We’re All Conservatives.
(ThyBlackMan.com) “For The Lord’s sake, respect all human authority: whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.”
That’s from the New Living Translation of 1 Peter 2:14. Those are words of wisdom. I’m not sure how my Democratic friends and neighbors will view this op-ed column of mine, but this bears repeating. I say what I mean – and I mean what I say. And what I’m saying is this: when all is said and done, we Americans are far more alike than we think. In my last column, I made the intellectual argument that all Americans are liberal. Today, I’m reversing course. If you ask me, it’s clear that we’re all conservatives.
Conservatism is defined as a political and social philosophy which promotes the retention of traditional social institutions as they relate to culture and civilization. Conservatives believe that societal order must be preserved, and they typically oppose efforts to bring about profound societal change. Folks, there’s nothing wrong with that concept. In theory, it makes a lot of sense. The methodology is where the flaws reside.
If you’ve ever done anything to preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – for yourself or for those who love – you’re by definition a conservative. The fact that you want the United States of America to maintain its elite status in the world essentially makes you conservative.
I’m a Democrat, a progressive, and a liberal. Here’s the flip side of that coin: I’m actually conservative in many aspects of my life, and I’m willing to bet that you are, too. In fact, I’m quite certain that you are. Need proof?
Allow me to use myself as an example. I’m conservative when it comes to social settings. I’ll go third-person here. Don’t look for Reverend Jones at your favorite bar, nightclub, or at certain restaurants (like Hooters). If I cook better than the head chef of an eating establishment, there’s no need for me to patronize said establishment. I’m conservative in how I dress. I’m conservative in how I spend my money. I’m extremely conservative about preserving my body (no smoking, no alcohol, no drugs). I observe the laws of man in general, and the laws of God in particular. There are times and situations when being conservative really is the best course of action. You cannot do or say anything you wish without consequences. Wouldn’t you agree?
Consider American society in the postmodern world. We all like a certain degree of order – or normalcy – in our lives. That’s the case in our finances, our relationships, our hobbies, our workplaces, the state of our mind-body-spirit, and even in our houses of worship. It isn’t that we fear change or are opposed to change per se. Many people like change to occur slowly over time. Incrementally. However, it’s very easy to get comfortable. It’s not hard to find an individual or an institution entrapped in the clash of tradition/history/culture versus changing times.
Consider patriotism. I remember the days immediately following 9/11. I lived in suburban Atlanta at the time. Everywhere I went then, I saw American flags displayed. I saw Americans – friends and strangers, young and old, black and white – being kind and patient with one another. I recall the great sense of community everyone seemed to take part in. We were all in that dark time and place together. We were all unified firmly behind President George W. Bush. We were all conservatives.
Consider our system of laws. No matter what you hear on the evening news or read about in the newspaper, Americans respect law enforcement officers. I don’t even think that’s up for debate. All lives matter. Police lives matter. I would like nothing more than for every cop in every city to go home safely at the end of his/her shift every single day until their retirement. I would love it if every man, woman, and child in every neighborhood of every municipality were safe in their homes and on their streets every day. Sadly, neither is the case. As long as human beings are charged to protect and serve, some will not live up to the honor their badge commands. As long as human beings live and work in our cities and towns, some will choose not to obey our laws and statutes. In spite of these facts, the police are still worthy of our respect and compliance. In spite of these facts, citizens still deserve to be treated in a dignified manner by peace officers. If/when we need them, we expect them to respond. Some things change, but other things remain the same. After all, we’re Americans – and every American is conservative.
Think of our governance. I respect every Governor, Senator, Congressman, and President. I love them all. Where I’m from, these people were to be admired because they’re our legislators. Our representatives. The people we elected to address our issues. Those we entrust to help keep our nation great. The gridlock and utter partisanship of the past few years is deeply disappointing. Perhaps they’ve forgotten how special they truly are. Maybe they’ve lost sight of the fact that we’re all conservatives. I wonder if it would make a difference if they remembered.
All of us have red blood flowing warmly through our veins. All of us shed tears from the whites of our eyes whenever we cry. All of us love the sight of a clear blue sky on a sunny day. These are things we have in common. In these ways, we’re all the same.
In closing, I respect all human authority – for The Lord’s sake, your sake, my sake, and for Pete’s sake. It’s the right thing to do. I’m a conservative, just like you.
Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III
This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.