lookingforlissa

Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Why the emphasis on “the dark side”?

Posted by Lissa on November 5, 2009

Someone asked me yesterday why I keep referencing the fact that I was a liberal and now I’m not.

Why, she asked, do you need to keep repeating that?  Why continually talk about going over to “the dark side”?

I thought about it.  Why DO I keep referencing my former days as a liberal?  Why not just state what I think NOW, and why, and leave it at that?

I muddled over it and came up with a few explanations:

1) Desire to define myself in opposition. Mike habitually rejects labels like Republican, conservative etc.; he’s more likely to look at the crazier liberal/Democrat initiatives or politicians and say, “Well, I know I’m not THAT.”  Perhaps I’m doing the same.

2) Desire to assure readers that “some of my best friends are liberals.” Only instead of “some of my best friends,” it’s “I was a liberal.”  One of the more common complaints for conservatives/Republicans/anti-statists is that liberals don’t just think we’re wrong, they think we’re evil. Since I held very different views in the past than I hold now, how I can I think that folks who currently hold my prior views are evil?  I don’t, anymore than I was evil for holding those views.  Which leads into. . .

3) Desire to assure readers that I don’t take things too seriously. I have some readers who stop by just for the kitty pix, and who think that all the stuff I write about politics and guns is flat-out wrong, if not plain crazy.  I’m okay with that.  I use the tongue-in-cheek references about going over to the dark side to wryly acknowledge that some folks think I’m nuts.  And who knows?  I might be.  *grin*

4) Desire to make it easier for disagreeing folks to dismiss me. This would be an unhappy tendency, but I think it does exist.  I don’t go seeking out conflict in my real life; the opinions I state in plain black and white here I wouldn’t say out loud in most common gatherings.  When I do end up in political discussions, I usually end up saying to the effect of, ‘Well, I feel differently, I think XYZ, but that’s just me (shrug).”  I have friends who disagree entirely with an anti-statist/conservative/whatever-you-call-it viewpoint, and I don’t want politics to interrupt our friendship; I’d rather laughingly call myself an “evil conservative” and brush it off, then get into a serious discussion of why I think what I do.  (Is this the coward’s way out?  Do I not want to make them uncomfortable, or am I afraid that I couldn’t effectively argue my views?  Hmmm.)

So . . . . I think all the reasons stated above hold true to some extent.  Would my writing be more effective if I left out the “I used to think X” part and just stated “I think Z and here’s why”?

I’d give you a definitive answer, but, well, only half a mug of coffee’s gone down my gullet.  Takes more than that to get a definitive answer from an evil conservative 😉  BWAHAHAHA!!!!!

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4 Responses to “Why the emphasis on “the dark side”?”

  1. I think you do fine. A few of my best friends are flaming liberals and sometimes I have to remind myself not to bite too hard when I bite my lip to keep from saying something, but it is worth it.

    One particular friend was terrified of guns, but she no longer seems to have any problems when I (a self avowed “gun toting anarchist”) am in her home and (almost always) “packing iron”. I keep telling her to join the dark side (we have cookies) but she says she is a diabetic and Obama is going to get her free health care. One of these days the health care bill might pass and she will see how expensive it really is. I don’t know if an I-told-you-so is going to be appropriate at that time, but hey, I’m an evil conservitive type so who cares if it is appropriate.

  2. I’m proud to present my former-liberal status simply because it means I’ve not very likely a Right-Wing Zealot (and when you look at where I stand on the issues I’m really not). I was a liberal…I ended up looking at the issues long and hard, decided that wasn’t the best route to go, and changed course.

    It’s called being objective and smart!

  3. wolfwalker said

    At the risk of sounding like a pshrynk (a profession which I view largely with contempt), may I suggest another reason not on your list? Consistently saying things like “evil conservative” and “I used to be a liberal then I turned to the dark side” might mean that at some level you feel guilty about your change in viewpoint and political allegiance, and are punishing yourself for that. Which is Not A Good Thing. You get enough criticism that you don’t deserve from other people; why add any more to that load?

    It might also be a form of protest, as in “if I have to follow liberal beliefs to be considered enlightened, then I’d rather be on the dark side.”

    Or it might simply be sarcasm: to people who know you well, calling yourself “evil” is a joke; if someone takes it literally, that’s proof they don’t know you well.

    Then again, it might not mean anything at all, except that you think it’s funny.

  4. Brad K. said

    Lissa,

    Perhaps. Perhaps the arguments and thinking and changed perspectives are still fresh in your mind, and you want to let others know about how you changed (and they might, too) as much as what you changed to.

    And maybe you are still mad at the liberals that started you on the wrong path to the dark side.

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