To start off, I don't like talking politics. They are always so complex and there is never one single, perfect answer to the nation's problems. There's always going to be different opinions from your own. Instead of blocking out the opposing views, it is good to be open to differences in order to receive the same courtesy toward your own views. Being in the middle of it all, I decided to take this listening to the next level and attend a conservative conference in Washington D.C. called CPAC. The result was a life-changing experience I will never forget.
The first day I attended CPAC, I felt extremely out of place. I was surrounded by far-right perspectives. I felt like even though I do not consider myself a Democrat, I had no way of stating different opinions without getting my head bitten off. The pressure of the presenters at the booths was just that intimidating. One of the girls basically scolded me when I said I wasn't involved in Republican Activism on campus. She told me "We need to fight back. We are victims of Liberal Abuse." (Believe me, they don't treat Democrats fairly either). She even pushed a contact list in front of me to sign (Jokes on her! firstname.lastname@example.org is completely made up). The constant pressure loomed throughout the day, and I was glad to get back to the hotel and see the monuments that night.
The next day and all throughout CPAC, I attended many politicians and speakers' talks. Some notable moments throughout the speeches: "the Chinese (just the Chinese, no other foreigners) are stealing our ideas," the whole crowd chanting "Build a wall" (absolutely terrifying), and the crowd standing and sitting down every few seconds to clap for what the speakers said. Even more prominent was the conversations I had with people at the conference. At one point, I was talking with a girl and she said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I think everyone should have to speak English in America." At what point did we forget that this nation was built upon different cultures?!? Again, I encountered shock while speaking with a guy when he said, "If I were President Trump, I would have nuked Korea already." I was speechless.
Through this experience, I have learned different perspectives and how to deal with the conflict that can be a result of them. Politics can be a source of division, but I hope this article brings light to the extremes that can be present in each party and advocates more understanding amongst humanity. I know one thing for sure though, I am 100% done with politics for now and don't want to see another red hat in my entire life.