Conservatives: constant targets

By on April 8, 2004

Has anyone stopped and thought recently about how much conservatives have to put up with sometimes? Then, it’s doubly hard to be a conservative and be in college at the same time.

From my experiences so far, the two almost seem to be mutually exclusive to most people. So let’s take a few minutes and examine the issues here:

I will readily admit that I am a supporter of President Bush and most other Republicans. My interest in politics stems from the 2002 Massachusetts race for governor, won by Republican Mitt Romney. From that point to now, I have simply formed my opinion on various issues of importance, and most of them have leaned toward the conservative side.

However, for some reason, I get the strange impression that young people are not supposed to be conservatives.

If I were to take a poll of the Quinnipiac community, I would bet that at least 60% of respondents would identify themselves as leaning to the left.

All of my friends here who are somewhat interested in politics are quite liberal. We’ve engaged in numerous political debates about a wide variety of issues. Though it’s all in fun, I typically feel overwhelmed.

There are any number of reasons for college students being generally liberal. For one, people my age tend not to like rules – be it the drinking age of 21, the illegality of certain drugs, or limits on abortion. Conservative are more apt to support these and other such measures.

In one of my recent classes, we somehow found ourselves on the subject of the Iraq war. Comparisons were made between the political culture of the Vietnam era and today’s atmosphere. The argument was, to be blunt, that our government lied to us then and is lying to us now.

Most students joined in the Bush-bashing. I was the only one to question this theory, and I almost angrily walked out of the class.

People my age also are more accepting of rap music, a music genre that I and many other conservatives find totally degrading.

Various rappers glorify violence, rape, adultery, and whatever else pops into their head, to say nothing of the original language used. But, I forgot, it’s all “art,” so it’s OK. Anyone who criticizes the rap industry is branded as anti-free speech and a racist.

That brings me to my next point, which is the incessant name-calling directed at people on the right.

Rather than debate, some people (not all) are content to simply hurl names at those who disagree.

For instance, when conservatives (or anyone else) oppose gay marriage, they are called bigots, segregationists, and opponents of progress. Here’s how Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson spoke of the recent vote by the Massachusetts legislature to ban gay marriage and create civil unions:

“In the leaden footsteps of white Southern governors and legislatures 50 years ago who ignored federal court orders and tried to bar black students from schools, Beacon Hill voted Monday for segregation.”

There you have it. If I oppose full marriage rights for gays, I’m a segregationist. I’m on an even level with those who supported denying individual, basic rights to people based on their skin color.

That is an absolutely ridiculous comparison, but liberals throw it at conservatives in their sleep. It does not occur to them that some people have valid, real reservations to gay marriage. And I found it interesting that in a recent “Around the Quad” in the QUDaily, almost everyone was in favor of it, whereas national polls show overwhelming opposition.

The issues go on and on. When conservatives support tax cuts, they are labeled mean-spirited.

The Iraq war is frequently characterized as nothing more than an oil-grabbing imperialist folly.

More and more, leading liberals discourage people from making moral judgments on anything, preferring the culture-draining “anything goes” philosophy. Religious people are marginalized in this country more than ever.

People like Michael Moore and Al Franken are revered as serious political commentators (or “satirists”), while fair-minded people like Bill O’Reilly are dismissed as “right-wing”. Fox News Channel is labeled conservative, while one of my professors here has somehow called the New York Times’ editorial page “middle of the road.” That must be a pretty deformed road.

Sure, I’m generalizing. And yes, perhaps I exaggerated at points.

But the difficulty of being a conservative in college and the constant name-calling that we endure are real concerns, and it’s about time somebody voiced them.


About A. J. Atchue