm while also being denied explicit pride in one’s heritage amongst a rapidly diversifying cultural landscape. It means having almost every space available to you but nowhere specifically for you, by threat of being charged with White Supremacy. Your presence is requested for its assumed “power and privilege”, because you owe it and you should show your support, but demonized and resented when you show up; you are told that your existence is a burden to other people’s special “spaces”. If you try to shed your ethnic identity and become another, you will be humiliatingly mocked, at best, or viscously attacked for committing “cultural appropriation”, at worst- but you are allowed no explicit culture of your own, remember. Being White means You Don’t Have a Culture and That Culture is Evil.
Being White now means being taught to have no ethnic self-awareness while fearing that if you develop your ethnic White self-awareness you will be constantly, CONSTANTLY told that there is nothing good that can be attributed to your ethnic identity. You are to unquestioningly adore everyone else’s culture but have no normal, healthy, proud ancestral Self. You, White People [the voice of seething resentment] are allowed no ethnic kinship with others who look like you, though you see yourself everywhere. You are “represented” in image everywhere and in spirit nowhere. You are alone, and you must teeter in hesitancy before the possibility of even broaching the topic with another like you, On Pain of Accusation. They might Turn You In. You cannot trust Your Own because you are policed by Your Own and, in case you forgot, you don’t deserve a normal sense of Your Own, and if you try you will be suspect and viciously, publicly hated. You are told you have No Ethnic Awareness, and you wish they were right. How much easier their lie would be, if it were true. Because those who hate you the most are others like you. You are the hated Racial Blank Slate, forced to be everyone but allowed to be no one.
Here’s to you, the mixed family, the multi-ancestral ones, all those who are liminal. Here’s to every person who’s struggled (that’s all of us) who decides to take control of their lives. Here’s to Black Conservatives, a Black Empowerment without hatred of White people. Here’s to the skeptic, the Atheist cautious of groupthink. Here’s to saving men’s lives and women who love men. Here’s to humanists working to make capitalism better and alleviate poverty. Here’s to the chains of poverty breaking. Here’s to facts delivered with right feeling. Here’s to Republicans telling real neo-Nazis where to go shove it. Here’s to White Westerners who show up for Indigenous People’s voices and visibility. Here’s to not apologizing for Whiteness. Here’s to a heritage to be proud of. Here’s to the survivors of brutal State Communism who will not be silenced. Here’s to the Christian Queers, the Single Dads, the defenders of Europe against Sharia, the MAGA-hat wearers who won’t be intimidated. Here’s to the real peacemakers, the solution-focused who don’t dwell in victimhood. Here’s to Veterans who don’t give space for your BS. Here’s to the love of creation, a new eco-patriotism. Here’s to Christ-loving Conservatives who refuse to make enemies though many would hate them. Here’s to our Liberal friends in humanity. We are Conservatives, people of conscience who are creating a better Conservatism. We are your neighbors and we’re here to stay. Here’s to the hearts of the Brave.
Though I have rightly been angry at hateful “Social Justice” extremism, I shall not hate its practitioners. I shall listen with patience and speak with wisdom and courage. I will call them my fellow people. Though I have been demonized for my white skin, I shall not treat my fellow humans of darker skin with contempt. I will delight in their beauty and mine. Though I have been labeled a “settler”, I belong here just like you. I believe in the goodness of indigenization. I believe in the dreams of our ancestors, yours and mine. I give up and I gain culture, you give up and you gain culture. Let us conserve what is beautiful, true and good. Let us liberate for the love of these. I will stand by both the unity of my species and the righteous laws of my country. I am human and animal, White and Indigenous, domestic and wild, Liberal and Conservative. I am American, I am a Westerner: past, present and future. I live.
Your liberation is not dependent upon my subjugation. Your having a voice is not dependent upon my being silent. Your desire to “take up space” is not dependent upon my not being there. If you believe the strength of your identity is dependent upon “dismantling” mine, we’re going to have problems. But if your liberation allows for me to maintain my traditions, I will support you. If your voice and mine can can both speak without censorship, I will listen. If your “taking up space” allows space for both of our being, I will honor your being. If the strength of your identity respects the strength of my own, I will celebrate all that you are.