What It's Like Being A Conservative On A Liberal Campus
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Politics and Activism

What It's Like Being A Conservative On A Liberal Campus

What It's Like Being A Conservative On A Liberal Campus

My campus predominantly identifies as liberal, and depending on who you talk to, the word "conservative" is regarded as a bad thing. It's not easy being a college-aged conservative, especially at a liberal arts university, but no matter what, it's worth it.

I wrote the following passage while in one of my classes this semester, after yet another discussion on literature turned political and my classmates started bashing conservative beliefs:

“Dizzy. Shaking. Nauseous. I think I might vomit. My eyes are welling up. I shouldn’t feel this scared to tell a classroom of less than 20 people that I am a conservative. I feel close to having a panic attack just from the thought of talking about my beliefs. I know I will be gawked at. I know I will be judged. That one girl will gasp and probably ask me how I could possibly stand behind Donald Trump in a heavily disdainful tone, even though I don’t support him.

Yes, I watch Fox News, but it's not my only source of information. I check the facts, regardless of where they come from. I refuse to swallow information from any source without several grains of salt. All news media is biased -- you just have to do your research in order to be balanced.

My face is flushed and I feel like my stomach is full of snakes, writhing around, seeking an exit in the form of my truth. Dig my nails into my palm to ground myself, to stop my head from spinning. It doesn’t work. I’m not surprised.

I love being in college at a liberal arts university, but I shouldn’t feel persecuted in a classroom full of my peers -- the very same ones I’m encouraged to have civil, educational discussions with. I should not feel scared to be myself in a place that’s been deemed a safe haven for those who wish to be themselves.

At times like these, I may be shaken, but my beliefs are not.

Contrary to what you might think, I am not a racist. I don’t hate anyone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. I don’t hate women. Unlike the stereotype people seem to call up every time someone mentions conservatism, I am not a wealthy, middle-aged white man running a corporation. The only shared characteristics between me and this figure are our skin color and our political affiliation. I was raised in a working, middle-class family, where my parents worked hard to provide us with everything they could. I do have roughly the same beliefs as my parents, but there are some points that we disagree on.

I am not a conservative because my parents are. I didn't blindly follow their political principles as some would believe. They have always encouraged me to be myself, with my own ideals and beliefs. I landed where I landed because it's what I believe in.

I am my own person, and I am a conservative.

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