It's very unlikely that anyone who knows me would ever consider me a risk-taker. My nickname is ''Brakes.'' I'm like the babysitter who won't let you stay up late, demands you eat your vegetables, and watches you brush your teeth.
This no-fun mentality is particularly strong when it comes to politics. It's why I voted for Adrian Fenty in the last mayoral election. It's not that the argument for Vincent Gray wasn't good, but I didn't have enough reason to abandon Fenty. Averse to change for its own sake, I lean toward incumbents.
It brings to mind a Merriam-Webster definition: ''tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions … marked by moderation or caution.''
That's me in a word: conservative. You won't find me rolling around with the hippies at Burning Man. It's rare that you'd even find me at the Miss Adams Morgan Pageant – and certainly not in drag. I don't disapprove; I'm simply uptight.
With my conservative values, I am an environmentalist. As long as Earth is the only planet we occupy, its sustainability is sacrosanct. So an energy policy that embraces seemingly limitless use of nonrenewable sources of energy and offers not much in the way of green-energy research is reckless.
As a conservative, I want fiscal restraint. A military budget of about $700 billion ain't restraint. The Cold War is over, and our military should reflect that. I want a strong defense, but not one that serves as a form of welfare. Paying for weapons we don't need might keep a shipyard open, but that money could be better spent on education. It makes more sense to use federal funds to train out-of-work shipbuilders to work in different fields than it does to build a ship we don't necessarily need.
I have a healthy conservative suspicion of power. Accordingly, I don't favor government overreach. I'm dumbstruck at the arrogant notion that a government would tell a woman what may or may not happen inside her own body. Similarly, I would challenge anyone to give me a rational reason why my husband and I should not be entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as any other legally married couple in America. Whatever religious damnations we may incur, that's just fine. But the elected official – of fellow constituent – who wants to infringe on my civil rights is much cozier with government intrusion than I am.
Despite my conservative values, I do not align myself with the party that carries the ''conservative'' label. Invading Iraq? Not conservative. Nor am I a Democrat. After battling the Bill Clinton camp as a Jerry Brown supporter in the 1992 primaries, I came to view the two-party system as corrupt. I've been a Green Party member since.
But instead of voting for the Green candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, I will again be voting for Barack Obama. With my incumbent leanings, no surprise. It was an easy call in the last election, too. I admired John McCain's service to our country, but ''maverick'' and ''going rogue'' don't speak to my conservative values. Nor does a sophomoric chant of ''Drill, baby, drill!'' I voted in 2008's economic chaos for restraint, and that's what I got. Some say Obama hasn't done enough to get people back to work. I say that slow and steady wins the race. Sure, we could transform the country into an industrial wasteland that enjoys lower employment and higher rates of black lung. He removed the government ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. He's endorsed the idea that government should not be attacking my marriage.
As a rational conservative who believes that the keys to a thriving society are a strong middle class, a social safety net – to ward off the possibility of revolution, if for no other reason – and education/innovation, I would vote Vulcan if I could. That not being an option, I'll stick with Obama.