December 2016 / Feature / Olivia Lyons

Concerns from a Conservative Kid

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Last month, the United States elected contentious presidential hopeful Donald Trump to the presidency. Tensions are high, and people are mad. Many are categorizing all Republicans as die-hard Trump supporters—and that is simply not true.

Trump has been a polarizing candidate not just for the country, but for the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton has done the same within the Democratic Party, creating a solid division between her supporters and the loyal legions that stood behind Bernie Sanders.

This has been a difficult time for many different groups: people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and women. As someone who identifies as Republican—and did not vote for vote.jpgTrump—it’s been difficult for me as well. I am not one that is beaten down easily, but the angry, at times violent rhetoric I’ve received has had me in tears. I would be sitting in class, not realizing I was headed straight into a verbal war zone. Students were blaming the Republican party for the end of America and many people’s safety.

Many students who were never “out” about being Conservative are now very afraid to be themselves politically. I have never been vocal about my political leanings, but decided there has never been a better time than now.

I am more of a fiscal Conservative. I believe taxes and the national debt should be lower. It reflects my own personal style of how I use my money—I treat myself every now and then, but mainly stick to the necessities. I always make sure my bank accounts are above a specific number, and I refuse to get behind on bills. I am pro-business, meaning that I believe there should be an agricultural subsidy, especially since this is a major source of food and economic for all of America. I also believe in keeping as many jobs in America as possible.

To me, a strong military is important because we are intractably involved in various geopolitical conflicts around the world. We need to be able to defend ourselves. In addition to this, I want to protect the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms. I have grown up in a family that has always had guns for hunting and target shooting purposes. I myself am a hunter, and I enjoy target shooting. Being in possession of a gun requires great responsibility, but it is a right that should not be taken away from everyone because of specific people who have misused this Amendment.e6ba8fa4f92804327ac101432775e6ee4-e1411463400926.jpg

There’s a lot going on right now, and we can all feel it. People are threatening to do things deep down they morally can not do, at least I hope. The climate on campus—and for some certainly with family during the holidays—is tense to say the least.

As a Resident Assistant in a hall of first years at Champlain, there is no way I could be a student leader and have the views people are claiming I have due to my political affiliations.

From a Republican on a Democratic-majority campus, here are some collective thoughts that I and other conservatives have developed during the ensuing debate following the election of Donald Trump:

You would never categorize a group of people as all the same, so why start now?

For some reason, people feel it is necessary to say all Republicans share the same views. Contrary to this belief, many prominent Republican politicians have expressed their distaste for the President-Elect. Why are we all being piled together now? The Democratic Party spans a spectrum from Elizabeth Warren to the more Conservative Claire MacCaskill, and it’s important to note that the Republican Party works just the same.

 

You’re Republican, so you hate the LGBTQ+ Community.

No. This is completely wrong. I have close friends within the LGBTQ+ community, and I could never hate them for who they are. After talking with Republicans who have been called homophobic, they have said their best friends, their cousins, their family membersjoemygod.blogspot.jpg are also part of the LGBTQ+ community and in no way do they believe people need to be “converted” or fear coming out. How could I be a student leader if I thought people should hide their identities, or if I refused to help them because of it? My personal views on sexual identity are exactly that—personal beliefs that don’t inform my interactions with the students I work with.

 

Trump is a racist, so you must be too.

The fact that I have to prove this in 2016 is ridiculous. Obviously, not all Conservatives are racist. Some definitely are, I’m not going to lie. But most Conservatives are not. Though
the stats are low, there is some diversity among the Republican party.
According to this NBC News article, Amanda Sakuma reported, “Trump claimed 29 percent of the Hispanic vote on Tuesday compared to Romney’s 27 percent in 2012. With African Americans, exit polls show Trump claimed 8 percent of the vote to the previous Republican nominee’s 6 percent.”

 

You must be okay with misogyny and sexism, because Trump is.

Guess what? I’m not. It pisses me off that women do not get paid equally for the same vintage-women-ads-20.jpgwork. I believe women should have the same rights as men. If I ever find myself in a relationship with a man who tries to tell me what to do and control me, it’s over. I have my own brain, thank you very much, and I do know how to make it work. Trump has said some very sexist things, such as the infamous statement that men can, “grab [women] by the pussy.” It’s terrible, it’s wrong, it’s vile. This is not an accurate representation of Republicans. That alone gives Conservatives a bad rap, but we as a party need to band together and overcome the awful things he has said.

 

All Republicans are “Rednecks.”

I understand a lot of votes for Trump came from those in the rural parts of each state. But not all Republicans are “rednecks.” When I first came to college, students thought I was a “hippie” from California that just wanted a change of coasts. Talk about the other end of the spectrum.

 

The only xenophobes are Republicans.

This may be true, but not all of us are. I received an email recently that said an international student in my resident hall had been enjoying their time at the school, mostly due to their RAs. My reaction when I got this was a mix of happiness and confusion—I was so happy to hear it, but I didn’t know who the international student was! To this day, I still don’t know. If I was a xenophobe, I probably would have searched out who it was and shit on them, but that is so wrong I could never even fathom it.

 

If Love Trumps Hate, why are you acting like him?

How can one person go from loving all and wanting peace, to threatening to kill all Republicans? I have heard so many complaints about how Trump hates certain minorities, and that he wants to get rid of them. But then the same people mentioning that turn around and say they want to kill all Conservatives. I have been indirectly told to kill myself because I am categorized as part of the “bad people” of the Republican party. I have trouble even making sense of this. It is perfectly okay to be unhappy, to be mad, pissed off, and scared, but why should you talk about starting groups to kill people? That’s something we should collectively be fighting against. 

 

Remember, nothing is going to happen over night.

Yes, I understand why so many are scared and as much as people do not want to hear it, everyone does need to look at the big picture. Trump is going to be inaugurated in January, not tomorrow. Things will not change overnight. Even after he does take office, things will not be reversed with the snap of a finger and flick of a pen. The amount of deliberation that “The Wall” would take in Congress will probably outlast Trump’s presidency. Though I realize that Republicans hold a majority in both the House and the Senate, I cannot reiterate enough that not all think the same exact way Trump does. All bills are based off of a ⅔ vote which means some Democrats will also need to agree. We have checks and balances to ensure no one branch gains too much power.

 

In a time when we need to be bonding together, people are only pulling each other apart.

I am an ally.

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I hope this sheds light on those who feel like there is no where to go because of their political views. And I hope this doesn’t make you think differently of me because I have outwardly said my political views. I am still the same considerate, loving, and friendly person I have always been and always will be. We need to be careful of trying to fit people into boxes. I’m not the only fiscally Conservative, socially Liberal student out there.
Please, stop fighting and start uniting.

 

Credit (first photo): Joey Devilla
Credit (second photo): Hunters Namibia
Credit (third photo): LGBT Weekly
Credit (fourth photo): Gurl
Credit (fifth photo): Not Even Past
Credit (featured image): The Hesperado

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