Friday, October 31, 2008

in liberal moco, our republicans are the real deal

Old Columbia Pike during last month's Burtonsville Day festival.

I went to a high school where the kids who called things "gay" got made fun of more than the gays themselves. To call Blake High School "liberal" would be, as comedian Richard Jeni once said, to say the Atlantic Ocean was "damp." But there were a few conservatives, hard-core Republicans - many of whom were good friends of mine - who were brazenly outspoken in our government classes. They wouldn't let anyone forget that Blake, or East County for that matter, wasn't totally blue. And I respected them, because no matter what you believe, the least you can do is back up your facts.

But this girl? Now the president of the College Republicans at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., she was definitely not a well-researched conservative in high school. In tenth grade, I remember her vehemently denying that racist graffiti had appeared on homes in her Burtonsville neighborhood, even after it'd been written up in the Gazette and everything. (I've been trying to find the article online for years.) "I just don't believe it would happen in Burtonsville," she said.

The Post tries really, really hard to make her and her friends seem just like us liberals at a college known for its strict moral standards - throwing in mentions of expensive cars, indie rock, and the frequent runs to Starbucks. It's cute, it really is. But what does it take to be a Republican at Liberty University? Do you have to back up your opinions with anything other than "it's His will"? Can the idea of smaller government really be applied back home in East County, where roads have to be paved, schools have to be staffed and so many people - who are "too soft and expect too much," this girl complains - can't send their kids to expensive private schools and give them Infinitis to drive?

I can say I've seen more stickers for McCain than I have for Obama around Burtonsville. But I bet B'ville Republicans can back up their stuff better than Republicans out there in the so-called "real Virginia." After all, they actually have to defend themselves.

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