I was in high school when the climactic 2016 presidential election occurred. I will never forget going to school after Donald Trump won the presidency.
One of my classmates, a vocal conservative, wore his “Trump train” shirt that day. He was mocked all day. People said he was disgusting.
I felt embarrassed and ashamed because I didn’t see what was so wrong about a conservative student being happy that a candidate he supported won the election. When were political views equivalent to moral beliefs?
I wasn’t old enough to vote in 2016, but I probably would’ve voted for Trump, although I preferred United States Sen. Ted Cruz. I didn’t like Trump’s personality and his lack of professionalism, but he was the one who aligned most with my views.
I learned that day in high school that, to my peers, even considering voting for him is a sin.
In today’s political climate, conservative women are misunderstood. I am often seen as “anti-woman” because most conservative women don’t support abortion, but most of us are extremely understanding of the topic. We are supposedly racists who blindly accepted what we were taught by our conservative parents. I support the Republican party because it aligns most with my beliefs, not because I’m following my family’s footsteps. My father is conservative, but I disagree with him on many issues, including immigration.
My views, like everyone else’s, are nuanced. I’m not what most people associate with the word “republican,” but I am definitely not a Democrat. The bigoted people you see on TV or social media do not represent us as a whole.
These false perceptions greatly affected my confidence as a college student. I found myself feeling out of place among other Temple students. Most college students identify with liberal policies or somewhere in the middle. Upon arriving in Philadelphia, I didn’t see much representation of my views on or off campus.
Luckily, as my time at Temple went on, I gained more confidence in my beliefs. I proudly wore my Temple College Republicans shirt in my first-year English class, and aside from one or two weird looks, no one cared. When I brought up my views on what a Republican writer meant in a book we read, people actually listened to me. Once I started to open myself up and put my beliefs out in the open, I found that people are generally open-minded.
I am a junior now, and I’ve matured quite a bit. I wish I could get the courage to attend more political events and share my views, but I’m getting there. I attend some events on campus when I can, like when I heard a speaker from the National Rifle Association, and I intend to go to more.
Although Temple is in a very liberal city, I have grown to feel accepted here. I just have to step out and talk about my views.
I truly believe that conservatives will make a difference on Temple’s campus and beyond. With three conservative student organizations on campus, including the Network of Enlightened Women, we are making an impact. The College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom host a “free speech ball” event every semester for students to write their opinions without judgment. It is always a successful event. It is my hope that students will understand conservatism by its principles rather than by judgments.
I am proud to be a conservative Temple student. I am proud to share my beliefs. I hope that other conservatives are empowered to never be ashamed to vote red.