As someone who’s been a conservative since she realized politics existed, I’m always fascinated by people who found conservatism later in life, especially after a stint on the other side of the aisle. Some of my favorite stories to hear are conversion stories. Millennials these days have great stories about converting to the GOP from the Democratic Party due to identity politics forcing them out or their dedication to an issue such as abortion or free speech. Unfortunately, they haven’t landed major book deals quite yet. While we wait for that to happen, because one day it will, check out these five books by people who used to identify with the Left that will enlighten you about their transition and open your eyes to what the conservative movement has to offer to everyone.  

An American Life by Ronald ReaganThat’s right. Conservative stalwart Ronald Reagan wasn’t always a conservative. His autobiography is a work of major historical importance. Here, in his own words, is the story of his life—public and private—told in a book both frank and compellingly readable. Here, then, is a truly American success story—a great and inspiring one. From modest beginnings as the son of a shoe salesman in Tampico, Illinois, Ronald Reagan achieved first a distinguished career in Hollywood and then, as governor of California and as president of the most powerful nation in the world, a career of public service unique in our history. 

Pimps, Whores, and Welfare Brats by Star ParkerShe was a delinquent teenager, mixed up with crime and drugs. In the 1970s, Star Parker came to Los Angeles with a dream of dancing on Soul Train – and ended up an unemployed single mom, barely literate, and living on welfare. But life on county aid was far from impoverished – she was able to lounge in her own Jacuzzi, party at Venice Beach, bring in extra income with under-the-table jobs, and take the system for all it was worth. It was the power of her Christianity that turned her life around. But it was Star’s no-excuses attitude of self-empowerment that firmly positioned her on the fast track of conservative politics, speaking out against welfare as the No. 1 cause of urban America’s moral and economic decline – and in favor of taxpayer vouchers for private school education, banning abortion, and condemning condom distribution in public schools.

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza RiceThe woman who would become a role model for women all over the world while serving as Secretary of State under Republican George W Bush didn’t always find herself on the Right side of the aisle. From one of the world’s most admired women, this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government.  In her position as America’s chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on divisive issues, and compiling a remarkable record of achievement. Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds.  InNo Higher Honor, she delivers a master class in statecraft  — but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.

It’s Okay to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railroad by C. Mason Weaver

With all of the turmoil in the land, finally, a book to cut through the rhetoric. This book is a journey from an angry black militant to a staunch conservative activist. Mason journey from a UC Berkeley radical student is a journey we all must understand. Mason’s distinctive point of view is a direct result of a past tragedy that has produced a present day triumph After racist shipmate pushed approximately 2800 pounds of steel and iron plates on him, while on active naval duty in San Diego, California, the Navy classified him disabled and discharged him. His journey to overcome the hatred of America and white people is the story of his book “It’s ok to Leave the Plantation.” Mason found himself unskilled and disabled. He had to discover a new way of earning a living. Mason Weaver had to learn how to earn income, how business was achieved and how to teach others Noted for his quick wit, vigorous debate and forceful oratory, Mason is a challenge to the opposition and an instructive persuasive counselor to allies.

The Silencing by Kirsten PowersWhile Kirsten Powers may not have officially converted to the Right side, her much-talked about book definitely showed her skepticism of some of the Left’s tactics, which is a step in the right direction. Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans’ ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation. USA Today columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers calls it “The Silencing.” Powers chronicles this forced march toward conformity in an exposé of the illiberal tactics deployed to shut down debate on some of the most important issues of the day. How is it that liberalism, once associated with open-mindedness and reason, has become a vehicle for irrational prejudice, ideological conformity, and the marginalization of dissent? What is happening to free speech in America?

RELATED: How I Went From An Anti-Gun, Pro-Choice Liberal Feminist To An Empowered Conservative Woman

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member