Conservatives Have Feelings, Too

By Heitmeier, Kathy | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 8, 1994 | Go to article overview
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Conservatives Have Feelings, Too

Heitmeier, Kathy, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Does anyone in the media with a liberal editorial philosophy, including the Post-Dispatch, have the slightest conception of what a conservative really is? The portrayal of conservatives is increasingly venomous and recognizes only political and religious aspects.

For example, in his column on the Singapore caning, Bill McClellan said, "The liberals thought that caning was too severe a punishment - torture, they called it - while the conservatives, giddy at the thought of blood being spilled, argued that we should stay out of Singapore's business."

Giddy? I hardly think that anyone relished the predicament 18-year-old Michael Fay had gotten himself into. McClellan was shocked at the comments made by Americans. Were they all conservatives? Wasn't it an outcry from the general public - both liberals and conservatives - wanting firm, strict punishment (not necessarily caning) to protect innocent victims from our country's rampant crime?

Several weeks later, Christine Bertelson's column about two teen-age girls having babies out of wedlock called Rep. Jim Talent's welfare proposals "punitive." While agreeing with his facts about the soaring rate of teen pregnancies, she stated it had to do with them not having options or being able to "dream." To her, conservative proposals are inconsistent with options and dreaming of the "white picket fence, etc."

Why wouldn't both liberals and conservatives want youngsters growing up dreaming of wonderful things in their futures? In fact, both do. Why don't journalists allow conservatives positive motives and feelings?

The dictionary definition of conservative, beyond the political and religious ones, includes: traditional, moderate, cautious, preservative; tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; a cautious or discreet person, marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style or manners.

Notice that none of those definitions rules out love, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, understanding or any of the other adjectives liberal journalists seem to reserve to describe liberals. None precludes honest disagreement and exchange of ideas about a subject. None rules out being jovial, funny, creative or interesting. Why are conservatives not given credit for a full range of positive feelings? Liberals are assumed to have a great empathic abundance of all of them, when, in fact, many do not.

This distortion of conservatives began, it seems to me, with the anti-establishment movement of the '60s, which touched every aspect of American life. While some fronts, such as the Vietnam War and civil rights, had validity, others created a sense in that generation that there would be no consequences for behavior.

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