In the past few months, I have seen quite a few articles highlighting the fear the millennial republicans feel on their college campuses since the election. Some republicans are afraid to speak their mind in class or wear Trump-related apparel around campus. In an article by the Atlantic, a DePaul University senior named Nicole Been states, “It’s scary feeling like I can’t walk around campus with a Trump shirt on, or a Trump hat, because I’m afraid of what people might do,” the 22-year-old chair of the college Republicans at DePaul in Chicago, Illinois said in an interview. “At this point, we’re the most hated group on campus.”
These articles are especially abundant on the Odyssey website; there are probably hundreds of open letters from millennial republicans explaining their views and that people like me, a liberal, shouldn't be so quick to judge them.
On twitter, tweets from conservative millennials expressing concern about speaking their minds on campus have flooded my timeline. This is just one example.
As a Republican in college, I am genuinely afraid to speak about my conservative views in fear of being stereotyped or labeled negatively
— michelle shampton (@michelle_sham) March 17, 2017
Here's the problem, though. I really do not feel bad for you, and no amount of open letters, tweets, or articles addressed to people like me is going to change that. Don't get me wrong, I believe that everyone should have the freedom to speak their mind, regardless of their viewpoint. I don't feel bad for people who are a part of a political party that has deeply seeded values that promote racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia.
You say that you are scared to wear a Trump hat because of what people might do to you? Tell that to my Muslim roommate, is afraid to wear a hijab around campus because of what people like you might do to her. Tell that to my transgender boyfriend, who sometimes limits the amount of food or drink in order to avoid public restrooms in fear of people like you. I know that not all republicans are not hatred filled, evil people. I know that not all republicans are racist, homophobic, transphobic or xenophobic. However, the simple fact that you support a president and political party that is doing everything in their power to undermine low-income people of color, disabled people, Muslim people, and LGBT identified people... I just don't feel bad for you.
You know who I do feel bad for? Minority groups that are dealing with the aftermath of the election. I feel for the people of color who get profiled and sometimes shot every single day by police or strangers. I feel for the transgender identified people who fear for their lives when they are near public restrooms in southern states. I feel for the Latinx people who may face deportation and the destruction of their families. I feel for the innocent refugees who are barred from entering our country, and as a result, must live in a constant state of fear for their lives. I feel for Jewish people and the antisemitic rhetoric that has rocked our country since the election. There have been countless attacks of vandalism on Jewish cemeteries, and antisemitic graffiti of swastikas found on shop windows. I am scared for my own life. As a member of the LGBT community, I have faced more discrimination since the election than I had ever thought possible.
I feel for the low-income people who may lose their healthcare coverage under Trump. In fact, 24 million people may lose healthcare coverage if the new healthcare bill passes. Although this bill was withdrawn from the floor on March 24, I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump regime tries again in a few months. Some of these people depend on the Affordable Care Act to get the life-saving medicine that they would otherwise not be able to afford. Newsflash: if you are in college and the Affordable Care Act is repealed, then you will no longer be covered by your parents' insurance until you are 26. This applies to you, millennial republicans.
Maybe I don't feel bad for you because I cannot comprehend why you would support someone like Donald Trump. Maybe you thought that he would "Make America Great Again", but so far, it seems as if our country is becoming less and less great. To me, it feels like our country is more divided than it has ever been. For a lack of a better term, he is an idiot and a liar, and his cabinet of fools is no better. Simply put, Trump has absolutely no idea what he is doing, and is systematically going after low-income people. He is planning on giving huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy households, but has no plan of helping people who live below the poverty line- but I digress. I have no sympathy for people who would support someone like that.
The difference between you and I is that I recognize my privilege. I am a white, middle-class woman with a loving family. I know that a majority of the injustices happening in this country since the election are not going to directly affect me. Millennial republicans need to recognize their privilege, too. Essentially, you are complaining about something that doesn't even compare to what other people in our country are going through. That's my issue with these open letters, articles, and tweets about being afraid to speak your mind or wear Trump apparel on college campuses.
Maybe, if you widened your perspective and listened to the stories of people from all walks of life- whether it be different race, gender identity, religion, low socioeconomic status, etc. you would understand that there are larger problems at hand than your fear of speaking your conservative views at college.