I have a few things to say to you — all of you.
You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.
Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.
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“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."
I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.
You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.
Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far-right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.
For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.
For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.
When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."
“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."
“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.
Here's what I believe:
I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.
Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?
Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.
Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.
I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.
Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.
Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.
So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.