Ever heard the quote "salt in my hair, and I don't care?" These are the words I lived by; I might as well have invented that quote. If something wasn't directly affecting me, I didn't care, and I wouldn't put too much energy into focusing on it. I guess the "don't worry, be happy" crowd rubbed off on me. After all, this was Southern California. I was young, and not too much did affect me, or so I thought.
Some could say I was living the California dream. Being born and raised in San Diego, living 10 mins from the ocean, there wasn't much to complain about. You almost forget about the rest of the world. It's like your own bubble. On top of that, the high school I went to was 5 minutes from the ocean, and as you can probably imagine, I frequently stopped there, probably more than I should of if you are catching my drift.
I didn't grow up in a political family where we discussed politics at dinner. My parents never had the news on, no one read the newspaper, and none of my brother or sisters were in college. I was uneducated in that department. Someone once told me the news was depressing, so why would I ever turn on that? My view of politics (or lack of it) came from outside sources, consisting of many friends, public teachers, movies, and some from religion. Mix those 4, and bam, you got me, the salty hair and all.
It's wild to think that where you live, the people who you grow up with all play a big part in who you become as a whole. I remember talking about abortions with my friends in middle school; because one of my friends got pregnant. How could I think abortions were terrible when I would never want that for me? My first openly gay friend was in 9th grade. I remember having an internal battle because I learned that being gay was wrong, but my friend was lovely, so how was that wrong? My other friend was from Israeli, and she had strong opinions on immigration laws and foreign policy, which started to shape my thoughts and ideas. My mother lived off food stamps so she could support our family; didn't I have the Government to thank for all of that? All my science classes growing up teach evolution, big bang theory, Darwinism, which is when religious views started clashing. Who was right? Why would someone teach you something wrong? The list goes on and on, but life views come from everywhere, and if you don't have someone in your life to bounce your thoughts off, you end up creating beliefs that might not have been yours to start. Somewhere along the way, I aligned myself with a lot of those same beliefs. Blinded by what was happening, I never bothered to ask where my thoughts came from or if I believed them myself. Most people around you don't care to argue your point or how you got to that conclusion when everyone has aligned to that same train of thought. We had all marched to the same song, not caring to understand the perspective of who created those ideas in the first place.
At some point, our beliefs get proven to ourselves when we choose to defend what we believe against an opposing opposition. Maybe it is to engage in debate, to act something out. It challenges us to dig deeper to find out what we truly care about and why we care about those positions. My early 20's was the first time I had got positively taught about finances. The result was I opened up my first business. I had never felt more alive or full of hope and freedom in my entire life. For the first time, I felt like I could achieve it! My first debate about capitalism and socialism lasted 2 hours; this was when I realized I had believed something for myself and not because of what everyone had told me was right or wrong. When I was on a road trip with some of my friends, all whose last names end in Whited, they told me about political podcasts, which helped me dive into the realm of abortions. I had my first open conversation about the subject with people who were so passionate about ending abortions in America, which made me question why I had been indifferent about that subject for so long? Where did drawing a line the sand go? The best things about having a friendship with people like them are they don't tell you what to believe. They let you have your process and give you the tools to plug into it so you can dive deeper. Above all, they have given me a place to share my thoughts and bounce my ideas off knowing I will be in a safe place. People often open a dialog in an environment where you get shunned if you share an opposing view or don't have all your facts straight. This is why having a place to come together and create healthy dialog is essential now more than ever.
I am thankful I have finally found people to bounce my thoughts off. People who challenge me to think about the reasons I believe in something. Where in a time of chaos can be a safe haven. A strong tower to lean on that invites peace and leaves you with wisdom. Who can add language when all you can see is gibberish. We need more people who don't try to change your opinion to gain a more extensive following or become another person marching to their tune but friends on our side who make us see value in life and create integrity. I am thankful for friends who give gentle nudges to push me to educate myself, find my voice of what I believe, and have strong leaders to guide me. Flyover conservatives is a covering to protect you and a place where you can call home. These are the people you get to ask your "dumb" questions to create freedom from the jargon surrounding politics. Flyover Conservatives are setting a precipice for conservatives all around the United States. A gathering place for becoming more knowledgeable, so we no longer stay silent! David and Stacy said it best this is "not just to survive what comes next, but to thrive. Be the hammer, not the nail!"
Come be a part of the family. I can't wait to hear your voice!