I would like to share with you my enlightenment, which started off with this simple e-mail:
February 16, 2010
I found these pages one night after about 4 hours of research. What prompted the research? I couldn't sleep one night because it bugged me that people considered Republicans racist. I've been a Republican my entire adult life and I just didn't see the racism. So after tossing and turning, I decided to research why? This is what I found.
As a born Democrat, I was shocked by this information, which I had received from my friend, who's a black man (he prefers "American black man"). The material bothered me so much that I just had to prove my friend wrong. Being a divorced mother of four children and a full-time nurse, I could hardly find time to sit in front of a computer -- but that evening, I stopped watching reality television shows, dusted off my laptop, and began doing some research. I began my mission to discredit my friend by analyzing the links he e-mailed me and all the links that followed. I searched and searched, and to my surprise, the information was accurate. The Republican Party was not the racist party that I had heard about for most of my life. Soon I asked myself, if I was wrong about the Republicans, could I be wrong about the Democrats, too?
It was only about a year prior to my newfound knowledge that I found myself staring at the television in awe as our new president was inaugurated. A tall, dark, handsome, and highly educated man presented himself with his beautiful family. I was so excited to finally see someone who resembled me in the White House. He promised change -- in all honesty, I had no clue of what that meant, but it didn't matter because it sounded good and it made me feel good. Not once did I consider doing any research on this man, but on Election Day, after working a twelve-hour shift, I hurried to the polls and proudly voted for Obama.
Now, however, nothing made sense. Was voting for Obama a mistake? The euphoric Obama feeling and the new knowledge didn't add up. Confusion led me to do more research. I read everything that I could get my hands on, ranging from history books to news articles and blogs. And for the first time in my life, I read our founding documents.
I had so many questions. Fortunately, I also had a secret weapon: the same man who sent me the eye-opening e-mail. At times, he frustrated me because he never gave me direct answers. He pushed me to think for myself and to do my own research. He challenged me by questioning me, and only when I gave confident answers would he compensate me with his perspective on a subject.
With knowledge, life started to make more sense. I began to pay attention. My life was beginning to change, but it was not Obama's change. I started to read about conservatism and listen to great American conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. One night, I remember watching Glenn Beck's keynote speech at CPAC 2010 and thinking that I had finally found my kind of people. Believe it or not, I started feeling happier.
For the past 33 years, I felt like an outcast. I'd always been a common sense type of girl, but, being a Latina and living in California, let's just say common sense isn't so common. I didn't want to burden my one conservative friend with my daily questions, but I still needed answers.
One evening, as I browsed the net, I came across a website called Tea Party Nation. I registered and began chatting with other folks who thought like me. I also found Tea Party groups that gathered close to where I live.
On April 15, 2010, I attended my first tea party event in Chino Hills, California. It was a small Tax Day rally that took place a few miles away from my home. I must admit that I was a bit worried about what I might find at the event. Tea Partiers were so badly portrayed by the MSM -- as a bunch of racists -- so naturally, I wasn't sure what to expect.
Unfortunately, I arrived late and didn't have much time to participate in the event. Therefore, I can't say much about what took place there, but I can describe the group of people present. I saw a small group of about thirty who ranged in age from teens to seniors. The group consisted of about 75% whites, and the rest of the 25% was a mix of Asians, blacks, and me (the one Mexican-American). I confess, being the only Mexican-American made me feel a little awkward, but that feeling quickly subsided. The people there were generally friendly. It was a group of peaceful strangers getting together and making a point about the one thing that unites us all: the knowledge that we've been taxed enough already.
My self-directed education, my newfound civic participation, and a slew of great Americans have helped me on my journey to becoming a conservative. I know that there are people who are doing an excellent job at taking our freedom away. I've learned to love and value my precious freedom. I understand that with freedom comes accountability and responsibility. I believe that I was blessed to be born in America with the ability to govern myself. I have nothing but gratitude for the man who guided me through this process, and I consider him a great friend. Thanks to him, I now proudly consider myself a principled individual and a conservative American.