Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2006 (or "The Day I Became A Conservative")

Today is an interesting anniversary for me. It marks six years since I became a Conservative.

Previously, I had been a Democrat. Probably about as far right as you can go and still be a Democrat, but that was what I was at the time. I believed in a strong military, but had a certain tolerance for the government and its activities in dabbling in social programs.

But in the early 2000s, things started to change for me.

In a chance meeting in the late 1990s , I ran into a former TV actress named Lisa Loring, who had been hanging out with my sister. As a child, Loring had played Wednesday Addams in the hit TV show "The Addams Family" in the 1960s. One night when we were hanging out over at her place in Sherman Oaks, she suddenly grabbed my arm and asked if I had read "Atlas Shrugged". I told her I didn't know what she was talking about.

"You have to read it!", she said, grabbing my arm even tighter. "It is the most important book you will ever read! It will change your life!" Her intensity was a little unnerving... and I quietly wondered if she was under the influence of drugs. I told her I would look into it and later dismissed the whole episode.

However, a year or two later I remembered her intensity and did actually go buy the book. Good Lord, I thought..1200 pages..? Anyway, it took me many months to wind my way through it, but I did read the entire epic novel. Ayn Rand convinced me that Corporations were not evil...that they were made up of hard working men and women who operated honestly and offered products and services that made the lives of others better. It was government that was evil. Government used force...it stuck a gun in your back and said "You will do as I say." A corporation gives you the freedom to walk away. A government does not.

"Atlas Shugged" did actually change my life. That book, along with Barry Goldwaters "Conscience of A Conservative" became two of the factors that changed my future.

May 1, 2006 was the breaking point for me.

On that day, I woke up to the news that 500,000 foreign nationals, most of them from Mexico and Central America, were marching on the streets of my city-- demanding their "rights."

Wow. How do you react to something like this?

My first thought was of National Security. Sure, these 500,000 seemed to be marching peacefully. They were holding up signs and flags.

But what if they had been waving guns instead?

The sheer numbers of them could produce a standing army on our own soil. A troubling thought, indeed. Many of them were waving the Mexican flag, showing their loyalty to a different nation. How would the tiny Los Angeles Police Department, with 10,000 officers, stop an army of armed foreign nationals with 500,000 in their ranks? The answer? They couldn't! They would be outnumbered 50-1! I give our officers credit for being talented, but nobody is that good.

I realized immediately that we were reaping the whirlwind...paying a terrible price for horrible political decisions that turned a blind eye towards illegal immigration. What was to stop a march five years from now from having 1,000,000 participants? Or 2,000,000 marchers tens years after that?

As much as many Conservatives admire Ronald Reagan, he was not perfect. One of his catastrophic decisions was to grant amnesty to over 3 million illegal immigrants in the 1980s. This horrible decision sent two disastrous messages to potential immigrants: 1) America was not serious about enforcing its immigration laws, and 2) Having given this amnesty, they would probably do it again in the future.

As a direct result of poor political decision making, we now have about 20 million illegal immigrants here in the United States. And I'm not picking on Mexico, either...the illegals come from many places: Russia, the Philippines, Ireland...everywhere, actually. There might not be a country on earth that doesn't have an illegal immigrant living here in America.

After May Day 2006, I became a Republican and never looked back.

I've been working for Conservative causes ever since, trying to undo the damage of decades of poor decisions by our political leaders.