Monday, September 25, 2017

47 years of me!

Today is my 47th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Me!

I decided to write this post ahead of time because I felt I might want to add something before it automatically pops up on my actual birthday and also I felt that I wanted to share some thoughts with everyone as the days leading up to it are often filled with reflections on years past.

The majority of my birthdays throughout my life I've spent without my family.  To most people that must seem a pretty alien concept.  When I see so many people around me celebrating their birthdays around people they grew up with and care about, it's often been a day of isolation and a reminder that I've always had to find my own way to enjoy a day that many take for granted as a day they get to spend with loved ones.

It's been 30 years since I celebrated any of my birthdays with my actual family.  My grandparents always went out of the way to keep in touch with me over the years and we would talk on the phone and they would send me cards or care packages in the mail.  I always loved their determination to keep me close no matter how far I was from home.

Now with my grandparents gone for nearly 7 years, this year seems like it could be especially lonely as my folks and I have never really managed to reconnect and my father is in poor health and his memory is failing as a result of dementia and other complications.

My dad and I have had a strained relationship over the years although I always found him easier to talk to than my mother.  I knew what his reactions would be and he always had this air of sarcasm surrounding him that made it really hard to know if he was serious or taking jabs at me.  He never really tried to become a friend over the years even though I had not lived under the same roof with my mother and he since right after I turned 16 even when I expressed to them that the only way that I could see us ever getting along was for them to learn how to become my friends.  A plea in my middle 20's that went ignored even to this day.

By the end of this year I will have been out and living on my own for 31 years.  It's hard for me to know how to feel about that most days.  Part of me wants to be overjoyed for the fact that I'm still here but the other part of me feels this huge hole in my life and I'm not really sure what to do about it anymore.

I'm not from some broken home but in a way our home was broken.  As much as family meant to my grandparents it didn't seem to have the same meaning to my parents.  Somehow things got left by the side of the road and the things that mattered about family got lost.  What happened to the values that my grandparents cared about?  That sense of family and seeing each other seemed to have died even before they passed away.

I hope that this year I can find something in my day to give me more hope for the birthdays to come.  I want to be happy and really enjoy these days as my days ahead become fewer but with some luck the things I learn and the wisdom I hope to acquire becomes something to continue building my life around.

Birthdays are supposed to be times of happiness.  So I hope that this year I can find a way to bring a little more joy into the spirit of my day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Being truly hated.

For as long as I can remember Republicans were always labeled as the enemy of the gay community.  That's not to say that Democrats weren't just as offended by the gay community and against gay rights because if you look at the last 50 years it's pretty clear that both sides of the political fence equally agreed that gay people didn't deserve the same rights and protections that had been fought for by women and minorities.

Socially, being part of the gay community and coming out to people as a conservative seems to be as much a shock as it has become hated by those in the community.  The very idea that you could possibly agree with Republicans on a great many issues is alien to the progressives that now rule the Democratic Party.  Gay people react with vitriol and often can't even fathom the idea because they have never once considered the view of the other side.

Worse yet is the fact that in schools and on our televisions there are images each and every single day now that demonize people that don't believe in what they're told to believe.  Teachers throwing kids out of classes because they have Trump shirts on or conservative speakers being violently shut down by protesters and so 'anti-fascists' that are seen often wearing masks to hide the crimes they intend to commit.

When one of the most prominent voices in the conservative gay community started gaining attention the media and the left were all too happy to start constant and repeated attacks on Milo.  They rioted at Berkeley to prevent him from speaking yet this is supposed to be the college that believes in the free speech movement.

There is a true hatred for Milo and those like him because he makes sense and speaks his mind and doesn't care about the damage he inflicts so long as he's being truthful and sincere.  It's just that simple.  It's not because he is saying things that are outright lies and basing his arguments on things without substance that he's hated.  He's hated because he can make a solid argument based upon facts and numbers that demonstrate the points he's making.  The truth makes Milo 'Dangerous' as is the title of his new book.

While I'm far from being Milo, I grasp the intensity of the hatred people have for him because I have had those same reactions from people when I explain to them that I'm a conservative.

It's become a dangerous thing in modern America to admit that you're a Conservative let alone being a gay conservative.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What is a conservative, really?

When I tell people that I am a conservative and that I am also gay the reactions can be pretty interesting.

The more aggressive responses can be very brutal on either side of the political and social spectrum.  Other gay people would call me 'self loathing' and a number of expletives while progressives in general feel that I am brainwashed or a complete idiot while those on the far right say that I can't be a conservative because I am a Godless heathen and the like.

The fact is that I'm a conservative in the only way that truly matters.  Constitutionally.

The Constitution does not define religion or social beliefs.  As a matter of fact it goes out of it's way to avoid such things and pass a great many things on to the states and local authorities.  This seems to have always been a good system in the past because it allowed communities to deem what is right and good for their own people.

Now not all of that was well and good and allowed for some pretty harsh injustices to go on over the decades but in a very basic way the core values of the Constitution came to prevail over time.  The laws that rule our land gave way to assuring a definition of fair law and voice for all people because it was the people who ultimately voted for those laws and assured that our highest rights were observed for all people equally.

Does that mean that all laws and all people are viewed equally under the law today?  Absolutely not but that's because issues have clouded the basics of our Constitution and what it was meant to preserve for all people in our country.

Most people would assume if I tell them I am gay before getting to know me, that I must obviously be a Democrat.  That's the automatic assumption of gays in America.  The problem is that the Democratic Party doesn't represent the things that our country was founded upon and the Republican Party has lost it's way as well and has become overrun with elitist types that are only there for money and power.  This is what makes it really easy for me to find my place in the political quagmire that our country has become.

The values our founding fathers took the time to lay out were revolutionary.  They gave a clear path ahead for a people that wanted to share ideas and all have an equal voice to their views but at the end of the day all people to afford such freedom would have to learn to endure views that were not always shared by others.

For example:  The 1st amendment has a range of protections for individuals right to speak freely, a free press, the freedom to worship as you choose.    That being said let's take religious beliefs for example.  Freedom of Religion does also mean that if you choose to be free of religion in your own right, you do so have the right to do just that.  This is a truly Constitutionally conservative view.

In my view the Constitution has the majority of answers built in so that it can answer a great many things if we look at the document and the words of our framers that are written and easily found for every single person in the age of the Internet.

The Republican party is full of Conservative voices but a good number of those voices are social and religious conservatives that have ideas which exclude certain people from having the same rights.

The Democrats are guilty of these very same things but the difference is that instead of being honest about it they have time and again pandered to the gay community telling people they are going to charge ahead in a fight for 'equal rights' that already exists under the Constitution but do nothing to advance the cause until they need votes.

As I said, the rights already exist if you look at the Constitution.  It prohibits the establishment of religion which also would include the idea that religious conservatives have about the issue of marriage.  You cannot base a law on religious views and say that marriage is sacred to religion and therefore no one else has a right with exception to those they say can be married.  This literally tramples on the 'Establishment Clause' because if Congress cannot establish laws regulating the free exercise of religion it also by default means that those who are not compelled to believe in a given spiritual faith are to be governed by law which protects a so called 'religious' institution.

This as I said, is a truly conservative view.  It means that there is no separate but equal.  It means that everyone that believes at the very least in the institution of marriage should have the right to exercise their rights to protect their loved ones and relationship since there is established laws governing legal unions.

The bottom line is that I look to the Constitution for answers on the issues.  I don't want to force anything on anyone.  I just want equality under the law for myself, those I love, and everyone that is a citizen in this country.  I believe the Constitution spells out the role of government and protects the people but we just have to exercise the rights we already have rather than trying to create new and special laws that create more problems than they resolve.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hi! I'm Rob...

...And I'm a gay conservative.

At the time I am writing this I am 46 years old and soon to be 47 at the end of this month.  I've had a very interesting journey to find my way to where I am at in the world today and I'd like to take some time out to share that with people online.

Today what I am saying is even more unpopular than it was originally when I made the decision that the path I was leading and the views I had were utterly and completely wrong.  It's like coming out again but this time instead of it straight people that I was scared to tell about my sexual preference, it literally can be terrifying to confront gay people and out yourself as a conservative.

My choice to start writing about my life and the things I have gone through is in part a means for me to deal with all that I have gone through as much as it is to share with others the flip side of a coin and tell a brutally honest story about how I managed to come to where I am today.  From being a Democrat in spirit when I was younger, to growing up and repeatedly falling on my face and picking up the pieces and starting over again... until I came to a point in my life where I literally was forced to do something for the sake of my own survival.

You see, it so happens that back in 2010 I ended up in the hospital.  I was there for a five day stay that ended up becoming a life changing event for me.  It was just over a week after I had turned 40 and I came to end up hospitalized for congestive heart failure.  My whole life came to a halt and I was forced to fight the government just to get basic disability benefits because my condition at the time was so bad.  It is a fight that lasted nearly four years before I finally had my day in court and won my case in front of a judge.

Never in my life had I been forced to take a handout from the government and it really did a number on me because I had always been able to provide for myself.  I had started a lawn care company after being in Information Technology for the better part of 20 years.  I wanted to work with my hands and be outdoors and live a healthier lifestyle.  I was working out 3 to 5 days a week, had a personal trainer, and even was caring for my grandmother until she passed away in May of 2010.  As a matter of fact not only did she pass away that year but both of my grandparents on my dad's side of the family passed away that year too.

So on top of health issues cropping up I lost three of the people I cared about very dearly because they were my closest connections to my family, all passed away and everything I had been trying to build and do for myself was suddenly collapsing and I had no idea what to do or how to rebuild after losing nearly everything that mattered to me in a matter of months.

Today I am still living on disability but I am working every so hard to turn that around to where I can stand on my own two feet.  Today I am eating better, have sought out medical help to start me on a path to being able to be independent and able to contribute to my relationship with my partner of nearly 5 years.  I'm fighting each and every day to better myself and to start holding myself accountable for my own future again.

I've fought through bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and a number of health issues related to my heart and weight.  I'm still working on these things each and every day but I have a positive outlook and ambition to spare.  I get up each day and I try to better myself because I want the person I love to find pride in having me a part of his life as well I crave the satisfaction of making myself proud to contribute something and be someone important if but to no one else than my friends and family.

In some ways my life and who I am seem to be in contradiction yet I see where I am as a story that might help others and certainly is going to help me to feel better if but for no other reason than the fact I am spilling my guts somewhere that I can go back and read someday.  I can hope that some of the things I talk about resonate with others and with some luck find some feedback that helps me learn and grow as a person.  Ultimately my goal is just to talk about things that matter and share my memories and life with others.

I'm just like so many other people out there.  Lost but looking for the way through.  My life helped me to get to the place where I think as I do now and it's my hope that other people in the gay community will see some of what I am saying and relate to it as well.  It felt like I was coming out again when I told others in the gay community that I am a conservative.  People that I knew who are lifelong Democrats and friends with for years cut me off and whether they knew it or not, the treated me just like many parents treat their children when they come out as being gay.  There was no difference in how it made me feel.  The rejection and the hatred were every bit as harsh.

I want to tell the other side of the story.  That's why I'm here.