While listening to a recent recording from Glenn Beck’s show I was reminded of why I left New York. I could relate so well to what he was saying and, at the same time, felt so sorry for him and his family. In a city that claims to be so “diverse” and open to change; that claims to embrace so many different ethnic and religious groups; that claims freedom of speech is so important, they treated a conservative talk radio host and his family like common criminals. Must be that double-standard again.
I am one of the many transplants to North Carolina. We moved here in May of 2011 from Long Island, New York. Our home was only three-tenths of a mile from the ocean. So many people asked, “WHY?? Who would want to leave ’Lawn guyland’ to move down south?” In my heart I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to stay!
Long Island, especially our area, was brutally and painfully liberal. Mind you, ask any of them what the issues were and they’d say “I don’t know, but I know I’m a Democrat! I vote Democrat.” Ask someone on the Right what they were and they knew. Unfortunately, conservatives were few and far between.
I remember one day when I went to vote and signed the book, one of the women working the sign-in table whispered as I walked to the booth, “She’s a Republican!” I stopped dead in my tracks, did a 180 and said, “Yes, this IS what a Republican looks like. We don’t have horns or breathe fire, we don’t dress up in Colonial costumes, we don’t walk about with machine guns, but we DO have it in ourselves to forgive, respect and accept people with different opinions!” No one said a word but a lot of mouths were hanging open, and there were some very embarrassed faces on the people around me. I, on the other hand, was smiling ear-to-ear and winked at one senior gent who I could tell wanted to applaud, but would never risk being called a “racist” or something. That was the moment I realized I could speak my mind, and had the “chutzpah” (as they say in Oceanside, NY) to do it with dignity and conviction.
I think part of the “fire” I feel now in supporting the Right has to do with my indoctrination to the Left in those many years in New York. The things that came out of their mouths were illogical and unsubstantiated by facts. They sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher: “WHAUK, WHAUK, WHAUK!” I would get so angry and frustrated because our town REFUSED to decorate for the Christmas holiday. No lights or wreaths on poles; no decorations in the shopping areas; nothing that would indicate Christmas was coming except for the stores sending mailers. The Chamber of Commerce gave me the runaround each year, making up excuses as to why they couldn’t decorate. I suspect now they were Obama’s speech writers because everything they told me was a lie, right down to saying the people of Oceanside couldn’t afford it. COULDN’T AFFORD IT?!
Every driveway was filled with high-end cars—a Mercedes here, and BMW there; a Lexus here and a Cadillac there! Granted, we were shooting around town in an old mini-van and a small Toyota, but we didn’t see how they could claim there was no money for decorations. That’s when I decided to take it the local newspaper, and the editor backed me up all the way. He asked me to write for them and I wrote a few columns from a conservative woman’s point of view. Unfortunately, in “lib America,” my children were being harassed, even by their teachers, with questions like, “Is that YOUR mother that writes those columns? Is that how she REALLY feels?” in a very mocking way. I decided to stop the column to make things easier for them, but I never stopped voicing my opinion.
Now that I’m in North Carolina, and surrounded by so many people who feel as I do, who are kind and moral and have traditional values, I know I’m “home.” I consider myself a “southern fried bagel”–another transplant who feels that this is where she was meant to be.
I will continue to defend our rights as Americans. I will stand up for our freedoms and speak out for people who have been told to be quiet and sit down–people who have been bullied by the Left and put on the defensive for what they believe. Only now I’ll try to do it without the Long Island accent!
COLLEEN GILMARTIN is a contributor for The Greensboro Guardian and considers herself a “Southern Fried Bagel, ” (a New York native, recently transplanted to the Greensboro, North Carolina area–we had to ask too!)