Kahntheroad said... Just by having to deal with the frustrations you express from reading this site you are learning more than you know about what it has been like to hold a conservative viewpoint in this country for the last few decades. For most of my life your views - meaning left of center - was the default position. There was rarely any serious debate, or resources to even hear an alternative view (especially before the internet). In school I was taught one side, in the media one side was clearly elevated, even in pop culture "Republican" was a punch line. In college I found myself reexamining the liberal orthodoxy and becoming more and more conservative. And, believe me, this was no whim. I had no choice but to do my homework. Not only did I have to know what I believed, I had to know why I believed it and I had to know, inside and out, what the other side believed. If I so much as raised certain questions in a class I had to be ready to defend myself against a professor armed with a PHD and mob of affirming students. If politics came up in a social setting and I opined I had to be ready to explain myself thoroughly. As a conservative I have to be prepared to overlook the fact that nearly all of my entertainment choices - from music to books to film - are produced by people openly hostile to my worldview and will often include pointed insults to beliefs I take seriously. This is not to mention politics coming up on dates, jobs, etc. I'm confident in my views, and I'm happy to explain, but there are times I don't want feel like discussing it, but can't be silent when someone presumes that everyone thinks as they do.And once I found myself on a spiritual quest? Forget about it! Trust me, I know how you feel as a liberal reading Bob - I've dealt with the same thing in reading or listening to just about every modern spiritual guru on the bookshelf. Fortunately many years of practice prepared me for the critical mind required to discern wisdom from politics. By none of this do I mean to portray myself as a victim - it's just an explanation of my experience and how it's something I simply deal with as a fact of life. I'm secure enough in my views that I can enjoy a great film or album made by a liberal artist. Also, I understand why people are liberal; like many here I was once liberal myself. I also have many friends with a broad range of views with whom I disagree, yet have a deep respect, and i gain much from debating. I have not come to my conclusions lightly, and I'm not afraid to be challenged or even proven wrong, as I have had to reevaluate, and sometimes alter, convictions many times. So welcome to the arena of ideas. The first steps will be bumpy, but if you stay in the ring I guarantee you'll come out more enlightened - and, who knows, maybe you'll enlighten some of us know-it-alls.