Image Credits: Shutterstock

NOTE: The individuals in the images featured in this piece are not the authors of this column, nor is the column an endorsement of their views. 

As a college aged female Republican on a liberal campus, so many of my peers and colleagues are quick to make snap judgments about who I am as a person and what I believe in. I walk around my campus with a backpack covered in political buttons, wearing my favorite FFL shirt and I get dirty looks the entire way to class. I sit in the library with my Future Female Leaders stickers on my laptop and get stared at because I identify as a Conservative.

Because I am a Republican, stereotypes are always assumed. It is automatically assumed that I don’t support LGBTQ+ rights, that I don’t think immigrants should be allowed in this country, that I don’t believe in women’s rights, or that I align with all of President Trump’s policies and beliefs. The reality of it is, you don’t know me at all. These are assumptions you have made off of the tshirt on my back or the stickers on my laptop.  I am not all of these things you claim me to be.

I’m not against LGBTQ+ community and I certainly do not hate those who identify as LGBTQ+. In fact, an overwhelming majority of young Republicans support same sex marriage. As I conservative, I believe that it’s the government’s job to protect its citizens, not dictate every facet of their lives. I do believe that I believe that every single person who steps foot in the United States of America should have to work for their American Dream, just as our ancestors did for generations before us. It’s not that I “don’t believe” in women’s rights. I believe every issue is a woman’s issue. I believe that we are as equal as any man in this country; we have the exact same opportunities. I believe that if we empower the women around us, we can be as successful as any other man…and yes, we can do it in heels.

Most importantly, it’s not that I am exactly like President Trump. It’s not that I agree with every policy, every statement, and every move he makes. While he was elected President and I have the utmost respect for that, it does not mean that he represents every single Republican in the country. The reality of it is, not every Republican is the same, just as not every Democrat is the same. We share a belief of the same core tenants and principles of the conservative philosophy. That doesn’t mean that we are all exactly alike. As a generation that celebrates diversity, and as a party that prides itself on being so diverse and so accepting, millennial Democrats should understand that more than anyone.

As a Republican, I pride myself on empowering the individual, on believing that in order to make our country more prosperous, the government should not have the ability to run citizen’s lives. I pride myself in the fact that I wholeheartedly believe in the values that our Founding Fathers created this nation with, I wholeheartedly believe that our Creator endowed us with certain unalienable rights, and fully support the rights and duties that are laid out in our Constitution. This does not make me a terrible person. This makes me proud to be an American.

Before you come to me preaching about tolerance and acceptance of people different than myself, please realize that my political beliefs do not make me any less of a person. You do not know me just because my voter ID card says “Republican.” While I do vote the Republican party on Election Day, that does not mean that I am a racist, or bigot, or even uneducated. I have the same respect and the same love for every single person in this country that each one of you do. For a group of people who consistently prides themselves on being so tolerant, please realize that your snap judgments and comments towards me are anything but tolerant.

I respect the fact that you have different political beliefs and even different world views than me. That is something that makes our nation so special. We can all have different beliefs and express them openly without being persecuted. As citizens of the United States of America, we should celebrate that. So I’m here to ask that you respect that in me as well. Respect that I have different political beliefs, that I may have different values, and that it is okay. And next time, before you are so quick to judge me on who I am as a person because of it, please get to actually know me first.

Sincerely,

A Millennial Republican

Emily W
CONTRIBUTOR