The Uncertain Future Of The Christian Conservative

The Uncertain Future Of The Christian Conservative

The changing Christian conservative, the moral dilemma and the uncertainty of future political affiliation.

"The Christian conservative vote historically has been driven by issues like gay marriage, abortion and similar topics. To outsiders, it's been viewed in terms of more hate than love but it's been very social issue focused - this is our litmus test & these are our issues.," said Mindy Tucker Fletcher.

Historically, the Republican party has been actively driven by the Christian conservative vote. In today's election, amid scandals, repulsive rhetoric and virtually zero ethical standards between the two candidates, Christian conservatives are torn, but they are also seemingly different from previous generations.

This was an area of interest to political veteran, Mindy Tucker Fletcher. I recently had the chance to sit down with her and hear her thought leadership on all things political, with a dash of country music and baseball. You may be wondering who this Mindy person is and why her opinion matters. She was the press secretary to George W. Bush during his 2000 presidential election and also returned in 2004 to win the vote of women voters. In 2001, she became the first woman to be named chief spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice and she was in that role during the attacks on September 11, 2001. She was also a senior vice president for Ogilvy PR Worldwide where she worked with their California and Washington, D.C. offices taking on controversial issues. Additionally, she served as deputy chief of staff and deputy campaign manager for Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger. Now she spends her time running a communication consulting firm, Crux Partners, with a few other rockstar women, going to sporting events and spending time with her two sons.

Fletcher sees this new group of Christian conservatives as Millennials but also portions of the older generation. She said they are now very actively engaged in issues like poverty (not just local but global), they care about the environment and they have different views about race. She says that is in large part because they're younger and each generation feels differently about it than the previous one and each generation sees color less than the previous.

Fletcher said, "I'm really curious as to as this generation comes into its own & starts voting and starts getting politically active, what that does to the political framework."She continued, "Where this Christian conservative element has been really active in driving the Republican Party for a long time what happens as this new generation gets involved?"

She posed the questions of whether or not the Republican Party will change, whether this group will become Democrats, whether they start a party of their own, or whether they will nix all involvement in politics — completely put out with it, feeling like they do not have a truly representative party of their own.

"I'm really fascinated by what will happen."

It's no doubt many Christian conservatives get a very bad reputation. There are the bad apples who look at things in such a stark black and white context with no areas of gray, the ones who are keyboard warriors spreading hate, or even the ones out protesting with nasty language in the name of God.

Fletcher brought up a woman named Jen Hatmaker who is a Christian author. Fletcher said, "She's been very outspoken as of late when it comes to politics and whatever we're doing, if we walk around holding our nose acting like everyone around us stinks, who's going to want to be around us?" Fletcher continued, "You're spreading the message of God, that's not how you do it. She's gotten into a lot of these issues and given a voice to women. I think women tend to be more compassionate than men voters and she's given a voice to these Christian moms out there who've had some different views on these issues."

Given Fletcher's active political career and engaged political activism, you might wonder who she is voting for in this presidential election.

Fletcher said, "I think it's a dangerous election. I think for me it's a hard vote for Christians. I don't see how you can justify voting for either of them. Some people feel like they have to. I'm not going to make a choice. I'm just not going to vote for president. And I think afterward, if Donald trump is president, I think Christians are going to get saddled with him because he walks around talking about 'the evangelicals love me.' He doesn't even know who they are but he says 'they love me' So I think Christians will get saddled with him & I think that's dangerous. I don't want Christianity to be defined by Donald trump."

As a mom of two young boys, she sees the danger in electing someone with such vile language and poor moral values. As a Christian, she cannot endorse him as a Republican. She pointed out the issue of Christians or Republicans voting for Trump simply because they hate Clinton with such a fervor and she doesn't think that is a promising solution either.

I asked her if she thinks this new age of Christian conservatives can get enough breadth and form enough of a stronghold to make a difference.

"They absolutely could make a difference," said Fletcher.

Fletcher went on to say, "It takes enough of them getting involved & doing something. I worry the idea of getting involved in politics becomes so distasteful to most of them that they just don't get involved. But they could make a change if there were enough of them working in the same direction. To say these issues are important to us & they need to be important to our party."

Personally, I see so much opportunity for Millennial conservatives to make a positive impact. Social media and democratized platforms like Odyssey give way to a group to a form a voice and share thought leadership. There has never been a better time for a group to work together and seek positive impact and change.

I asked Fletcher what she sees as the steps for this group to move forward. She said after the election, it's imperative to break down and understand what happened, and then figure out the way to step into it. She stressed the importance of having one or two voices to catapult the movement. Fletcher explained, "People from that generation that are articulate and active need to get out there and do something about it. In politics these days, one of the most valuable resources is a following - a social media following, an email list. I know that sounds crass. Do you have a following – people who listen to you, people who you can move to do something when you need them to do it? It’s going to take the right person who can sort of build up that following and bring people on with them."

One of the first people I thought of during this conversation was Mitt Romney. He is known for being a good businessman, a man of strong moral character and conservative. I asked Fletcher if she saw someone like that as an ideal figurehead.

Fletcher said she was never certain as to how much of it was him becoming what he needed to be to win. She explained she also knew was not a nefarious thing because he came out of business. He’s very used to just doing what he needs to do to get things done. Because of that, he didn’t see it as a philosophical switch all of the time. It wasn;t a bad thing for him to decide to switch on something or focus on something different. He just saw it as the business of getting things done.

She went on to say, "However, he is a very compassionate person. The documentary of him and his family throughout the election, you should watch it. I would put any other Christian up against that guy and his family in terms of their dedication to prayer and making their faith a part of their daily walk through the election. I was blown away. I was really convicted by their practice of their religion, even if it is partially things I don’t agree with. I was really blown away."

I asked Mindy then who she saw as an ideal person to start this movement. She said there is a person who comes to mind but she doesn't think he wants to step in and run with it. The person was Paul Ryan. Fletcher said, "I don’t think he wants to. I think he’s juggling keeping his family together while he’s trying to manage all of these crazy congress people who are on 40 different sides of issues all telling him he’s going to lose his job every day because he doesn’t agree with them. He’s got potential because he’s young enough and he’s smart. He’s really smart on the issues and I think he’s young enough to really carry it but I don’t know that he wants to do that. But someone like him."

As we discussed the process more I posed the question of whether this type of movement needs to grow bottom-up or top-down. She said ideally, it needs to grow bottom-up but there need to be a couple of figureheads, some people who can bring it along more quickly than one by one, in order to give it a voice. Fletcher explained, "There are all of these feelings but who can give it a voice in politics and play into the structure? This group, being largely millennials, see through BS. It has to be authentic. It has to be really derivative of someone. It has to really be part of who they are or they’re going to see right through it."

As a millennial with a Christian background and just left of center views, this is something that is very interesting. I hope the Christian conservative vote propels an idea of love, compassion and change. It should be interesting to see exactly how it will all play out. More than anything, regardless of political or religious affiliation, I encourage Millennials to get involved and become active in your communities and social issues that are of importance to you.

(Mindy appeared on the show "With All Due Respect" in June.)

To keep up with Mindy's thought leadership on politics, baseball and country music follow her here.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

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Aranxa Esteve

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What We're Witnessing Is One Of Humanity's Biggest Tests–Will We Stand Up Or Stand By?

It's time for a mental overhaul: Turn the volume up on the news, read into the issues, recognize what is wrong.


As I pushed the button to speed up the stairmaster at the gym, I stared absentmindedly at the TV screens across all of the walls in the cardio section. I breathed heavily as I pressed on and didn't think about what I was watching and seeing. Our joke of a president, wildfires, and babies at the border that broke my heart seemed to fly by as I climbed on and on.

But they were there, in my mind. Like everything else that is wrong. Spinning. I think I've landed myself in the most unfortunate mental space during these Trump years. And here is why.

When Trump was elected, I was a first semester college student, experiencing a whirlwind of my own and then heartbroken to see Hillary nearly fade from view. It was the nightmare I feared for so many months but what was more sickening was the fact that I knew, as a young white woman, it would not hit me as hard as others.

And being in a stressful time, being so young, and seeing something so heart-wrenching, so incredibly cruel, and so concerning happen to the country left me hopeless at first.

If you've read any other pieces I've written, you might have sensed that. You also may have sensed my drive to veer away from that sense of hopelessness and I hope, maybe you felt motivated to step up.

But as I climbed on and on during this stairmaster workout, I felt like I was at the bottom of a very large hole and as I screamed for help, no one could hear me and trying to climb out myself would be useless.

In the Trump era, a girl who was once so enthusiastic and active and empowered, now found herself hopeless and living with a mindset that actions don't actually make a difference. I'd probably tell you otherwise, but this is an honest account of how I feel, and yes, that girl is me.

I'm not a politician, I'm not in a place where I have ample time to give up my job to be an advocate, and I'm finding that as life speeds by, other interests fall in the way of my path. A few years ago, I was that annoying teacher's pet type kid who ran for every student-body election, was in a million clubs, and wrote for the school paper. Back then, I was immersed in my little bubble of high school and felt that my words and my actions could make a difference. Often, they did. Even on the outside, being a leader in my community paid off. But in the adult world, life got overwhelming. And then we were thrown this asshole of a president and suddenly, the news and every part of the world became a battleground – what would he say next, who would he threaten, what would he shock us with, and mostly, what would he reveal about our country through his actions?

Trump supporters have not gone away quietly. They are alive and well in their masses. And the most important thing we can take away from Donald Trump is that, the worst and most nightmarish thing CAN happen in what's supposed to be the greatest nation on Earth (I'd beg to differ but we'll save that for another article) and when it does, we'll be able to see with the utmost clarity who the people of our country are and how deeply-rooted racism, xenophobia, hate, and bigotry really are. And it's a crumbling, sinking, devastating feeling we get from seeing this reality.

I'm not going to lie to you, every time I know of someone in my life or my circle that is a Trump supporter, I'm stuck wondering if they're incredibly, incredibly stupid or if they managed to hide a disgusting truth so well. Don't EVEN get me started on the people who go on and on and on about how they have friends who voted for Trump and friends who voted for Hillary and no matter what they're still friends.

That mentality is weak, that mentality is being a bystander, and that mentality condones evil. I HAD friends who voted for Trump. Note the past tense. They're not a part of my circle now. I prefer to keep the accepting, loving, equality-supporting, and DECENT human beings close. I know I know, how dare I label someone a racist or evil or horrible for a VOTE? Sue me.

Let me remind you, the votes we cast in any election are valuable. Have been fought for. Are still fought for. They are the center, the core, of our democracy. If you valued that so little as to vote for an ORANGE who is applauded for his racism, his hate, and who vows to tear our nation apart, you're not someone I want to associate with.

Something that people take so much pride in through their support for this man is how he "really speaks his mind and says what he thinks,".

When I hear this kind of language, I recall a teammate I used to have. In every bit of honesty, she was one of the most mean and disrespectful people I've met. But she was fast in the boat and did very well. One of the best people on our team. And whenever she said something mean, everyone would make the excuse… "Oh, that's just Sarah,"* or, "She's just like that,". They excuse poor behavior and being a bad person because of a status on a team, just like people excuse Trump's cruelty for him simply "speaking his mind,". And he's not even a star athlete – he a failed businessman and annoying reality TV star who might have some ounce of charisma if you're into that orange, nasty kind of charisma.

These people, who follow him and who believe he's simply speaking a truth that we need to hear, are the biggest problem. They're bystanders to the truth that needs to be heard, that he is a monster. But just like they are bystanders to the problem that sits in the oval office, I feel as though I am a bystander in a different way.

I'm not like them, but as I watch it all unfold and go about my life, I feel that I need to do more. But I also find that I am stifled by the news, the disaster that is unfolding before my eyes, and without much power in being an ordinary citizen that I can see and believe in during these dark times, I say with the saddest honesty that I feel like a bystander too. I'm turning a blind eye, in some ways. And I am part of the problem. We all are. But to what end can we continue under this disgraceful, discouraging, conditions?

By realizing that he's on a path of destruction like a hurricane. And his that truthfully, things may get worse before they get better. And most importantly, the ones we love that are bound to fall victim to his evil policies are going to get hurt. We're coming up on a crucial time where we must have a societal reckoning – how can we be a voice for the voiceless, how can we amplify the oppressed and oppress the hateful voices from the other side? How can we be of action when action seems impossible?

I've chosen to write. And to write until I feel the hope again. But we all can realize that this is the greatest test we've come across, and we're going to fail if we don't come to terms with one thing: This IS wrong. We might not come out in good shape. The people who struggle the most in this country will continue to hurt. And how we think, how we act consequently, how we raise our children, and how we choose to live our lives will determine if we give them a fighting chance.

It's time for a mental overhaul: Turn the volume up on the news, read into the issues, recognize what is wrong.

I'm begging, for every person on the streets tonight, for every toddler stuck at the border, for every family wondering about their fate as a minority in this country. For all of us.

This is not normal, and never will be. America deserves better. Press on.

*Name altered

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