My mother gave me many things. She gave me a mane of curly hair, a long nose I often wish I didn’t have, and a fierce determination and stubbornness that anyone who has met me has been able to see. The one thing she didn’t give me was my strong conservative opinions. My mother has been a Democrat her whole life. She is always too happy to reminisce about the days of her favorite President, Bill Clinton. As a child, Hilary Clinton for President signs sat in my yard and family pictures were soon taken around them as well. I remember how vocal she was around the house about not wanting President Bush reelected in 2004. Now, many years later, I proudly wear a “Trump Is My President” t-shirt when visiting home.
Often people will ask me how my mother has dealt with having a daughter who is so vocal about candidates and issues she clearly doesn’t agree with. The answer I give is that she doesn’t “deal” with it, she embraces it. My differing opinions aren’t a matter of embarrassment or shame to her. They are just another example of me being the independent strong-willed woman she raised me to be. My mother’s embrace and celebration of my difference in opinion has taught me more about being a conservative than any podcast or book has.
My mother raised me to be brave, to be strong, and to be whatever in the world I wanted to be, conservative included. The same mother that taught me to ignore childhood bullies that mocked my used clothes, through that lesson taught me to ignore the hateful rhetoric that would become a staple in the comments of my social media posts. The same mother that told me that I should never rely on a man to care for me, through that lesson taught me that I should never rely on the government either. Lastly, the same mother that taught me to love everything about myself, through that lesson also taught me to love the values and issues that have become so important to me over time.
While she didn’t teach me about conservative voting policies or take me to the range to learn how to shoot, she taught me what true tolerance looks like. She taught me how easy it really is to love someone beyond what they pick at the polls. My mother is an example to me of how we as Americans should think about and treat each other. She has never shamed me or said the condescending, “I don’t know how you could ever believe this, but I love you anyway.” Instead she has accepted that I as an individual have decided what I believe and what I am passionate about. There is no “but” taped on to the end of her love.
There are many people in this world that I don’t agree with, my mother and the rest of my Democrat family included. I do not love them through a lens of “despites” and “buts” but with the same unconditionality that my mother has given me. As I work for a conservative organization, as I post pictures in my MAGA hat online, as I give interviews with my mother-given curly hair and nose about how I support the Republican party, I know that at home my mother is cheering me on every step of the way. If only we could do the same for all our classmates, friends, significant others, and family. If the country could learn the same lesson that my life-long Democrat mother taught her Republican daughter, maybe we could be a little more united.