|If you haven't already guessed, I am indeed a proud conservative Republican (more proud of the "conservative"
than the "Republican" of late). I developed an intense interest in politics and current events in my early teens, and
credit much of my formal introduction to such things to my 10th grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. Bennett. I
recieved a Bachelors degree at the University of Utah in Political Science and a minor in Japanese. I even briefly
considered a future with the State Department. During my college years I was an unabashed liberal Democrat,
but, then again, who isn't at that age, right? I did volunteer work with Utah Democrat Congressman Wayne
Owens, the Utah Democratic Party, and other Democrat candidates. I wrote well received papers arguing against
Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative and in support of sanctions against South Africa. I also chose to act as San
Francisco Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi in a semester long mock Congress exercise. So, in short, I was a well
entrenched and very conscious liberal. I'm not ashamed of this fact, but I'm also not embarrassed to admit I was
terribly mistaken and misguided. My political evolution has since turned me a complete 180 degrees from the
politcal ideas I held at that time. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I credit this change to maturity, education, life
experience, and years of self-reflection and contemplation.
The evolution of my social outlook and political motives is one that took place over time, yet shifted significantly
over the course of only a couple of years (1991-1993). Three events occurred during this time which had a
powerful influence on me and initiated a distinctly different way of thinking. The first was a span of several
months spent living and working in Canada, where I was exposed to a press and culture which was liberal and bias
to a degree I hadn't noticed or experienced personally in the U.S.. There were some lovely people in Canada, but
hardly anyone was very politically aware. Most merely accepted what they saw on the controlled television news or
in the myopic, uniform coverage of the newspapers. I was struck by both the implied and more overt anti-American
sentiment of the Canadian press, which was so often coupled with a stunning ignorance of the United States. I
made a good friend while living in Canada, a smart, funny guy from Vancouver named Stuart. He was a couple of
years younger and an admitted conservative. He was lonely in his political views in Canada, but he enjoyed
discussing politics with me because it was a topic of mutual interest. I credit him with initiating some new
thinking for me about conservatives and certain conservative principles. Perhaps the fact these views came from a
young Canadian who was intelligent, soft-spoken, and kind made them more palatable.
The second thing which served as a catalyst for my change in political outlook was the election of Bill Clinton in
1992. I voted for Clinton (with reservation), but within months of his presidency I was struck with feelings of
discomfort about him and his administration. I wasn't able to articulate it at the time, but there was something
that was suspect and disingenuous about Clinton and his staff (including Hilary) which just didn't sit right with
me on an intuitive level.
Then in the summer of 1993 I purchased Rush Limbaugh's second book "See, I Told You So." I had begun
watching Rush on his short-lived TV show in late 1992 after having moved to Honolulu. I began watching in order
to laugh at him and his pompous manner. It also didn't hurt that the subject matter of politics and the issues of
the day were interesting to me. I assumed his ideas to be patently "ridiculous" and "ignorant." In my mind he was
simply a fat, big-mouth, who had some very questionable fashion sense. His TV show was soon off the air, but
something about him had it's hooks in me and I began to tune into his radio show. Well, I love radio, and I love
topical political subject matter. I had also grown to like certain aspects of Rush's personality and approach to his
viewers/listeners (arrogant, funny, optimistic). So it wasn't surprising that I soon would become a regular listener.
The more I listened and pondered what was being said, the more I realised that much of what underlie my beliefs
were not at all far removed from that of my former political "enemies" (conservatives/Republicans). However, this
new thinking didn't begin to really solidify until I bought and read Rush's book. It was historical yet relevant to the
present. It was funny yet made serious points via it's humor. Most importantly it was logical, passionate, articulate,
and sincere. I was converted, not by the book, but by the accumulation of everything which had helped to mold me
and my thinking; those things which helped to bring me to the point where I could process these experiences and
that particular information with a sincere desire to find truth. Sounds religious don't it? It wasn't. But it was a life
affirming process, and gave me access to a fresh, optimistic, and invigorating new way of viewing the vitally
important world of politics and social matters.