The Life Of A Liberal In A Small, Conservative Town
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Politics and Activism

The Life Of A Liberal In A Small, Conservative Town

I grew up knowing my opinion was not welcome in my town.

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The Life Of A Liberal In A Small, Conservative Town
Jenna Collins

I grew up in a small town in Ohio that is hardcore conservative. However, I was raised in a predominately liberal family. The opposing views of my hometown and my family created a lot of confusion while I was growing up. I will admit that when I was little I emulated the views that my mom supported. My dad never really showed any interest in politics so I really only had my mom to look to for that.

My mom is from Brooklyn, New York and like most people from that area she’s a democrat. She was old enough to be firm in her beliefs and values by the time she moved to our tiny, Ohio town that she never let anyone there change her mind. I admire this a lot about my mom.

Fast-forward to 18-year-old me in my high school government class. I was going to actually learn about how our government works and then I was going to make my own decision about my political beliefs. I listened to every boring lecture for a whole school year and I learned two things about myself: I hate politics and I already knew my political standpoint. I decided on my own that I’m a liberal. Despite the environment I grew up in, I never felt like I belonged in that group. I am a liberal, I am a democrat, and I finally felt confident in my decision and I knew that it truly was my decision.

After I made this decision I felt like my only option was to leave this town and move somewhere where I felt a little less like an outsider. So I moved to Chicago.

I found a liberal paradise in the Windy City and I finally felt like I could say, “I’m pro-choice” and not have someone throw a Bible at me.

The tension that exists between the two political parties is absolutely insane. Especially after this last election. I hate to say it but I fed into it as well. I bought into the insanity. I believed that I am the type of person that simply can’t live in my small Ohio town because I don’t have the same viewpoints as most of the people who live there. I would never be allowed to share my point of view because no one will listen to me anyway.

I never expected to change anyone, and I would never want to change anyone. I just wanted people to listen to me without feeling like they had to fire back with something about how my political beliefs are “wrong”.

I was always afraid to speak my mind because I knew it wasn’t the popular opinion. So I very rarely said anything at all. I didn’t say anything when one of my 6th-grade teachers said republicans are always right; even though I knew, even at the age of 12, that there is no way they are always right. I never said anything when I heard my friends say negative things about Obama; even though I love the guy and I wished endlessly during the election that we could just keep him. I never said anything when I overheard people from my high school making racist or homophobic comments; even though their comments made me sick to my stomach.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to say something. I so badly wanted to turn around and tell everyone to shut the hell up. I wanted to tell them they’re just uncultured. I wanted to tell them to get out of this town for just one day and go see what the real world is like. I wanted to throw them into the south side of Chicago and see if they can make it out alive by saying the nasty words that they had been oh so confidently spewing in my 99% white and conservative high school.

However, after I thought about it for a minute, I realized that me making those comments would be no less hateful than the words they were saying and I wanted to spread love not hate.

This past election made me question so much. Why was I friends with people who could vote for someone so horrendous? How could anyone possibly support a candidate who is filled with so much hate?

I was so mad about the election that I was up until four in the morning looking at apartments in Australia because I did not want to live in a country where someone like Trump is president. Obviously, that was my extreme emotions directly following the election results getting the best of me.

I love this country, I really do. I’ve always thought this country is great. My main issue with Trump is everything he wanted to change about this country is what I thought made it great. The multitude of cultures that make our country a beautiful melting pot and the freedom we have in this country to marry whoever we want because love has no boundaries are just a couple of examples.

This election confirmed that my opinion is not the popular opinion in my town. This was evident based off of the many celebratory Facebook posts I saw on my timeline after the election results were announced. However, it also taught me that I should not be afraid to share my opinion.

The solace I found in Chicago showed me that there are people like me out there and that made my confidence grow. I felt alone for so long that to have pretty much an entire city feel the same way as me was liberating. What I learned in Chicago gave me the strength to stand my ground back in my small town.

I learned that, despite how I was made to feel for most of my life, there is nothing wrong with who I am and what I believe in. Just like there is nothing wrong with the people in my hometown who have opposing beliefs. There is nothing wrong with me sharing how I feel if I do so in a positive way.

So, here I am, letting everyone from my hometown know:

I am pro-choice

I stand with Planned Parenthood

I am an advocate for women’s rights

I believe love is love

I don’t think anyone should be turned away from this country

I believe in equality for ALL

If you are confused or have any questions I encourage you to ask me. I will happily explain to you why I feel the way I do. I am pleading with you not to assume anything about me based on what I just told you. All I ask is that if you choose to reach out to me that you do it in a positive manner. I will not try to change your mind because I know that I would not want someone to try and change my mind.

All I’m asking for is a mutual understanding.

I am concerned because I know there is a little girl or boy in their elementary school class wondering why they were the only one in their class who voted for the democratic party in the mock election they did. I know they are nervous because they think they made the wrong choice. I know this because I was that little kid.

My hope is that one day there will no longer be animosity between the two parties. Crazy idea, I know, but crazy ideas are what allowed us to discover electricity and go to the moon. So why can’t a crazy idea result in a little more love?

I will leave you with a quote and, hopefully, something to think about:

" Our job on earth isn't to criticize, reject, or judge. Our purpose is to offer a helping hand, compassion, and mercy. We are to do unto others as we hope they would do unto us." ~Dana Arcuri
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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