Why do conservatives seem to more readily change their mind on issues I write about?

I realized today that I’ve been at this blogging thing for almost a year now. Last April I began putting the pieces of this blog together and published my introduction post on April 27.  To me now, it reads like I’m a nervous wreck about to take my first sky dive.

It’s a little self-indulgent, so forgive me, but I wanted to pause for a moment to thank readers and share an observation or two.

First, thank you. All of you. Thank you to anyone who has shared their time with me by reading my work. It is an honor that I don’t know if I will ever get over.

It is also an honor to hear from people who feel that a particular post shares sentiments they can relate to, like when I hear from individuals or family members who are grateful to read articles that try to reverse the stigma of poverty, mental illness or substance use disorders.

I love the feedback from my fellow independents out there. It’s been a relief to learn that I am not alone. We may be a disparate bunch from all across the socioeconomic spectrum, but we exist. We’re sick and tired of the status quo.

I am especially grateful to readers who take the time to read my stuff even if they are inclined to disagree. I have been deeply honored and moved to hear from readers who say that, even if they disagree, they appreciate that I raised a particular issue in a different light. And I’ve been blown away a few times when I’ve heard from readers that a particular post actually changed their minds.

When one of my regular conservative readers emailed me that message after one of my more trying “welfare reform” posts, I teared up a bit. It was such a huge compliment because the post in question had been a particularly challenging one to write, and I had been having mixed feelings about putting myself out there that way. I can’t thank that reader enough.

Which brings me to my observation, especially in the wake of my posts regarding Rep. Diane Russell’s political action committee. Because I found the expenditures of her PAC unfavorable, I took heat for not supporting a Democratic politician who professes to be for the people and with whom I may share certain viewpoints. I am troubled by the idea that some liberal readers felt I have an obligation to align with any behavior related to a Democrat just because he or she is a Democrat.

I’m not even a Democrat, so how condescending and elitist is that? What exactly is it about my life that says I have to align with Democrats? My color? My status in more than one marginalized population? Does being a poor single mom mean I am not allowed to speak with a mind of my own?

Who decided Democrats have infallibility when it comes to us poor folk?

I find this need for Democrats to walk in lock step with each other and their insistence that others do the same very unsettling. Let’s go back to readers contacting me for a second. When people wrote to say they appreciated a different perspective or had changed their minds about an issue, they were invariably conservatives writing in response to pieces with more of a liberal stance.

I don’t recall a single contact from a liberal conceding such things on any issues where my stance could be considered conservative.

There may have been one, but the contact did not specify to which post he was referring. I had let the contact backlog pile up so high, I had no way of knowing, either.

A couple times this past year, I’ve posted thoughts about partisanship and about my weariness with our linear, left-or-right-only ways to approaching policy and governance. In one I talked about the science behind our need to cling to our belief systems even in face of evidence suggesting we do the contrary. I’m hoping I can convince some of my liberal readers to read it again (click here) because we need to start looking at things from a broader perspective.

I’d like to think that all my liberal friends, who I know are sincere in their desires to uplift marginalized populations, would respect that this marginalized mom is free to agree with you sometimes, to agree with conservatives sometimes, and to disagree with both of you sometimes because I think this whole two-party thing is tired and broken.

And in my opinion, when it comes to these leadership PACs, whether Republican or Democrat, they are a big part of what is broken.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.