I do not wish to shock you today but I am thinking of becoming a conservative. What else is a contrary fellow to do? Being a liberal was fun back when it wasn’t the "in" thing, but in the Obama era more and more people are leaning liberal to the point where it has become socially acceptable. Frankly, the old liberal magic of being universally reviled has faded for me.

For a liberal, it’s a bit like having been a much-tattooed rebel and waking up one morning and discovering that every mom in the kids’ playgroup has "Born to Be Mild" inscribed on a bicep.

Where’s the special distinction, where’s the social cachet in being identified with a sane, clear-thinking majority? I think it may be time to join the few, the proud, the disgruntled and establish a new political beachhead. It would be good to feel bad about myself again.

Of course, conservatives — bless ’em — do not think they are currently on the outs. Because they are having so much fun with their tea parties, they think that their politics are everybody’s cup of tea. If I remember correctly, so did the Mad Hatter at his tea party.

In their Adventures in Obamaland, conservatives have many grievances to divert their thoughts, starting with the fact that a majority of American people voted for Barack Obama in the last election.

Naturally, they believe everything the president has done so far has been terrible.

For example, he promised he was going to take away all their guns and now in office he has made clear he won’t. Some liberals have complained about this — I would too if I were still an unwavering liberal — but has anyone spared a thought for the poor, misled conservatives? Now they’ll have to sell their arms caches to deserving Mexicans to recoup their losses.

That could be the last straw. Conservatives can’t even trust this Obama guy to do the wrong thing. Next thing you know it’ll turn out he’s not a Muslim or else he’ll cut taxes. (Wait! He’s already done that! What a sneaky rascal!) I want to share in their alienation. I think it would be cool to stand in the street and wear a tea bag hanging from my sunglasses as a new statement of political maturity.

Unfortunately, I have never protested anything in public before, so I would be a little awkward at first. Does one hold a protest sign like a tea cup, with pinky extended? What is the etiquette? To my lasting regret, I wasn’t allowed to become a hippie in the ’60s because I did not have the requisite amount of hair. Now’s my chance to hold my tea bag and be a dippy.

If I become a conservative, I could arrange Earl Grey tea bags into a sort of wig to show that I was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore — whatever "it" is. This would be some sort of fun, unless I became mad like Glenn Beck, who always appears just one ambulance away from a lunatic asylum.

Perhaps, while dangling my beverage bundle, one of the angry women who used to write me snarky notes when I was a whining liberal could come over and say, "Hey, big guy, I like your style all of a sudden!" Then the two of us could shout, "Make war, not love! Make war, not love!" and it will be like the madcap ’60s all over again, except in reverse.

What the heck! I am tired of President Obama trying to make peace with the world in the spirit of calm and dignity. Surely we should be doing something to provoke these foreigners.

Have we gone so soft that we can’t insult the French? Moreover, all this smiling and shaking hands with dictators is revolting. Whatever happened to the "bomb thy neighbor" ethic of this great Christian nation? Civilized behavior? Bah! Simple courtesy? Humbug! I do hope that conservatives will accept my conversion if I go through with it. I trust that my criticism of the last president will not matter because his name and all his works have been struck even from their collective memory.

In this convenient way, honest tea-baggers can drink deep of amnesia, not only forgetting the last president but also the huge deficits he racked up without a word of protest from the likes of them. If it works for them, it will work for me.

Erstwhile liberal friends, I stand on the brink of conversion. I believe I already have most of what is required to be a conservative. Not only have I always been against deficits, but also more importantly, I am old and crabby and should fit right in.

(Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail rhenry(at)post-gazette.com)

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