Conservative Vato Wakes Up! “Coffee” Anyone?

Young Democrat:   
I wasn't always conservative.  I was born into a Hispanic family that lived in a poor neighborhood in the near west side of San Antonio.  I was third generation American citizen and was very insulted when called a "wet back" or illegal immigrant. I attended Sidney Lanier High School which was about 98% Hispanic.   

Like the rest of my family I was raised to believe that Henry B. Gonzales was the patron saint of Hispanics in government. We spoke English because Spanish was frowned upon in public or seen as the language of the poor. I felt proud of Henry Cisneros, our councilman who later became the dynamic mayor of our small city.   I and the other neighborhood kids even played touch football with him on the new football field in newly renovated high school.  San Antonio was growing! 

I was even glad that a peanut farmer from Georgia won the election for president in 1976.  The "evil," republicans had gotten their comeuppance, Rocky and Stars Wars were in movies and  we all were going to hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah.  I failed to notice the unemployment, the inflation and was too busy "doing the disco" to care.  

Then I began to work.  I was part of a union, AFL-CIO.  I noticed the union dues, sales taxes, the car registration taxes, interest rates and the income tax. Much of my money was going to people other than myself.  But, I had to do my part for society and help the "deserving" poor.   But, I began to stir from a deep sleep.    

In the eighties, I attended college and volunteered for DNC.  I saw the pitiful folks that ran against Reagan in 1984.   I believed and campaigned with all my heart that the Democrats would prevail.  Honestly, I was scared to death during the Reagan years that the crazy old man was playing chicken with the Russians and nuclear weapons were the vehicle of choice.  A biased media fueled fears in a time of the space shuttle disaster and the movie, "The Day After." 

I began to pay attention, I noticed the national debt and waste.  There were $640 toilet seats!
Vote Republican :

I voted for Bush 41 .   It didn't go well.  I was angry at Bush for raising taxes when he promised not to and even Bill Clinton looked more conservative than Bush at that time.    I voted for Clinton in 1992.
 I was coming awake.
 By now I was working in corporate America.  My peers were well read and eloquent. I began to analyze my positions on issues.  Never a wallflower, I argued my points.  However, even when I was able to win the debate, some questions began to gnaw at my beliefs. 
 It was a bit of a shock in the nineties after voting for Bill Clinton that I realized I wanted a smaller national  debt, a balanced budget, smaller government, less taxes and a government that stayed out of private life.  The Berlin Wall had fallen, the Russians had tanked their economy in the arms race and Reagan looked a little less crazy and a lot smarter.

Truth be told, thanks to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America along with the internet revolution, the 1990s were the last "good old times."

 As I studied more history and filtered my own bias, I realized I was truly a fiscal conservative.  I am also socially conservative because of my Catholic upbringing.   
 I was fully awake, shocked and somehow had become a conservative, Hispanic.  

 I was ...   A Conservative Vato.