I woke up this morning a Conservative.
When I had previously imagined such an event, it was with nightmarish qualities, something like that of Gregor Samsa in Kafka's Metapmorphisis in which he "woke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself in his bed, transformed into a monstrous insect."
To the degree that's rude to conservatives, and it is, I apologize. Especially now that I have awakened as a conservative and know the truth. The only thing I would offer in mitigation is how I imagine conservatives imagine it would feel like to awaken as liberals.
It began when I turned on Larry King because Arianna Huffington was going to be a guest and it turned out that there were five guests, all shouting at each other. One of them was Andrew Sullivan.
Sullivan kept saying, "I'm against deficits and losing wars."
I lept up from my Barca-lounger, spilling my pretzels and beer, and cried out, "I agree."
My normal self said, "But he's a conservative."
Just then Sullivan said, "I'm a conservative and those are against conservative principles," or something very like that.
My normal self said, "I don't have a Barca-lounger, I don't drink pretzels and beer."
An imaginary Sullivan said, "You don't have to eat pretzels and drink beer to be a conservative, look at me, I'm a dazzling gay cosmopolitan editor of the New Republic, goat cheese and Chablis for me."
"But isn't being a gay conservative," I asked, "like being a Jew who said I'm really a German, back in 1933, or a Negro, as they were then called, who said, I'm for state's rights, back in 1954, and against activist judges, you know, those guys who said separate but equal is not equal."
"I'm for state's right," the real Sullivan said, very vociferously.
"Yes, but ..."
"A real conservative believes in minimal government which means that if this government was really conservative it would stay out of my bedroom and allow gay people to commit normal sodomy, just like heterosexuals," the imaginary Sullivan said. "And get married."
These were dreams, troubled dreams. I had fallen asleep in front of the TV. Which is why we have one, so that we don't need sleeping pills.
When I awoke, however, I still agreed. I do believe in balanced budgets and not losing wars.
So, yes, I am a conservative.
It is the administration that is not. This administration is radical. But radical what? They're not radically conservative. They're radically rapacious, ripping off everyone and everyone they can, for the richest few people in the world. And they're radically stupid, as one colonel said of Paul Wolfowitz in Fiasco, 'crack-smoking stupid.' They are homophobic. Fear mongers. Fantasists. Imperialists. Militarists. They are immoral in the ways that I consider most profound, and they are in a war against civilization, if civilization means banning torture, supporting the Geneva conventions, belief in international law and understanding that initiating a war of aggression is a crime.
I did a reality check. I looked down. If there was a Barca-lounger beneath me and a Bud beside me, I would know it was a hallucination, one of those Woodstock brown acid moments. But no. It was the old armchair and an honest cup of joe. I had become a ... I didn't have hardened chitinous shell like a beetle or a cockroach, I could bend in the middle and rise and sit and bend in the middle ... yet I had become a conservative.
Sullivan, of course, needs his own reality check. There is no way that a Republican Party or a Conservative Party will ever believe in the things that he believes in. Whatever they supposedly might believe in theory, in reality they run on homophobia, sexophobia and xenophobia.
The only place, oddly enough, for good conservative principles - go slowly, proceed with care, balance the budget, don't go to war unless you have a way to win, let people live how they choose, including gay marriage, encourage individual responsibility, respect the constitution - is in the ... the ... Democratic Party.