At some point, the word conservative got twisted. I grew up thinking it meant an approach that was careful. Not too risky. Cautious. Not loosey goosey. Thoughtful. My best friend’s dad was a conservative and he also was a conservationist. An environmentalist. He wanted to play it safe with our planet and not just hope the scientists were wrong.
Nowadays, though, conservative seems to have lost its meaning. It especially reared its ugly face during COVID-19 where many conservatives were outraged over having to wear mask. This essay undresses conservatism with the hope of returning to its roots.
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I remember the day well. The afternoon of June 26, 2009. It was a sweltering 99 degrees in St. Louis. I had just happened upon a discussion at Starbucks between an acquaintance, Matt, and a group of men I had never seen. Don’t worry, I assure you that my taste in coffee has improved since then.
Matt was the most self-described conservative I had ever met. He was belligerently lecturing this group on why climate change wasn’t real. I couldn’t help myself, so I chimed in with a sarcastic smile.
“Matt, I thought you were a conservative. You know, not…
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