Conservatives, it’s ok to come out, I promise

“Conservative” and “Republican” have been the dirty words on college campuses for decades. This wouldn’t be surprising to most. College students are typically younger, and age plays a big part into personal politics. As the old joke goes, “If you’re under 30 and a Republican, you have no heart. If you’re over 30 and you’re not a Republican, you have no brain.”

However, over the past year, the term “Republican” has taken on a different meaning. Ideas of free trade, fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense and states’ rights have taken a back seat to provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, who spits out socio-political vitriol towards the left and straight up Nazis like Richard Spencer, whose disgusting hate speech seems out of place in the party of Reagan.

Because of these spokespeople on the right, the college-left has become openly hostile towards any opinion that doesn’t toe the liberal line. If you don’t agree with that, how is it that simply supporting President Trump is enough to label a person a racist, sexist or Islamophobic?

The umbrella of conservatism covers a wide group of people whose own interests often conflict with each other under the blanket of the Republican Party. From Libertarians who believe the less the government is involved in its citizens lives the better, to the religious right wanting bibles in schools and abortion curtailed. The political diversity of the right far surpasses the left. The right cannot be pigeonholed into the cartoonishly hateful and ignorant yokels so many on the left are willing to accept as their opposition.

Conservative voices are being left out on college campuses, especially an aggressively progressive campus such as MCTC where many of its students and faculty are progressive activists. This is an issue and it’s an issue that reeks of hypocrisy.

The claim of wanting an inclusive campus is exposed as empty rhetoric when the very mention that the left might not be right on all issues is shut down, dismissed and discarded without a thought given to them.

It is no wonder that conservative voices have kept silent on campus. People are afraid to speak out. This does a disservice to political discourse. Instead of adjusting your beliefs or strengthening your arguments, everyone is left to their own devices, letting their own personal beliefs become louder and louder with little to no information behind them. If you don’t understand the other side of an issue, how can you possibly understand the issue fully?

This is why I’m asking conservative voices to come out at MCTC, for progressive students to listen and engage those voices and for faculty to step back, put aside their activism while teaching and help their students grow by facilitating these discussions.

Everyone needs to be challenged, especially in college. There needs to be conflict in discussion. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be offended. It’s okay to not agree. No one changes their mind if they don’t hear an argument that does so.

Simply saying you’re wrong or calling someone names is a bullshit way to argue. “Conservative” and “Republican” aren’t the dirty words on campus, “intellectually lazy” is.