I am a “Crunchy Republican”.
What is that exactly? It is actually difficult to answer.
Let me start by explaining my former aversion to Birkenstocks. I do not like to be barefoot, honestly. Not that there is anything “wrong” with my feet, but I find them to be unusually cold, even in hot weather. I wear socks most of the time (except when sleeping at night).
As for the Birkenstocks themselves, well, I am sorry but I have believed them to be rather “douchey”. The people I know wearing them regularly tend to be insufferable liberals whose supposed moral superiority is reflected by their footwear. Believe me, I would not dare claim moral superiority, and certainly would not reflect it with my feet.
In 2009, I became disabled when I was struck down with a difficult neurological illness. From this came a serious simplification of my life, with many things slowing down. Up to then I have to admit to having been rather materialistic, always needing the latest “thing” and looking forward to frivolities like expensive suppers and luxurious travel. With my illness though, I came to appreciate the basic things in life. These things which were once so important to me became irrelevant.
Still, my political philosophy – which has driven me completely since I was a boy – remained solidly Republican and Capitalist. I still firmly believe that the government should be limited, free-market solutions are the ideal, and both a strong national and personal defense are musts.
The liberal/progressive approach to society will always be mostly naive to me. Still, there are some appealing things in it. Aspects ranging from organic foods to “being one with nature” appeal to me, so I began to look into farmer’s markets and hemp clothing, as well as drinking more water instead of processed sodas (natural sodas though, are good on occasion). Even my musical tastes have changed, with R.E.M. becoming a favorite band, and also a discovering of Renaissance music. I can seriously spend hours listening to both!
But how could I be so ‘hippie” and yet still be so Republican? I found my answer one day while reading an article from Rod Dreher, about “Crunchy Cons”, or “Crunchy Republicans”. Instead of being Wall Street yuppies, we are simple people who farm our own vegetables and/or buy them at the local Farmer’s Market (mentioned above), homeschool our kids, and deeply love the environment while cleaning and safely storing our firearms. Some of us even sport ponytails and grow our beards out (though I will not!). We drive “green cars” while investing the money in our wisely watched-over portfolios into the companies that make them. We use compost and filter rainwater while also helping our economy by purchasing a flat screen television to watch Fox News and OANN.
I read the article and saw so much of myself. Yes, I too am a “Crunchy Republican”!
The term “Crunchy” also led me to develop a certain quest, a mission to find for myself “The Perfect Granola”. I seriously enjoy breakfast cereal, with granola being my favorite. For the last few years, I have been on a search for the best granola out there. I have sampled many, but have yet to find the ideal one. Someday I will, of that I am sure.
This all then led me to the Birkenstocks. Sigh – well, I decided, if I am going “Crunchy Republican”, then I have to go all-in. A few days after my 50th birthday, I bought my first pair. Honestly, they hurt! The soles of my feet could not get used to them. How do people wear these, I wondered with each painful step? But my younger daughter assured me that I would “break them in” and then they would be the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn. So I limped around for some days until it finally happened! Now I wear them regularly, albeit with socks. My feet are still cold most of the time.
So here I am, a Crunchy Republican: hemp clothing, fresh veggies, my GOP party membership and voter’s registration cards, and R.E.M. playing on my iPhone. Please be assured though that I will never do the “older bald-guy with ponytail from hair he can grow on the sides and back” look! Take away my granola if I ever do.