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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Being conservative is pretty hard for millennials these days

I have something to admit.

It’s something I’ve been holding on to for a long time and it’s a little shameful to say out loud. I’m not sure how people will react. Will I still be accepted? Will I be ostracized by my fellow students? I’m not sure, but here it goes.

I am a political conservative.

Gasp.

Admittedly, sometimes that actual thought process runs through my head. It seems like the environment in Tucson, specifically on this college campus, is one where having a lot of conservative views makes you a dumb redneck with no concern for others.

For all those who like to criticize the political right, I have to concede that, lately, y’all have been justified in doing so.

The GOP has made a laughingstock of itself in recent months. The Republican primary debates have been turned into memes. Though some candidates make good points from time to time, the whole thing is always overshadowed by the spray-tanned cartoon character known as Donald Trump—who, by the way, has made watching political television fun in a sort of reality TV show way.

As casual observers, your belief that the GOP is a party full of clowns with bad ideas is understandable.

Trump’s early poll numbers were surprising; he was the lead GOP candidate, with 24 percent support among conservatives after the second debate, according to a CNN/ORC poll. Yet they still seemed to draw the rest of the candidates offside, as they tried to attract any attention away from him.

Sometimes, maybe even unfairly, the Trump charade cast a shadow over the whole party that made it easy to generalize and de-legitimize. So during the debates, maybe even subconsciously, my inner conservative laid low during social interactions. No need to get laughed at.

Even more recently, whether to accept Syrian refugees has been a controversial topic.

Notable conservatives Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, along with high-profile Facebook users, have opposed allowing refugees into America, with Trump and Cruz both viewing the issue as an international problem and not a domestic one.

I’m guessing their thought process is that regardless of the needs of other people and our nice sounding “give me your tired, your poor” thing, we shouldn’t accept anyone from that crazy Middle East.

This one really made me ashamed of the Republican Party. Thousands of people are dying and need a place to live and these conservatives are going to just say, “Nope, better not risk it.”

I mean, yeah, refugees relocating to countries surrounding their homelands, rather than to the U.S., makes more sense but at least say you would welcome refugees, you know?

So I get it. Us conservatives have made ourselves look bad lately and with the help of left-leaning news programs and late-night shows, most college students think we are a joke.

In fact, in a 2014 study by the University of California, Los Angeles, it was found that the overwhelming majority of incoming college freshmen at 227 four-year U.S. institutions leaned left on most politico-social issues, including the government’s legalization of marriage equality and the preferential prioritization of climate change.

This isn’t a shock by any means. I think most of my friends are in the same boat.

So, it’s a tough time to be a college conservative. We are the political minority for sure and the state of the Republican Party is nothing to get excited about.

But I’d just like to remind everyone that the foundations of conservative ideas aren’t oppressing the poor and promoting religious intolerance. The basis is a belief in personal responsibility and in a government that provides people the freedom to reach their goals—the power of the individual.

So while Donald Trump is an embarrassing poster child for a party that has fallen on some tough times, the main goals of Republicans are still something to be proud of.


Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.


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