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Conservative does not necessarily mean rich

Credit for the idea for this column goes to an Oracle reader who responded to the column that I wrote last week on Michael Moore. Much of the feedback that I received was positive with this one and a few others being the exceptions.

I’m going to use the assumptions that the reader made about my family and I to illustrate a typical myth about conservatives and Republicans (it should be noted that I’m only a conservative, not a Republican).

In the email that I received from the reader, he wrote that I must be “the most naive and sheltered individual” that he has ever come across. Why? Because, according to him, apparently my family is rich and my dad owns a Mercedes Benz. I’m assuming this because he suggested that I, “Go back home to the hills in your daddy’s Benz because spreading your ignorance isn’t going to help anybody.”

That comment strikes at the heart of the myth. It seems that for some reason, many liberals, progressives and others seem to think that conservatives, Republicans and those who think like them, are somehow all rich individuals who are “sheltered” from the realities of the world and the common man.

Trying to rebut the reader’s assumptions, I responded back explaining to him that, in fact, my dad does not own a Mercedes Benz. I revealed to him that up until a few months ago, my dad was on unemployment for a period of about six months — the maximum time allowed. After being laid off from his 20-plus-year job as a maintenance/lawn-care man and going without a job for a half-year period, he is now employed as a truck driver and comes home early in the morning.

I also pointed out to the reader, in my continuing effort to prove his assumptions wrong, that I make a little more than $6 per hour where I work — a fact I’ve pointed out in my columns on more than one occasion.

What I gather from this example and others is that many people who oppose conservative ideas, seem to think that those who are conservatives are somehow sheltered by their wealthy and lavish lifestyles to the point that they are oblivious to the concerns of other, less-fortunate individuals. Apparently, they also seem to think that only wealthy, well-to-do people hold conservative beliefs, because they can’t imagine a common man actually being against “great” ideas, such as minimum wage reforms or welfare.

They tend to view such programs as the savior of the little man and as protection against the rich and powerful.

Other common-man conservatives and I view them as a hindrance to the common man, a way for government to control people and deny freedom.

This particular reader is not the only person who has responded to one of my columns supporting the idea that conservatives and Republicans are wealthy. One person who posted feedback on usforacle.com to my February 19 column titled “Democrats can’t catch NASCAR dads” fallaciously wrote that, “The supposed lie about Republicans being fat cats and tax cuts being for the rich are rather well supported by research.” She added, “Or at least, the party does more to help the wealthy than the working class by any standard applied.”

I can only assume that if a party does anything but hand out things to the poor, the common man and redistribute wealth, the group must be made up of rich fat cats who are unconcerned with the plight of the regular Joe.

Speaking from my perspective, I couldn’t disagree more. My own personal opinion is that the common man — like my dad and me — is not helped by liberal Democrats. They hurt him by taxing him more and creating a culture that actually gives incentives against hard work, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. We are helped by conservative Republicans who tax us less and create a culture that rewards hard work, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

My dad seems to agree. Despite the belief of many political scientists that those who lost their job while President Bush was in office will vote for someone else, both my dad and I — common, un-wealthy individuals — plan to reelect him in November.

Adam Fowler is a senior majoring in political science. oraclefowler@yahoo.com