The right to vote for what we believe is truly an incredible gift. My vote is my choice, and it is not fair that I should have to fear cruelty from my peers because of the choices I make, and how I decide to utilize my right to vote.
My voice deserves to be heard just as much as that of the Democrat standing next to me; just because I am a Republican does not mean that the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech does not apply to me. Whether or not you agree with my political ideology, like you, I truly want nothing but the best for the future of the United States.
I will support whoever holds the Presidency because whether I voted for them or not, I want this nation and everyone in it to succeed.
Contrary to Michelle Obama's claim at the Inbound 2017 conference, that "any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice," I am empowered as a woman and as an American by exercising my voice and my right to vote however I believe is right, rather than succumbing to societal pressure.
I am not any less of a woman for considering myself a Republican, and being a Republican does not mean that I am any less supportive of gender equality. No one has the right to define my political beliefs, or any of my beliefs, for me because of my gender.
My experiences with political discussions in high school and college have convinced me to keep my opinions to myself in order to avoid feeling like the elephant in the room.
During the 2016 election, because I stood up for what I believed in like how I was taught throughout my entire life, I was labeled as a "racist Republican" by a fellow student, and my biased teacher did absolutely nothing to prevent this name calling. I felt like I could not defend myself and I had to sit there and listen to someone who did not know me make assumptions about my ideology.
Classrooms have become a place of hostility, and a place where we are taught to stand up for what we are passionate about unless we are a Republican.
Anti-Trump and Anti-Republican protests are some of the most prevalent topics that appear on my Instagram feed, and I hate that I cannot express my own beliefs on social media.
I am unable to publicly voice support for my candidates of choice in fear of judgment from those who shame me and label me as a stereotype rather than asking why I believe what I do. Rather than having a conversation with each other, hate and animosity towards the other party is welcomed, and name calling has become a prominent defense strategy in politics; this is evident from both Democrats and Republicans.
I do not understand why some refuse to be friends with those who disagree with their political ideology. We should not define ourselves and others by our partisanship; that is only one small dimension of who we are. The majority of my friends disagree with my views regarding politics, but we have so much more to talk about beyond how we feel about President Trump.
If politics do happen to come up, we can discuss our differences while still remaining respectful of each other. Mutual respect should be the standard.
Diversity should be celebrated and respected; it is crucial to our growth as a society and as individuals. We must remember from all ends of the political spectrum that in order to be truly tolerant and encouraging of diversity, we cannot silence those whose perspective challenges us by differing from our own, as diversity also applies to our thoughts and political beliefs.
We cannot pick and choose what aspects of diversity to welcome in others. By pressuring those whose opinions we deem as "wrong" into silence, we are playing a role in accomplishing the very task we claim to fear, and are portraying the message that hating those we disagree with is justifiable.