The elephant in the room

Written by Kiera Slater

Being a young conservative in 2017

Whether one identifies as Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, this past election season has been arguably the most controversial in our nation’s history. There have been many flaws on both sides of the spectrum that have been greatly disputed in the media. The media, depending on the political affiliation of the station, exploited either candidate to make them out to be awful people through bringing up past mistakes.

Certainly, each candidate had their flaws and no one will be able to forget them. Our country is seemingly more divided than ever. However, now it’s time for us to come together in solidarity as one nation.

As for myself and many other students across the country, being a millennial Republican is not the easiest task. In April 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported on a Harvard Institute of Politics poll in which only 17 percent of millennials thought positively of President Donald Trump. As a millennial Republican, I feel it is proven over and over again that expressing my views isn’t very simple.

When I try to, I am often labeled as insensitive, homophobic, racist, cold-hearted, and many other negative things. Republicans are given this stigma. In most cases, though, this is just not reality. That being said, there are staunch Republicans in our country that refuse to accept any kind of idea that the left will propose.

What needs to be recognized is there are equally as strict Democrats that refuse to sway even slightly right. Regardless of your political beliefs, there are inevitably going to be problematic people that will stereotype others on the spectrum with an untruthful reputation. Unfortunately, for millennial Republicans like myself, the exploited group of people in our party are often given harsh labels, and that makes me feel as though I am unable to express my opinions. That is not okay because everyone should be heard.

Growing up in the millennial generation, we’ve been exposed to an ever-changing country. We have lived through various events that have shaped the way Americans now deal with things, which has opened our eyes to the divergence in the world. For instance, we have lived through 9/11 and the passing of many different laws. Things that occur in our country now differ so much from when our parents and grandparents were growing up because opinions and values are changing. We are fortunate to have been exposed to these rapidly changing aspects of our culture because they have made us more understanding.

Because the image of a millennial Republican is so derogatory, voicing these views is an extremely strenuous task because we are typically shut down. Varying opinions are needed in society and everyone wants to be understood. Without these differences, we would be incapable of bouncing around ideas to come to a happy medium. I, as well as many others on both sides of the spectrum, are more than happy to indulge in a conversation to explain why we stand where we do on certain issues.

The solution is simple: we need to listen. Being open to listening to people speak about their opinions on things is so important and could remove so much division and conflict. I am not saying that each individual needs to agree on the things the other says, but offering your attention and respectfully talking to someone about these things could relieve some of the animosity between the parties.

Political affiliation does not determine who they are as a person. Political affiliation is a small aspect of each personality, so it is better to focus more on the whole person. It is silly to dislike someone for their choice of political party because it could be compared to hating someone for the football team they support. It all starts with you. Let’s be the generation that closes, or at least minimizes, the divide between the two sides.

We cannot allow the results of the election to drive the parties further apart than they already are because we’re all people at the end of the day. We are the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. Let us not forget that very important statement.

About the author

Kiera Slater

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