I received this email today from a 17 year old girl named Caroline, and it touched my heart. I believe she read my column in Counter Cultured called “Keeping Tradition Hip in a Modern World.” She wouldn’t disclose where she’s from (I think she’s from Europe), but she has an important message for young conservatives here in the U.S. Take a moment to read it.
Hello, my name is Caroline and I just want to share my story with you. I live in a severely socialized country, I won’t mention which country, but I wanted to share with people what it’s like to live in a country like that for a 17 year old girl who loves tradition and has values. Basically, our political scale is a lot more to the left than the American one so the Democrats would be the most right-sided party in Sweden. Our most right-sided party even went out and supported the Democrats and their candidate in the 2012 election. So, I’ll share my reality. I wish I could be proud of my straight As and my passion for my school work. I wish I could say that education is crucial to me, that succeeding in life requires education and knowledge. I wish I could be proud that I’m working extremely hard in school and that I see school as a place to learn, not as a place to be impolite towards my teachers and treating other students without respect. I wish people could stop calling me a suck-up just because I see my teachers as superiors and treat them with extra respect and grace. I wish I could proudly say that yes, I’m 17 years old so I have a curfew. My parents care for me and watch out for me and won’t let me be out late. My family and I eat dinner together every single night and we spend a lot of time together. We go through rough times just like any other family but we face things together and that’s something I’m proud of. My parents have been together for 25 years and they struggle just like any other couple but they won’t give up, they are married and they would never dream of breaking that commitment. To me, those are the best role models there is, but the situation in my country is different. You barely see any married couples lasting longer than a few years and the commitment of marriage is easily scattered and thrown away, which scares me. I wish I could be proud of the fact that I visit church every Sunday, that I pray for people when I feel like they need it, and that I turn to God for guidance. I wish my friends would join me, but religion and faith is not something popular here. We’re still a Christian country so most babies get baptized, most couples get married at church and most old people get buried in the graveyard. I wish people here would look at belief differently. I wish I wouldn’t be the only human under 40 when I visit church. I wish I wouldn’t be almost completely lonely when I visit my family’s grave and place flowers and decorations to honor them there. I wish I wouldn’t be the only one of my friends who owns a Bible. You do have to realize that a lack of faith and belief, no matter which religion, will come along when a country gets as socialized as ours. Abortion is extremely easy here. It’s something that is so accepted in our society, that it doesn’t require a lot in order to go through with an abortion. I never tell people that I’m against abortion; I tell them that I’m pro-life. I believe that abortion itself isn’t the issue here, it’s the lack of morality and values that causes the extreme amount of abortions, every year between 30 000 and 38 000 babies are killed (and we’re a very small country I may say) due to the fact that people here has no values or respect for life. I’m a virgin. 17 years old and a virgin. Let me tell you that I definitely don’t fit in the mold here. I’m the only one of my friends that still has my virginity left. I truly wish that I could say to people that I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the fact that I have saved something special for someone special and that it means more to me than doing it drunk at a party just to get it done. I wish I could tell people that yes, I want to wait and do it with someone I love, truly love, and make it matter. Girls and boys here look at sex with concerning easiness, they are not anywhere near ready to make such a big commitment but people here don’t see it that way. Really, the sooner the better. I don’t even believe that I’m in a hurry, I’m soon 20 years old and that will only be a fifth of my life. I wish I could tell people that I’m waiting, for the special one that I’ll be ready to make a lifelong commitment to. I value my self-respect and would never lower myself to that level. Also, I don’t party. People here directly assume that I’m boring, that I hate having fun and can’t feel free. Let me tell you something, I feel free when I’m not lying in the street puking. I can have fun without alcohol or drugs and I prefer a night at home with my family, reading, over being at a shabby home-party. I wish I could tell girls my age that please, don’t wear clothes that shows more than it reveals. Don’t search boys’ attention by putting less clothes on your body and see your body as something to guard. Value your self-respect, your dignity and your appearance. It’ll be worth it, when you meet someone who respects you for who you really are and not for how little clothes you’re wearing. I wish I could tell men and boys that I expect more from them. I wish they could be gentlemen, proud and respectful. I wish they could step up and make themselves worthy of women like me, just like I want to tell women to step up and make themselves worthy of men like that. So, how can I tie this all together? I am proud of myself and my values, but I have to tell you, it’s exhausting. There is no space for values and tradition here. A lot of the times I feel like I have nowhere to fit in and that is devastating to be honest. People here don’t understand me; don’t understand why I feel like do or why I have my values. As a fellow conservative and lady-in-the-heart, please make sure you keep your place in the US. As I said, there is no space for me here, but I believe in America and the space for conservatism and class. Fight for this, fight for the future and for a place I dream of living in in the future.