It dawned on me recently that it’s been exactly a decade since my political transformation, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
My views have quite literally shaped my life.
And ten years later, I’m contemplating how different everything would be if my belief system never changed, and somewhat awestruck by the happenstance that set it all into motion.
College had the opposite effect on me that it did on most people. I went in a screeching, braindead libtard whose entire ideology had been formed by Tumblr and sensationalized video clips with no real understanding of what I believed or why.
I kid you not; in high school, I remember asking my parents if McCain/Republicans could bring back slavery.
Like most college freshmen newly eligible to participate in our elections, I took an interest in government. When I was selecting my courses for the second semester, I chose one called “Conspiracy in American Politics” where we discussed things like who really shot JFK.
My professor for this class happened to be the only vocal Republican in our faculty. He was quite a character. He would utter some of the most profound things you’d ever heard between his rantings and ravings about parking tickets and city hall. He would open Google on the projector, and then type “Google” into the search bar. He sounded like Peter Griffin. He hated baseball and that it was America’s pastime and he never drank.
I loved his class. I remember my mom picking me up from campus one day towards the end of the second semester. I was talking about how much I enjoyed his teaching, and how much I respected him, but I was struggling to reconcile my admiration for him with my ingrained knee jerk reaction to all things “Republican.”
My entire life I’d been told that Republicans were backwards bigots. I remember saying something like “he’s so smart…well, I don’t know. Can republicans be smart?” I can’t remember what my mom’s response was.
Unlike so many other professors, his idea of teaching wasn’t just stating his opinions and expecting us to regurgitate them. He started discussions by asking questions. He would ask you a question, and depending on how you answered he might correct or challenge the assumption you were making before asking another question. And if you were actually paying attention to what he was saying instead of just trying to defend your preexisting beliefs, you left with even more questions.
Taking his class made me second guess what I thought I knew, and prompted me to start doing real research.
With each study reviewed and fact-focused article read, a chisel dug deeper and deeper into my worldview until it shattered completely.
By the end of the summer, I think I technically considered myself a centrist of sorts. In retrospect, I think I tried to resist fully surrendering to the right for as long as I could. Even though I was aware of how wrong I had been, it was difficult for me to grapple with embracing a party or label that I’d hated for so long, even if I knew my attitudes were rooted in lifelong indoctrination. I can’t point to a specific day where I remember thinking “I guess I should stop straddling the fence, I’m actually Republican now” but I think it happened within 6 months.
I think about the kind of things I was posting and sharing on social media ahead of the 2012 election, and how close I was to becoming the kind of person I relentlessly mock.
I recited platitudes and hamfisted words like “oppression” and “systemic” in every other sentence. I thought of myself as a perpetual victim. And I shit you not, I considered getting a buzz cut and dyeing it a pastel color. That’s how dire the situation was.
If I continued down the path I was on, I might be in a better position financially. I’d be the quintessential woke millennial – publicly decrying capitalism at every opportunity, but happy to collect a massive paycheck from some giant corporation where I could champion nonsensical diversity initiatives and work my way up the corporate ladder by exploiting affirmative action.
I don’t know if I’d still live in Boston. I imagine I would’ve moved to some big blue crime-riddled city, where I convinced myself that the degeneracy and the decay I saw before me was the result of “white supremacy” and the “climate emergency.”
I gained weight in college, and if my views had never changed, I probably would have kept gaining it. When my friend told me I was “10 lbs away from being fat” I would have called her toxic and cut her off instead of being grateful for her honesty. Instead of trying to get my body under control I would have kept indulging my gluttony and sloth, and using left wing rhetoric about fatphobia being rooted in racism to justify it.
If I remained on the left, I think I would eventually be forced to abandon Christianity and my morality. Because the further to the left you go, you realize that Marxism requires atheism – because to put that level of faith in the government, you must make it your god. And I would have had to consistently ignore what I thought was right deep down in the name of my agenda. I would have had to silence my conscience to rationalize racism against white people, the weaponization of government against dissidents and so much more.
Materially, I’d probably be richer, but I’d be vibrationally, spiritually and ethically bankrupt.
And even worse, fat. (Kidding! Kind of)
I like to think that I’m smart enough that even if I hadn’t had this epiphany in college, it would have eventually happened – especially at some point in the last three years.
But when I look at my old posts, I don’t know if that’s true. I was so ignorant and so adamant, I don’t know if I would have had this breakthrough under any other circumstances.
And it was all such a coincidence.
My top choice for college was FIT – arguably the most prestigious fashion school in the country. I was rejected from FIT and every other school I actually wanted to go to, and cried like a baby. After that, I started applying to local universities with fashion programs, and landed on Lasell. And if I hadn’t ended up at this tiny D3 liberal arts school in the suburbs of Boston, and signed up for one political class on a whim, taught by the one Republican professor at my school, I would have been a completely different person, and led a completely different life.
Like most people, I have regrets about choices I’ve made – chief among mine that I wish I tried harder in high school. But as cliche as it sounds, I’m really beginning to wonder if everything really does happen for a reason. Because if I hadn’t slacked off in high school, I wouldn’t have gone to my college. And that failure shaped my fate in an incredible way.