I am a traitor because I live on this side of Washington state.
Over 30 years ago, I abandoned my conservative roots to work, play, and raise a family in the wet and wildly liberal west.
On my regular treks back over the Cascades to my beloved Spokane, dad will occasionally introduce me to ‘So-and-So’ who’s standing in line at Costco.
“I’d like you to meet my daughter, Kathleen; she’s visiting from the coast.”
He loves to say it that way.
His delivery will draw a suspicious look from So-and-So, who can’t believe that dad would, or could, spawn anything but a conservative. You know the look I’m talking about; a side-ways flash of the eyes, and an all-knowing nod of the head, morbidly acknowledging, “She must be one of them.”
In a slightly derisive tone, So-and-So will say, “Oh, you’re from the coast,” followed by, “You don’t live in King County, do you?”
Oh, the horror! And, I must be a liberal because I look like a liberal (you figure that one out).
Perhaps on the next trip to Spokane, I’ll perform the part and succumb to the prankster inside who nudges to, “Just play along!”
I could pretend, and even superbly act the part — after all, I’ve voted left of center, here and there.
Adding to the facade, I’m a “Greener,” which when revealed has been known to draw incredulous gasps. I’ll admit that while at The Evergreen State College, I occasionally floated the phrase, “social justice” to see if it felt right. It didn’t.
My temporary lean to the left began after I saw Nixon in Spokane during Expo ’74. My college boyfriend and I staked out a coveted spot across the river close enough to see the former president give his legendary two-armed victory salute.
I admired Nixon’s unwinding of the Vietnam War, and his role in détente with the former Soviet Union. Today, with increasing federal regulation, and an overreaching president, I recognize and applaud Nixon’s commitment to state’s rights.
Unfortunately, Watergate sealed the deal, and in the fall of 1976, dad asked me how I voted in my first election. I simply flashed a broad smile — hint enough for those readers who remember.
During the 2012 election, neighbors tolerated my Romney/Ryan yard sign. No one egged it, or tore it down, and my liberal friends and I chose to skirt political specifics. They quietly acknowledged that I was brave to be a delegate to the state Republican convention, however misguided my political beliefs. The phrase was, “How patriotic you are for participating in the process!”
As friends, we tolerated then, and now, the political divide separating us for oh so many reasons. For my part, I turned away, grimacing when my golf buddy invoked the magical, current president to help her make a two foot putt. Really?
Visits across the mountains will come and go, but to my beloved Spokane, I will forever be, “From the coast.”
To those So-and-So’s that I meet, I’ll admit to straying once or twice, but I always return to the belief that smaller government drives independence, freedom and success.
As a registered nurse, my compassion for those in need has never waned, but I’ve seen dreams die in the wasteland of government dependency. And, now with the quagmire of Obamacare, we are witnessing the strangling of the finest medical system in the world.
For this and much more, I am deemed a conservative.
Traitor or not, I love the coast, Spokane, friends, and family on both sides of the state, and I’m weary of the divisions that build barriers instead of solving problems.
I might, however, succumb to the prankster inside and pretend to be that rebel for a moment or two, while standing in line at Costco. Dad might enjoy the look of surprise when So-and-So realizes the traitor daughter from the coast is actually a brilliant actress.
Kathleen Rogers, is a member of the Olympian’s Board of Contributors. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.