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Political Mental Maps: A Black Woman Conservative

This is a good one, from reader Elspeth:

Everyone has a story, Rod. Vanessa Poseidon offers a narrative that a lot of people within her demographic –and the demographic of your readership- can relate to. [1] Allow me to offer another perspective.

I made the turn from the liberal Democratic persuasion of my family and working class black community, to believing Libertarianism was the key to political Nirvana, to eventually seeing some major holes in that philosophy. I find myself largely without a political home, but am fairly certain that Mr. Trump will get my vote in 2020, should things remain as they are today in this country.

My story, as quiet as it’s kept, is really not an unusual one. Just about every black conservative who has a voice in the American political arena has a similar one, so I’ll try to be brief and we’ll see how successful I am at it.

I was born, raised, and grew up in the oldest black incorporated municipality in the United States. There were many such communities established in the south in the years following Reconstruction, but almost were incorporated, and few still exist today as independent municipalities governed largely by black men. My hometown however, does. It’s a proud community with a rich history and one where political involvement, especially at the local level, is high.

When I was a child, my father voted in every election, no matter how small. He, like most black Americans at that time, was a reliable democratic voter. Nothing about the way he lived his personal life, walked out his faith, or structured his family life was even remotely liberal.

However, being a black man, born in Louisiana in the early 1930s and having lived through the Jim Crow south, like most black Americans, he was of the mind that without government enforced equal access to opportunity, it was just one election away from being snatched away.

In my house, Republican candidates were viewed as anti-black and anti-poor people. The issue of women’s rights was one I never really heard about growing up. My father was the undisputed, unapologetic ruler of his household. This was true when he was a widowed father of us kids, and it didn’t change when he remarried as I was entering the fourth grade. My stepmother happily accepted and settled into her role as first mate to the captain of his ship.


In our house, abortion was a sin, premarital sex was a sin, and the husband was the head of his wife. None of these views were seen as antithetical to a woman being educated or holding a job, as my stepmother had both.

I did not begin voting immediately upon turning 18 years old, but I did eventually catch the political bug. I cast my ballot for Bill Clinton in 1992 with great enthusiasm and excitement. It was what I, as a proud black American, was supposed to do and I did it. I ignored the scandals, the radical stance on abortion, all of it. Most of those issues, the story in the black community goes, are personal issues best left to the individual. What was important was that Bill Clinton would fight for the poor and downtrodden.

Ironically, it wasn’t anything political that began my switch towards a more conservative viewpoint. It was becoming pregnant with our first child in 1994. The baby began to move, and instantly the idea that killing a person in the womb was a woman’s personal choice became abhorrent to me. That the person kicking and wedging her feet between my ribs as I slept was every bit as human as the people I see in the grocery store buying milk was crystallized for me in a way I’d never considered before. That began my voracious search for how such a horrible act became acceptable in the mainstream culture. I was a 22-year-old wife and expectant mother at the time.

As any intellectually curious person with a love of books already knows, once you start searching, and reading, and asking questions, it’s not long before you begin to see lots of things differently. The connection between Democratic liberal policies (social, economic, and educational) which have contributed to the dismal out of wedlock birth rates, marriage rates, and educational attainment rates in the black community as well as other poor demographic communities, stood out with a glaring obviousness that I’d never noticed before.

Democrat policies didn’t combat policies, they exacerbated them! Of course I couldn’t see that until I stopped listening to the rhetoric and started reading and looking at the cold, hard facts.

I discovered Thomas Sowell, and his well-documented, easily verified display of the truth changed my political persuasions forever.

Like Dr. Vanessa Poseidon, I was also turned off by Sarah Palin, the Iraq War, and hypocritical positions parroted by many on the right, including the Tea Party. None of that made me decide that the alternative was to go back to voting for people who believe in the destruction of marriage, demonizing people who prosper, or slaughtering the unborn.

It’s possible not to choose either team while making the best decisions we can in the context of the current reality as we enter the voting booth. We can also acknowledge that people like Dr. Poseidon exist, while refusing to pretend that her reasonable voice is not the voice that we are being subjected to day in and day out.

Those of us who skew conservative are not being paranoid when we presume that there are people desiring power who are out to get us.

61 Comments (Open | Close)

61 Comments To "Political Mental Maps: A Black Woman Conservative"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 11, 2018 @ 5:08 pm

I’m familiar with a few court cases over attempts to suppress crisis pregnancy centers. Heavy handed ordinances have generally been overturned on First Amendment grounds. I applaud. Some CPC’s are no doubt manipulative and deceptive, but on principal, there’s nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t pretend to BE a “clinic.” If every woman who stood behind an “I regret my abortion” sign had found a CPC, there would be a lot fewer of them standing behind such signs. creekmama is helping women to exercise their right to “choose,” which includes the right to “choose life.”

#2 Comment By REJ On November 11, 2018 @ 5:14 pm

“There is nothing more pathetic than a pro-life argument that tries to make out that new born infants are not humans.”

Talk about “opportunistic obfuscation”, trying to put words in my mouth that have no basis in anything I said. Since you clearly believe your personal observation and opinion to be superior to anything you might read on the subject I’m sure you won’t bother to google “when do infants become self aware” and educate yourself.

On second thought, in fairness to you I mistook your “self aware” to mean the same thing child development researchers mean which clearly you don’t. More likely you mean consciousness or perhaps bodily awareness, but the fetus that kicks and stretches, sucks it’s thumb, or moves away from noxious stimuli, like an abortionist’s forceps trying to tear it’s limbs off, is also exhibiting consciousness and bodily awareness. So, once again you might re-think your arbitrary “qualitative” criteria for consistency or at least clarify your terminology.

#3 Comment By DRK On November 11, 2018 @ 5:23 pm

Crisis pregnancy centers are not meant to replace Planned Parenthood.

That’s not what we’ve been told in Texas. That’s not according to Rick Perry, then governor of Texas. At a ribbon cutting of a CPC in 2012, he told the audience,

“We’ve banned the use of your tax dollars for abortion procedures in Texas, and expanded that ban to include those affiliated with abortion providers in the case of our Women’s Health Program. That upset more than a few people in Washington, who insisted we financially support organizations like Planned Parenthood by including them in the WHP…
We’ve stood strong in the face of that assault, and proclaimed the truth that protecting the rights of abortion providers and protecting women’s health are not the same thing. The Source for Women clinics, in fact, will be part of Texas’ own Women’s Health Program, and Planned Parenthood will not be”.

It doesn’t get much more explicit than that. That particular CPC branch does have medical personnel on staff, its sister locations do not. Most CPC’s don’t. No CPC’s offer any contraceptive services. Yet they have been repeatedly touted as a viable replacement for PP clinics by the Texas government. The Heidi Group, an anti-Christian abortion group that runs several CPC’s, was given over $5 million of Texas taxpayers’ money to run a network of women’s clinics, and had to give back most of it after failing to meet its targets. Other CPC’s have also been given state monies, some $40 million dollars worth, to rebuild the network of womens’ health clinic shredded by the removal of PP. And as result of several years of the brave new world of letting CPC’s stand in for PP, far fewer women in Texas now have access to decent medical care.



#4 Comment By REJ On November 11, 2018 @ 5:56 pm

“And while they need ordinary care to survive outside the womb, ANYONE could pick them up and care for them. They do not need complex artificial machinery to perform basic autonomic life functions.”

Again, your qualitative criteria leaves a lot to be desired. That could be said to be true of anyone suffering from a number of serious conditions, so where is your Solomonic criteria line for them? Is it the same as what you’d give to the unborn?

It is not in the nature of an unborn baby (or fetus, if the word baby triggers you) to survive outside the womb with only ordinary care if more than a few weeks premature. So that’s pretty arbitrary and cruel to condemn it to death because it can’t perform differently than it’s nature when it’s been interfered with and if left in it’s natural state would do just fine.

“And they are not living inside the womb on one indispensable individual.”

Ah yes, the good old parasite and involuntary servitude arguments. That might fly when rape is involved. Or if the persons involved didn’t know what causes pregnancy and babies, lol. It’s a sad state of human affairs when it’s harder to get out of a simple contract due to buyer’s remorse, even if the burden is extreme and years long, than it is to kill your own child, even knowing you willingly ‘put pen to paper’ so to speak.

#5 Comment By Saiphul On November 11, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

creekmama: “Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms. They offer breast exams. Any GP can do a breast exam. Any GP can do a pap smear. These routine services are covered by both insurance and Medicaid/Medicare.”

Here is a link to just a few of the health care services PP provides to women:


You seem to believe that since PP isn’t the only provider of these services, there is no need at all for PP to provide them.
Since many people obtain these services from PP and not some other provider, it is abundantly obvious that PP is fulfilling a need in the marketplace for non-abortion services that other providers are not.

You also seem to believe that general practitioners who provide some of the same services as PP don’t also provide abortion services and, therefore, there’s no justification for federal funding to PP since its non-abortion healthcare services can be obtained from a GP. However, many of the GPs who provide those services also provide abortions. If federal funds are not being used to pay for abortions at PP, what purpose is served by making women go to multiple service providers to get the full range of care they need if they could obtain that care at a single provider, be it PP or a GP who also performs abortions?

Lastly, you seem to believe that because Medicare and Medicaid pay for these other non-abortion services, women have no problem finding a non-PP doctor to perform them. First of all, Medicare is a program for persons over the age of 65, not low-income persons, so it is of no use to poor people under the age of 65. Medicaid is the federal program that pays for health care services to low-income people.

As you may know, many, many doctors do not accept Medicaid patients because the Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are significantly lower than Medicare’s rates, are, in their opinion, too low. Consequently, there are not nearly as many doctors who accept Medicaid as there are who accept Medicare. PP does, however, accept Medicaid for many of the non-abortion health care services it provides to low-income women. This, of course, is the reason that PP is able to fulfill a need in the marketplace for non-abortion health care services.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 11, 2018 @ 10:08 pm

Talk about “opportunistic obfuscation”, trying to put words in my mouth that have no basis in anything I said.

REJ, I think you know better than that — I credit you with sufficient intelligence and discernment to recognize that I was sardonically critiquing your style of argument. A more blatant example would be a few years ago when the more caustic pro-life arguments cited Peter Singer for the proposition that if a zygote is not a person, then parents should have the right to summarily execute their own child, up to the age of five. You made a ludicrous assertion about a born baby in order to insinuate that a blastocyst is an independent person. Now you’re upset that I’ve called your bluff.

As for reflexes, I do indeed expect more of an independent, self-aware, organism than what an amputated frog’s leg can do when connected to a 6 volt battery. I fully support the clauses in Justice Blackmun’s excellent rendition of the Opinion of the Court which leaves states free to ban third trimester abortions unless the mother’s life or health are in danger — which has something do to with why abortions at that late stage are less than 1 percent of the total.

But again, a common sophistry from the more angry pro-life voices is to talk about the rare events of sometimes necessary late term abortions as if that’s what 90 percent of abortions look like in the first trimester.

Again, your qualitative criteria leaves a lot to be desired. That could be said to be true of anyone suffering from a number of serious conditions, so where is your Solomonic criteria line for them?

It doesn’t take a Solomon to recognize that the people you are referring to have already been born. None of them live in a womb. Life sustaining machinery has its place in getting a badly injured body through a critical traumatic experience, so that the individual can pick up their life and live independently again. It is increasingly common that living wills direct that such measures NOT be employed merely to keep a mindless corpse alive — and those decisions are being made by the individuals whose life depends on those very bodies.

Ah yes, the good old parasite and involuntary servitude arguments.

I only employ involuntary servitude arguments when someone makes a facile analogy to chattel slavery. Then I suggest that if slaves inhabited the bodies of their masters, or if you had an Underground Railroad to spirit live fetuses out of the women to incubators in Canada, I would take your analogy seriously.

Otherwise, I don’t entertain such ludicrous notions. I don’t need them. A cell embedded in a uterine wall is not a person. A fully formed baby a few days short of being born is. In between comes the difficult task of drawing a line.

#7 Comment By Harve On November 12, 2018 @ 1:54 am

LFM says:

“Contrary to Harve’s rant about how the truth of American history with regard to the South and black Americans has been suppressed over the decades, it’s in fact the only one I was taught. It was in the 80s and 90s that I encountered it, as a (Canadian) student…”

Maybe the Canadian part had something to do with it? Anyway I don’t believe I used “suppress” in that context, read closer. I’m referring to the narrative that has been promoted and far too often dominated in the U.S. since the end of the war. That the Civil War was not seen as the treason in defense of slavery that it was wasn’t (isn’t) “suppression” (outside of some school districts in some areas) so much as the inertia that follows once a narrative is set. Folks were tired of war and a general racism has always been there. It was an easy pill to swallow.

You might Google “lost cause”, Dunning School.

Things like this published after the war:

“[The] servile instincts [of slaves] rendered them contented with their lot, and their patient toil blessed the land of their abode with unmeasured riches. Their strong local and personal attachment secured faithful service … never was there happier dependence of labor and capital on each other. The tempter came, like the serpent of Eden, and decoyed them with the magic word of ‘freedom’ … He put arms in their hands, and trained their humble but emotional natures to deeds of violence and bloodshed, and sent them out to devastate their benefactors.

— Confederate President Jefferson Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881)”

(Note that had Davis been hanged for treason in the 1860s he couldn’t have written such nonsense.)

Things like this were common,

Then we have film starting with “Birth of a Nation”.

“Keaton’s stance wasn’t unique. The majority of American films dealing with the Civil War side with the Confederacy, finding it easier to make heroes of those who lost a war and fought to preserve chattel slavery. Key among them are Birth of a Nation (1916) and Gone With the Wind (1939), both acclaimed “Lost Cause” romances featuring kindly plantation owners, happy slaves, and gallant Confederate soldiers hopelessly outnumbered by marauding Yankees.


A book:

As you have done graduate work you might find the several states’ Slave and Black codes of interest. They are on line.

“Glaivester says:

“Uh-huh. It’s like Iraq. The only reason we did not succeed in planting a vibrant unified Democracy is that we did not leave 100,000+ troops there. And if we fail in Afghanistan, it is because we did not massively occupy the country long enough.”

Wow! You sure don’t think much of folks in the South. OK, but I have to note that we had a hundred years of oppression and terror that ended with a few court decisions, a few laws, and the will of the Federal government to enforce them. Frogs need storks and while there aren’t enough storks in the universe to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan, George Wallace huffed and puffed and caved.

We still have a ways to go but all it will take is time and will. Recall that Grant crushed the first Klan and the Freedmen’s Bureau and Federal Troops allowed African Americans to hold office under free elections. That ended when Reconstruction ended.

REJ says:

“Can we please bury the old canard that requiring someone to show a government issued ID is voter suppression?”

Ummm, no. (I have to note you ignore things like purges, exact match, siggnature checking, and the zillion problems with voting machines and polling places.)

First of all the acceptable IDs are cherry picked. Are you unaware of the fiasco in North Dakota?

Of course we have the states who required IDs and then shut down DMV offices in minority areas.

Lots of folks don’t have IDs and those folks happen to be in demographics that vote Democratic.

creekmama says:

“Crisis pregnancy centers aim to provide a safety net for women whose pregnancies are not happy news. The pushback against those centers does not come from the right.”

You seem to not understand the concept of a “safety net.” Will the CPC be there for 18 years or more? A pep talk and a few diapers isn’t going to cut it.

#8 Comment By JonF On November 12, 2018 @ 10:09 am

Re: Can we please bury the old canard that requiring someone to show a government issued ID is voter suppression?

Sure– if we can guarantee that such an ID is made universally available to all citizens without cost and without undue hassle and difficulty. I’m all for it then. As things stand now however state officials are known to play funny games in these areas, sometimes to keep the “wrong” people from voting, sometimes out of sheer bureaucratic cussedness. To use an example of the latter (I assume) a friend of mine was unable to get a Maryland DL because our MVA, bless their hearts, would not accept his New York birth certificate and never mind he already had a license issued by Tennessee. He kept the latter and moved to Delaware the next year where that state was happy with his birth certificate– though it does require actual mailed bills, bank statements etc. as proof of residence, which Maryland does not. This sort of petty BS needs to stop. Any properly certified US birth certificate should be valid, and any DL from another US state, and since just about everything is done online these days (it’s 2018!) downloaded statements should be OK.
Better yet as I have suggested here before. Let’s have a national ID card with minimal hoops to jump through, and minimal information on it (to keep it from being a one-stop shop for ID thieves). That could be useful in other matters too, like employer verification.
Also, I’d like to see an amendment to the Constitution affirming a universal right to vote for all adult US citizens of sound mind, and not under court supervision for some reason.

#9 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 12, 2018 @ 12:24 pm

Better yet as I have suggested here before. Let’s have a national ID card

That has ominous totalitarian implications, but liberalism often leads that way with the best of intentions.

About 1963 a state department rep was being grilled by a senate committee about whether the government in Saigon was as “democratic” as propaganda for military escalation in its support led Americans to believe. “Senator,” he replied, “I know Americans would never put up with having to carry photo ID everywhere, but its different over there.”

Will the CPC be there for 18 years or more? A pep talk and a few diapers isn’t going to cut it.

You missed what creekmama said. Certainly it seems they are there for a good two years or more. Its a lot more than a pep talk and diapers. Do you think a 17 year old really wants to be a ward of a crisis pregnancy center at that age? What’s your beef anyway? People who believe in a certain course of action put themselves on the line to facilitate what they believe would be a moral choice. What’s wrong with that? Under the legal aegis of Roe v. Wade, let a hundred flowers bloom.

Note that had Davis been hanged for treason in the 1860s he couldn’t have written such nonsense.

True that. When I was in high school, movies still had to be seen in movie theaters, and every so often a classic would come around. (An exception was “The Wizard of Oz,” which was broadcast on TV once a year, and half of America were sitting in their living rooms watching it). When “Gone With The Wind” came around, our entire class was taken to see it. I came home and told my mother it was the stupidest movie I’d ever seen, all about some spoiled lazy brat who never had to work a day in her life and was devastated when, for a brief period, she actually had to fend for herself.

#10 Comment By Harve On November 12, 2018 @ 3:51 pm

Siarlys Jenkins says:

“You missed what creekmama said. Certainly it seems they are there for a good two years or more.”

You missed my point. A serious initiative to reduce abortions that are economically based will involve things that are impossible for private organizations to bring to scale in a nation of 300 million plus.

A primary consideration is robustness. Any successful such venture is going to have to be able to function in a countercyclical environment and provide services over a broad range of needs. Trivalizing this with a 17 y.o. being a ward again misses the point.

For example, a single mother with a 4 y.o. is going to need child care. Not everyone has family that can help. Quality daycare is going to be beyond the reach of most such women.

Sixteen years ago I was wandering around the Colorado Plateau and stopped in a small town. In front of the market a couple of teen-aged girls were having a bake sale for a local family whose newborn was in a NICU. Good on them but the bill is going to be six figures. A bake sale isn’t going to cut it. If their insurance (assuming they had any) had an annual or life cap, they’re screwed. The kid now has pre-existing conditions, of course (the ACA solved this problem for many but that’s a government program which kind of makes my point).

Are PCCs set up for that? That’s why we have Medicaid and CHIP. Some PCCs may want to help and some may try but it just won’t scale.

Re: Roe. Roe is going away either over-turned or a thousand cuts. When that happens and abortion goes underground in many states, what do you think is going to happen to those PCCs and how will they reach the women they want to target?
How many donors and volunteers will simply declare victory and move on?

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 13, 2018 @ 11:28 am

You missed my point. A serious initiative to reduce abortions that are economically based will involve things that are impossible for private organizations to bring to scale in a nation of 300 million plus.

So what? That in no way means that people so motivated shouldn’t try, and do what they can.

Since I am on record firmly in support of Roe v. Wade, obviously I’m not accepting the availability of CPC’s as a basis for FORBID a woman having an abortion if she chooses to do so.

As Mao said on one of his better days, “Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

Are PCCs set up for that? That’s why we have Medicaid and CHIP.

Have you ever read Alexis de Tocqueville on Democracy in America? Pay close attention to the material on voluntary non-governmental association.

Roe is going away either over-turned or a thousand cuts.

Assumes facts not in evidence. You and Kurt Gayle can have a pity party together when it doesn’t happen.