Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

A Glimpse at the Conservative Mindset


Today as I headed to my car to offload items needed for work (I do my professional canning in the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries’ commercial kitchen) I stopped to chat with a car going out the entrance into the parking lot. I wanted to ask him if he had ever read Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman in the late 60s, but he started the conversation in a different frame of mind.

“Do you see all the homeless sleeping here?” he asked, aggravation in his voice.

“Sure did,” I answered, “and I feel bad for them….it is 43 degrees now at 8a.m.. No one chooses to sleep out in cold weather if they have an opportunity for a warm and dry bed.”

“Well, it’s a damn shame. I see them smoking. If they quit smoking they could save their money and get a place to live.”

I told him how our experience just two years ago cost us almost $2500 in first and last month rent and a security deposit. “That’s a lot of time not smoking to save that up.”Savings-target1

He countered, “Someone needs to do something about it.”

“Who do you think should do something and what should they do?”  I asked, keeping my voice as neutral as possible.

His agitation increased, “I don’t know but someone needs to! I’ve lived here for 50 years and it wasn’t always like this!”

“I know,” I murmured, “there are a lot of problems now that did not exist 50 years ago, even 5 years ago.”

“Yeah!” he was urgent. “There weren’t all these hispanics. All these gay people.,…they stayed hiding then. No niggers too. No druggies.”

Okay, it was apparent he believed that the people who were suffering were at fault but if I hadn’t realized it before it was clear he was a bigot.  I kept my voice calm, “We here at the Coop do what we can to help them and there are others in town who also are working hard to try to get them off the street. But, ” I added, “I also agree things are not what they used to be.  I wonder why their families are not helping them.”

Oh I got an earful then. His own daughter, age 35, is living on the street. He won’t let her come home because she has a Latino boyfriend and if “he came over I would have to shoot him. So she choses to live her way.”Homeless-Sign

No wonder, I thought.  So I added some fuel to get him thoughts.

I asked him, “I wonder why children, like your daughter don’t learn good work ethic from their parents, like you.”

Ahhh, turned out although he had worked some in his adult life he had been an alcoholic. and his life had not been a smooth path. His wife left him and she was a fool with the next man, according to his judgement. He said he had another daughter in prison.role-model-6-728

So, I pushed my point, “So perhaps you did not quite show them the kind of way to be a productive member of society, to learn how to nurture relationships to help the people close to you through hard times?”

He glared at me (perhaps I was lucky he only glared) and suggested “Someone needs to do something!” and he drove out…the entrance. See, the rules do not apply to him, after all.

I hear and read a lot of comments from the conservative people on my Facebook feed that we need to return to the way America was in the 1950s and early 60s.  I remind them, first of all, we all were pretty young then and our viewpoint of the way society was then was not an adult perspective. Any analysis read now that puts it all in a golden perfect society seems to forget that women were considered to need to be at home and let their husbands tell them what to think,  that Jim Crow laws  existed throughout the South and in many other areas, the Cold War provided pretty constant fear of annihilation, the McCarthy hearings in Congress  served as a Communist witch hunt,  that Jews and other minorities were restricted from country clubs, some schools and some neighborhoods.  It was NOT a golden time for most. Just white Protestant men.

So now, who is leading the charge to bring America back to those days. White men.accept

And they complain….and blame the victims. They have no ideas for solutions, but say “SOMEONE” needs to do ‘SOMETHING”  but not with their tax money and since they do not participate in civic volunteer activities of that sort, not with their personal effort.

I did not get to ask him my punchline, “Do you consider yourself a Christian?”  Most bigots do. Pretty amazing.  Maybe they read a different Bible than I do. They certainly do not follow the teachings of Christ.


Author: GoingPlaces Can-Do Zero Waste

I moved to McMinnville a few years ago and was impressed with its friendliness and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. I write several blogs. GoingPlacesLivingLife is my personal blog related to travel, food and just general thoughts. Can-Do Real Food tells about my business processing local produce from small farms and preserving it by canning and dehydrating. The concept of Zero Waste appeals to me because we can truly reduce what gets tossed into the landfill with very small changes in our lifestyle. Join us.

8 thoughts on “A Glimpse at the Conservative Mindset

  1. I’ve run across many men like this, including my husband, and they irritate me to no end. I didn’t know my husband was like this until our son was born and we had to go downtown Denver. We saw so many homeless people and the more we saw, the madder he got. By the time we were done, he was grumping about the homeless and how someone should do something about it. During our argument was the first time he’s ever hit me.

    Thankfully I’ve been able to stay at home and teach my sons how they SHOULD be, compassionate and loving toward their fellow man. They are 12 and 16 and are already working on the homeless issues. My 16 yo has a plan for a tiny house community for the homeless and the youngest has gone with my numerous times to feed the homeless.

    Husband doesn’t approve of our passions but he doesn’t tell ME what to do. I’m a stubborn Southern woman and I’m NOT going to have MY boys raised to be assholes.

    • Oh dear…..having lived with an angry man, I can only imagine and your “the first time” was sad to read. The truth of it is somewhere inside him where he is so afraid of being alone he drives people away. That was the man I met….he may have seen a glimmer of the truth as I lead him through the logic. I’ve lived in the South and I know the phrase Steel Magnolia is well earned. HUgs

  2. Beth – Unfortunately, I think, we’ll never get our point across to people like the “gentleman” you were talking to. Especially those like him…and, interestingly, we learn that his children didn’t turn out so good either. “Somebody needs to do something,”…say like why didn’t you bring up your kids to have a sense of responsibility and compassion. Why didn’t YOU do something? Ah, well, you couldn’t say that to him…and I probably wouldn’t have either. I probably would have gotten into my car, shook my head knowingly, and moved on without giving him much more thought. You see, you wrote a narrative about him; unlike me, who tries to put bigots as far out-of-reach as possible!

    • Milt, I guess by the way he drove off I had hit him with his personal failure….not that it will stick. Afterall, in one statement it was clear the failure of his marriage was his wife’s fault.So he seemed to be the type of person who ducks personal responsibility….the problem is so many people do exactly that.

  3. You have a whole bunch more patience talking to folks like this than I do! I pretty much see it as a lost cause and just get frustrated.

  4. Totally awesome. Thank you for sharing this story!

    • I know there are other conservatives who ARE involved…this man, however, seems to reflect the anger and frustration I hear from so many. UNfortunately, they do nothing to help solve the issues. Thanks for reading

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