About The Curse

By my mid-20s I had read more Ayn Rand in a year than Paul Ryan had in his entire life. My information diet was Fox News, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. I could pull a right-wing talking point out of a hat faster than a magician.

I had one foot planted in conservative libertarianism and the other in what we call today “barstool conservatism”.

I voted for John McCain and George H.W. Bush twice.

But somewhere between 2008 and 2012 I started to suspect that my view of the world wasn’t accurate. As painful as it was to admit, I had been wrong about a great many things. The voices I held up as authorities, the people I looked to on the radio and television to inform my perspective were liars.

There was no singular dramatic event that changed my perspective. I could point to the influence of friends, or the inability to reconcile GOP policy with conservatism, but those were only pieces of the puzzle. Most significant is that I wanted to see myself as being informed. It was not enough for me to wield conservative talking points, I had to understand them.

The problem was, the more informed I became, the more conservatism seemed like a catch-all for failed ideas that refused to die. Those ideas had been kept on life support by people who benefited from them and found a willing flock in those who didn’t but – for a variety of reasons – could not or would not discard them. To be conservative was to remain uninformed. To be conservative and informed was to ignore reality. To remain a conservative required me to ignore the reality that most conservative ideas were harmful.

I began a journey towards liberalism. Every step of the way I checked myself against a conservative roadmap for any indication that I was on the wrong path, but not a single conservative principle could hold up to scrutiny. The ideas that had been my foundation had always been a ruin.

Then came the morning of November 9th, 2016. I awoke with a hangover. Across from my bed sat a withered crone dressed in black. She grinned at me through broken yellow teeth as she steepled her fingers.

“What happened?” I asked.

“The unthinkable,” she replied, her grin widening with delight.

“Who are you? Why are you here?” I gasped in disbelief.

She leaned towards me with sparkling dark eyes. “You were once a right-wing conservative. You drank too deeply from the cup of conservative propaganda. You have echoed those perjuries that now poison the minds of your countrymen. For your crimes, you are now cursed.”

“I have changed!” I protested.

“From this day forth you shall be bound to argue with conservatives not unlike your younger self. You shall quarrel on social media, and squabble face to face,” she explained.

“That doesn’t sound like such a bad curse,” I replied.

“But,” her voice grew quiet. “None of your arguments, no matter how strong, shall ever change their mind.”


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