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Monday, June 11, 2012

A Hippie, Conservative Republican, Oh My!

   My daughter recently said to me, "Mom, you are a hippie Conservative Republican. That is a bit of a contradiction, you know?" I thought about it a minute and I knew she was right. I just said, "Yeah, I'm full of them."
Republican:  A member of the Republican Party. One of the two primary political parties of the United States, organized in 1854 to oppose the extension of slavery (Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president). My understanding of the Republican Party platform is:

1.  a belief in a strong national defense supporting the military and veterans; 
2. capitalism and free markets with social programs only for a safety net for the truly needy and only for a definitive, restorative period of time; 
3. small government and self-sufficiency (as opposed to government handouts and dependency);
4.  defense of the U.S. Constitution and a belief that it is as relevant today as the day it was written and that it should only be altered by the amendment process that is defined within the document;  
5. pro-life believing that the unborn child has the right to live regardless of how it was conceived or the convenience of a pregnancy [note: many Republicans believe in abortion only in cases of rape and incest]; 
6. freedom of religion not freedom from religion; 
7. capital punishment in the case of heinous crimes involving murder; 
8. moderate environmental protections without over-regulation or punitive actions that hinder the free markets and enrich those abusing a Green Agenda for monetary gain or to use that agenda to further the larger social Progressive Agenda;
9. pro-immigration while anti-illegal immigration; 
10. pro-Israel;
11. for lower taxes;
12. limited spending and borrowing;
13. energy independence by exploring all energy sources including drilling for oil; 
14. and the protection of the right to bear arms.

Conservative:The more "conservative" one is the more they are likely to stand on the Republican platform without wavering. While the "establishment Republican" may be willing to compromise Republican principles, the Conservative Republican will not. 

Hippie: A person, especially of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and
values and sought idealistic principles such as peace (anti-war) and love (anti-racism), spontaneity and a willingness to stand for what they believed in (public protests), direct personal relations (sex) expressing loveand expanded consciousness sometimes using drugs such as marijuana and LSD, the refusal to conform to societal norms often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, 
head bands, used garments, and by an appreciation of rock music.  

   OK, that's me in a nutshell! 

    It's easy to define what it means to be a Republican. All you have to do is stand on the Republican platform. I believe 100 percent in the Republican platform and will not compromise those principles. That makes me a Conservative. The contradictions are only apparent in the stereotypes of those in the Republican Party. I am not your stereotypical Republican. Those stereotypes include being white, male (or if female an uneducated house wife who reproduces, keeps house, and stands by her man), rich either by corporate thuggery or trust fund or inheritance, college educated, racist or at least unsympathetic to those who aren't white, traditional family, fundamentalist Christian (hypocrites and/or fanatics), shallow and uncaring; or poor, uneducated, redneck whites. I am white, a female who worked in a male dominated profession and gave it up for motherhood, I am not rich and live on the south end of town, I am not racist and have always celebrated the differences of cultures, I went to a technical school and attended only two years of college without earning a degree, I am divorced and remarried, a Christian (the least of those naming the name of Jesus), I am a community-minded volunteer and political activist.

    So what makes me a hippie? I don't look like a traditional Conservative Republican. I guess my appearance is wildly inappropriate for my age. I still have very long hair, which it is unusual for a 52-year-old woman not to get that short-and-easier-to-manage hairdo. I still wear a small gold heart stud in my nose piercing. You have to really look to even see it, but my daughter reminded me that  I was the first mom to get their nose pierced when she and her sisters were in elementary school. I have five tattoos, but only one small bluebird is visible on my wrist. I probably dress too young for my age. I love to wear camo. I think it takes me back to the '70s when I used to wear an army jacket with all kinds of patches sewn onto it. But I'm not just an old hippie on the outside. I'm a hippie at heart.  I think there is good hippie and bad hippie.  I was a teenager in Baltimore in the mid- '70s. We had the sex, drugs, and rock and roll and funny clothes without the politics of the '60s. I battled with myself and my surroundings. I wanted to be a good Christian hippie aka Jesus Freak, but I would often "backslide" into bad hippie behavior.
     I didn't even become a Christian in the traditional way, which is usually at an altar call in a church. No, I was told about Jesus by some "Jesus freaks" that lived in a commune. Talk about hippies! I was only 14-years-old and already had enough misery in my life to know what they were talking about when they said I must be born again because of sin. My sin and the sin of the fallen world had to be paid for by the blood of Jesus. All I had to do was accept it and dedicate my life to living like Jesus and for Jesus. I got that. I got down on my knees and pressed my face to the floor with a room full of "brothers and sisters" and said the sinners prayer. I wanted to be there every minute that I wasn't in school. I devoured the Bible. Everyone had visions of me going there for orgies and drugs. Neither were there much to the disappointment of many.  A lot of the commune members were burnouts from the '60s and coming off of drugs. They looked like the biggest hippies you could ever imagine, but they were serious about their Christianity. They preached and lived a life of holiness. I think they may have even saved my life. Knowing these so-called hippies taught me how to love and accept people right where they are at unconditionally. We evangelized daily. They taught me not to look at the outer man or appearances. They taught me not to look at their successes or failures. They taught me not to look at their sin. They taught me about just loving people as they are and leading them to the Savior sometimes right on a street corner. I eventually left them and my Christian walk, for awhile, but what I learned there never left me. There is something to that good hippie love thing.

   Later when I rededicated my life to the Lord and married, my ex husband and I lived much like the Jesus freaks I had known many years before. I worked as an Engineering Writer by day and lived in an inner-city mission in the worst section of Baltimore by night. We called it the mission, but it was just he and I taking people in off of the street. We took in drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics down on their luck. It didn't matter. We lived a non-traditional Christian life. Churches from all around would drop people off to us instead of taking care of them themselves. We had always wanted to take people from the city to a farm where they could get on their feet and learn a new way of living.
   When I had my daughter at age 30,  I quit my job to stay home with her. I wanted to raise her. It was unheard of to give up a career to be a stay-at-home mom. The only way that we could afford to do this was to move to a farm and raise our own food. I made everything from scratch. I could bake anything and I baked often. I canned or froze all of my own vegetables from the garden, fruit butters from our apple and peach trees, and even grape juice off of the vine. We raised our own pork, beef, and chickens for eggs. Oh what a hippie thing to do in the '90s!
    We started a Christian coffeehouse in the nearest city, which was Hagerstown, Maryland. We reached out to young adults without judgement. It became a place for musicians, young people, and street people to hang out during the week and on the weekend we'd have live Alternative Christian music. It was a place where they weren't judged or made to be a cookie cutter Christian. It was during this time that I got my nose pierced. But the marriage broke up after 13 years and we failed at marriage and at ministry. It was devastating. After I grew through the fog of divorce, brokenness, disappointment, and failure...that inner-Jesus freak lives on. I'm still a good old hippie at heart.
   In conclusion, I want to say that as a "hippie Conservative Republican," I found a home in the TEA Party. The TEA Party is made up of  people who stand on principles not just Party affiliation. They stand up for what they believe (TEA parties or public protests). They reject establishment  Republicans in Name Only (RINOs). Although many TEA Party members are Conservatives and social issues are important to them, they agree to unite with others on the love and protection of the U.S. Constitution; to promote fiscal responsibility, capitalism, and free markets; and on the protection of our freedoms. So if you find that you do not fit into the box labeled Republican or the box labeled Democrat and you think that the country is heading in the wrong direction and you feel compelled to get involved maybe for the first time ever, reach out to your local TEA Party. I guarantee that you will find a place that you belong.