In early 1992, I heard five words that were to drastically alter the course of my life. H. Ross Perot was on TV. He held up a toilet seat and said "The government paid $700.00 for this toilet seat." He then stated, "And this is public knowledge." Huh?
Perot then went on to outline more fascinating nuggets of information for which I had absolutely no knowledge. He pulled out charts and graphs and proceeded to inform me of a world of facts to which I had never been exposed.
Having long prided myself on being informed, I decided to educate myself on all this "public knowledge." What I found appalled and angered me. And changed my life forever.
For the first time in my life, I picked up a National Review magazine and started reading. I moved on to the Washington Times, American Spectator and various other conservative publications I had never been aware of before. The more I read, the angrier I got.
I had always assumed that if something was on TV or in the newspapers, it was correct. I always assumed that our elected officials knew better than I how to address the problems of our nation. I always assumed that my friends' opinions were more valid and informed than mine. I was 39 years old and just finding out how incredibly naive I was.
Having lived in Los Angeles since my teens, I was never exposed to any other than the liberal point of view. I made the mistake of assuming it was the only valid view, just as millions of other Americans still do.
I had adopted the views of the herd, assuming that since everyone felt that way, it was the right way to feel. Besides, I was too busy living my life to spend the time necessary to form my own views independently of my peers. I had taken the easy way out, accepting and spouting the currently fashionable talking points as my own. And patting myself on the back for being informed and knowledgeable. Ouch.
After reveling in government approved and politically correct self esteem for so many years, the descent into humility was painful. How naive was I to have blindly accepted so many premises without question? How ignorant was I to have advocated certain positions based on face value and cheap sound bites? How stupid was I to have allowed others to manipulate and exploit my ignorance? The answer: Pretty darn stupid.
The anger I felt stemmed from finally realizing that no matter how thin the pancake, there are always two sides. And I had only been exposed to one. That didn't set right. I felt I had been lied to my whole life. I responded by making it my mission to inform everyone I knew of the astonishing revelations I was finding on a daily basis. That was another big mistake.
I assumed everyone in my world would be just as appalled as I to find that things were not as they seemed. I studied, I amassed facts, I quoted sources, and I lectured. And I got yet another lesson in humility. Instead of applauding my efforts, my family, my friends, my husband and my co-workers sent me to the woodshed.
I soon realized that my facts took a back seat to their emotions. I found that the conservative point of view had been judged invalid years before I became aware of it. The case was already closed. Hadn't I heard?
I persisted. "But how can you dispute these facts?" I railed. I quickly found out. Liberals demolished my factual arguments by demonizing me, thus relieving themselves of the need to entertain or debate any facts that challenged their world view.
Being stubborn as well as stupid, I continued my quest to inform one and all of the error of their way of thinking. With predictable results. Soon, everyone in my world informed me that there must be something wrong with me. Eventually, I started to believe them, and finally decided to keep my opinions to myself.
I tried. For three years, I consciously tried to keep my mouth shut. I tried to go along to get along. I failed. Long story short: I lost my husband. I no longer speak with my feminist mother and my liberal siblings.
Having continued to read voraciously about all things conservative, I was exposed to the role Christianity played in our country's founding. After further research and soul searching, I eventually became a Christian. Learning to have faith in Christ enabled me to have faith in myself - and faith in my traditional and conservative views.
Eight years after my epiphany, and 33 years after moving to Los Angeles, I sold my home and business. I said good-bye to the few friends and family I still had, and left Los Angeles for good. I knew there had to be a place in the world where I could be myself without ticking everyone off.
After a lot of searching, I finally found it. It's called Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Here in this little fishing village, I have found peace and happiness. I can identify myself as a conservative without having to go stand in the corner. Here in South Carolina, I am normal. I am also the luckiest of women.