Throughout this country’s history, if you look at any pivotal moment (slavery, women’s suffrage, segregation, civil rights, gay rights, etc.) conservatives are on the wrong side of it.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that the vast majority of conservatives live in rural areas that, despite being the 21st century, aren’t all that much different than they were several decades ago.
As a person who’s lived in Texas my entire life, when I travel out to the eastern parts of my state to visit family, those small towns out there are still sparsely populated by the same families who’ve lived there generation after generation. While these areas have progressed some, shockingly, progress moves more at a glacier pace in these areas than it does in cities that are much more progressive.
Conservatives usually live in an isolated bubble surrounded by people who look, act, and think just like they do in areas of the country where there’s not a whole lot of outside influence.
If you live in a city, you’re forced to experience a much more diverse society. That’s not the case for a lot of conservatives. Many of these folks live in small towns that are mostly white with a Christian church seemingly on every corner. I’ve met plenty of conservatives who’ve never even really conversed in any sort of meaningful way with a Muslim, homosexual, or a transgender person — yet they have strong (usually negative) feelings about those groups.
For the most part, their existence, and what they believe about the world around them, is based on stereotypes — usually negative ones.
Conservatives thrive on fear, hate, racism, and bigotry because they’re cowards. They’re afraid of change, progress, and an ever-evolving world. They want the entire country to stay frozen in time like the tiny little towns they cherish.
The truth is, it takes courage to be progressive.
Not to say that it’s “courageous” to not be a bigot, racist, or overall terrible person. But it does take courage to be open to the idea of change. To resist the natural human condition to reject variation from the norm and accept things that are completely different from what you might be used to. It takes courage to step outside of a natural comfort zone to embrace and experience new things.
Those who led the charge to end slavery, give women the right to vote, do away with segregation, pass the Civil Rights Act, and push for equality for the LGBT community are the courageous ones. They dared to stand up against “the norm” and push for a better future for all Americans despite, at the time when they first began those battles, the majority of people being against them.
It’s the people who opposed them to the bitter end who were the cowards. They’re the ones who feared change. The ones who, instead of embracing things that are different, closed their minds and opposed anything and everything that was unfamiliar.
Donald Trump ascended to power largely hoisted up by these cowards. Fearful, paranoid, often even hateful people who were given a candidate who, despite lying to them with nearly every breath, told them what they wanted to hear. He nurtured their ignorance of the unknown and that which is different from what they’re used to, then fanned the flames of their cowardice.
It’s much easier to be fearful than hopeful. It’s much easier to hate that which is different than embrace it. It’s much easier to cling to outdated traditions than embrace new ones.
The bottom line is, it’s easy to be a conservative. All it takes is the willingness to give in to fear and allow yourself to live a cowardly life paranoid and afraid of change.
Progressives are the courageous ones who are willing to embrace change, be hopeful for our future, adapt to an ever-evolving world, and stand up against bigotry and hatred to bring about a better tomorrow.
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