I used to think of conservatism as the Dark Side. Growing up in socialist Canada, the daughter of agnostic/atheist hippies, I developed a real disdain for the ideology of conservatism. When I moved to America for good in 1992, I only had my ideas bolstered by a media that hated Ronald Reagan and painted every Republican/conservative as a racist, evil, bigoted, sexist redneck with an eye for moving America back to the good ol’ days of slavery. Being a Black woman (by way of my parents’ biracial marriage), I saw no other persons of color who supported the conservative mindset. Well, of course there was Clarence Thomas, but everyone knew he was no better than a house Negro, a shill for the GOP to look less racist. There was pornography and pubic hair and Coke , for Heaven’s sake! That poor, poor Anita woman said so! No, I wanted no part of those racists and abusers in the extreme Right wing. They didn’t care about poor people and minorities. They were all rich, fat and white. That’s how I saw the Dark Side, and I scoffed at those who were dumb enough to identify with that.
A lot changed for me when I married my handsome husband in 1998. I moved into a new tax bracket, I moved into my husband’s home in the inner city, and I met my father-in-law, Victor Davis – the first Black conservative I’d ever known. My husband is conservative, but he’s not really political, so we’d had few discussions on the issue. His father was an anomaly to me – a pastor in the inner city who was familiar with all types of injustice, inequities, and violence and still he was a conservative. We sparred often over “social justice” issues. He never convinced me of anything, but he always made me think. He always had information and facts to back up his arguments, and I found myself looking up those things in my spare time. My thinking was shifting, although I did not know it yet.
My years in the inner city of Gary, IN began to show me a new perspective. Living in the liberal paradise of a Democrat controlled city, with nary a Republican in sight for 40+ years was not all it was cracked up to be. I began to wonder how Democrats could say they were the only ones who could make things better for our communities when every major city they had political control over was a hell-hole. I don’t mean to disparage Gary as a hell-hole here, but if you’ve spent five minutes in that town you know that it is definitely hell-holeISH. At some point, I found myself without transportation while my car was being repaired. My generous father-in-law agreed to lend me his car for the week so I could run errands, etc. It was a newer model, and I didn’t want to mess with his radio presets, so I found myself just listening to whatever would come on that particular station while I was wheeling around. As it turned out, I did most of my wheeling around during the Rush Limbaugh Show. The first time I heard Limbaugh, I found myself laughing, hooting and nodding my head like crazy. I had never heard some of these ideas spoken out loud that way before, and I was intrigued. I didn’t realize I was listening to Rush. You see, for all the hatred I had spewed against the legendary host over the years, I had never actually listened to one of his shows. I didn’t even know what he sounded like! I nearly drove off the road when the host announced himself as Rush Limbaugh after a break. I was mortified! I had been agreeing with Rush Limbaugh all this time? Break out the smelling salts, Mama – I do believe I have contracted the vapors! But I did not turn off the radio. I kept listening. Rush always says if you give his program three weeks, you’ll be a convert. I was a convert in one.
Stepping into conservatism made me realize how angry I had been as a Liberal. I realized that conservatives were actually a pretty jovial bunch. They were also very accepting. I would watch conservatives engage in heated, passionate debates with their political foes, and then offer to buy drinks afterward. You never would have caught me doing that as a lib. Never. For the first time I was seeing that conservatives weren’t the awful racists they were portrayed as on television. I had been lied to, and I felt embarrassed about that. As it turned out, the Dark Side was actually quite light and breezy, and occasionally there were even cookies.
I know many, many liberals still think of the Right as the Dark Side, and it is a title I actually take some pride in now. I know the realities of the situation. I like to have fun with the labels other ascribe to me. With that in mind, I’ve decided to name my new Internet radio show The Dark Side. It will be a weekly show about conservative politics and pop culture from my unique perspective as a Black, immigrant, Tea Party conservative. One hour a week may not be enough time to contain my notoriously big mouth, but that’s where I’ll start this journey, and I hope you will consider coming with me. You can catch The Dark Side on Tuesdays at 7 p.m Pacific/10p.m. Eastern beginning 9/13 on the Conservative Daily News radio network. If you can’t catch it live, then grab the free podcast. Either way, bring cookies. The Dark Side always needs cookies.