Question bugging me lately: What is a Conservative? Or maybe the better question is: what is Conservative? I'm talking about ideals, philosophies, principles, convictions, you name it. What is it that makes someone or something conservative?
I'm asking this question for a good reason. I want to know the answer.
I'd like to announce that I'm doing a series on this topic and that my next several posts will be on that subject. But if you've read this blog much you know that's an unrealistic claim. I'll get distracted and run something else and then revisit this conundrum when it comes back up.
I'm going to compare two scenarios in this installment. I'm asking that you read both with an open mind and consider the consequences of each one. I'm not asking anyone to change one inch of what they believe. It's not an attempt to persuade anyone to change political factions. If anything, it is an opportunity to look at our own beliefs and shore them up stronger and give and honest assessment of what we do and do not accept in our worldview.
Dateline, last summer, Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World, Epcot. The conundrum begins in the line waiting to board Mission Space-Green Team. My teammate is 9 years old and is opting for "less-intense" training. In the bigger picture we're visiting on the-weekend-that-shall-not-be-named in an attempt to find smaller crowds by visiting the parks not affected by the infamous event's planned activities. It has worked like a charm. All of the red-shirted event attendees are elsewhere and crowds are pretty light.
But then we get called into the staging area and we're waiting on Gary Sinise to come on our screen and give us our flight instructions. I notice that two teams over stands two men in red shirts and a little girl. My first thought is that the red-shirt event was scheduled for Magic Kingdom and it was odd to see them at Epcot. But then I realized that 1) Epcot is only a short monorail ride and a park hopper pass from Magic Kingdom and 2) I'm committing a primary-level Southern faux pas. Staring. Realizing the error of my way, I offer a polite smile and a nod of greeting to the poor guy that was obviously suffering from stage fright. But I couldn't help but notice that these two men were standing in line just like me. They were talking with their child, just like I was. It was nothing like the footage of the pride parades I'd seen on TV. Just a family waiting in line for a ride at Disney World. Not a family exactly like mine but interestingly similar.
Fast forward about seven months.
My wife and I have escaped the real world for a romantic weekend getaway to, you guessed it, Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World, Epcot. For this part of the conundrum we're at the Morocco Pavilion at the World Showcase - what Google Maps tells me is a 0.7 mile 13-minute walk from the first event.
The situation seems farther away than that.
We're walking through the themed area, shopping and getting our photo taken with Aladdin and Jasmine...you know, Disney stuff. As we walk around the corner we see a couple sitting on a bench. Well, he was sitting on the bench. She was sitting on him, straddling his lap. I guess it could be called sitting. It was more like gyrating like she was auditioning for a Miley Cyrus video or something. They were Siamese twins, conjoined at the lips and tongues. And they appeared to be searching for each other's body for hidden objects or something Right there in front of Walt and everyone. Several other couples were scattering, laughing, gagging, and screaming appropriate things like "hide the kids" or "don't look Ethyl" or "did someone tell them this is a family place?"
So there it was. A man and a woman, a "traditional" relationship. Like Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
Thank God for fig leaves.
So here's my conundrum. Modern conservatism tells me that the first couple is not acceptable under any circumstances. The second one is fine after a stern 'get a room". My nine-year-old was not the least bit fazed by the first occurrence. I'm very thankful that he missed out on the second one. Which one would have been a bigger threat to my values that I've instilled in my son? Which one represented the acceptable way for a couple to behave in such a place? Which one was conservative? Keeping in mind that CONSERVative is literally the conservation of traditional values, mores and actions.
I'm not condoning or asking you to condone anything. but I think I make a valid point that what goes on in the open is a much greater threat to society than what goes on behind closed doors. And I think I'm comfortable saying that a heterosexual public grope-a-thon (or perhaps even a Republican politician that's been married 4 or 5 times) is a bigger threat to the institution of marriage than two men standing peacefully in line waiting to ride Mission Space with their child.
I hope you can agree with that assessment.
I'm fine with being conservative. I've been that way all my life. But if we're going to do it, let's do it right. Let's be honest about what threatens our values and make sure that we are making the right demands and holding the right people accountable for fulfilling them.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire