I grew up in El Paso, which is on the border with Mexico. Literally. I could see the colonias made up of cardboard and pallet homes from the parking lot at UTEP (my undergrad). All of the Pinterest upcycling of pallets is hilarious to me since people in some parts of the world have to use those for actual homes and they’re being treated as the latest medium for crafts. UTEP is a commuter school made up of mostly first generation students, 77% Hispanics, and the average family income for many students is only $20,000. Family income, not single person.
Anyway, I’m the granddaughter of a staunch “straight ticket” democrat who worked to campaign for President John F. Kennedy. I went with my grandpa on voter and petition drives.
I went to SMU School of Law. I’m really proud of my time there and I love my alma mater. If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the campus, in the heart of Dallas, you should. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Aside from the reasons I chose SMU, I probably would still have enrolled had they only showed me the graduation ceremony, that’s how amazing and elaborate it is. They display flags representing all of the countries students are from. I think there were about 25 at my graduation.
SMU is also absolutely republican and located in a predominantly white part of Dallas where the median income is about $100k. The undergrads fit the stereotype that you would assume they do, complete with giant “SECEDE!” banner plastered across a fraternity house. That’s not to say that everyone is driving around in a brand new Range Rover while shopping with daddy’s credit card.
But the law school was different. We were all “regular” people from all different backgrounds, but we all got along and we never had the drama that bigger law schools do. No backstabbing, no hiding books, no sabotaging our classmates. Yes, that actually happens. No, I don’t get it either.
I don’t think any less of people that think differently than I do. I don’t dislike people who don’t see things my way, or people who voted for the other guy. That’s not the way things work in the United States. We’re all entitled to our own beliefs and that’s the beauty of living here, right? Our life experiences and encounters with others contribute to our ever evolving thoughts and beliefs.
So when it comes to politics, it’s sad that people get ugly. They fight on a dirty level. They make things personal. I hate it.
It’s easier to just stay quiet than to have the unpopular opinion. But why should I have to? Why should I be ashamed of what I believe in?
I’m totally going on a limb saying this, but here goes…
I watched the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library yesterday and it was AWESOME. I was so incredibly proud of Texas, of SMU, and of W. I was moved to tears (literally) as I saw George H.W. Bush (41) begin to speak proudly about his son, only after W. told him, “it’s on Daddy,” as he fiddled with his microphone. Despite his frailty, he struggled to stand up from his chair and was given an ovation.
I was moved as W. gave his speech, professing his love for his wife and girls, and his new granddaughter. Then he got choked up with emotion at the end and it was clear that this Library meant so much to him, both as a President and as a person. But more importantly that his parents were alive to see it.
He’s a regular guy at the end of the day, just like me, just like you. At the end of the day, politics aside, we are all human beings with thoughts and feelings.
I’m not ashamed that I watched the entire ceremony and loved it.
I’m not ashamed that I cannot wait to go visit and take the girls.
I’m not ashamed that I am a Republican, even if I don’t agree with everything the party does.
I’m not ashamed to say I believe that gay rights are important.
I’m not ashamed that I think we should have the right to own guns, but I don’t think anyone should be able to own an automatic weapon.
I’m not ashamed that I am open to all ideas and don’t think there’s one right way to anything.
I may be middle of the road, and probably far too liberal for most conservatives, but at the end of the day, politics are just words. It’s what you truly believe that matters.
I have my beliefs and they may not be popular, but I’m proud of them.