Echo chamber. The word was once thrown into every conservative’s speech, in every scathing article, thrown in anger at every leftist on social media that was unhappy they saw our opinion on their timeline. “The left wants to live in an echo chamber,” we said time and time again. After we said these comments, we would smile in the knowledge that that is not what conservatism was about. That we were welcoming and secure enough in our beliefs that we did not need to use biased sources, base our opinion off our personal like for someone, or block people that didn’t have the exact same opinion as us. Sadly, as conservatives we are in much need of a wake-up call that we have become indistinguishable to the left when it comes to being an echo chamber. If it doesn’t have the conservative branding, the perfectly mainstream conservative opinion, or MAGA signature to it then we don’t want to hear it, see it, or believe it. 

For example, the number of times conservatives as a group laughed over the use of MSNBC or CNN as a “credible unbiased” source is countless. It was the punchline of jokes, the theme of speeches, the sources of memes for us. Yet, we have a whole generation of young conservatives who have been taught that during debates or conversations the hot takes of the Daily Wire or Candace Owens are now what is considered credible and unbiased. Where were they taught this? From the conservative echo chambers we have created for ourselves. We have made our social media a loop of the exact same articles without ever referencing the actual studies, statistics, and history that would actually bolster our argument. 

When we are asking for sources or debating someone, we have become too comfortable with linking to a PragerU video alone or a tweet by Ben Shapiro. When, as we once told the left to do, we should be digging through these conservative staples’ sources to find the studies for ourselves before sharing them. If the person we were debating sent us an MSNBC article or a tweet from the likes of Jake Tapper, we would immediately say they were biased. We are no longer holding that same standard to ourselves though. 

While the double standard of what we consider credible and unbiased is lighthearted, some of the other ways we have become an echo chamber are not. Sexual assault allegations used to be met across the board with the assumption that there needed to be evidence or a strong enough timeline to make them credible and believable. Unfortunately, in recent years this practice has changed. It is not strange to come across comments like, “I haven’t read the story, but I definitely believe it about him,” when it comes to cases against leftist politicians or figures we do not like. Similarly allegations against our favorite conservative figures are met with the mocking of the appearance of their alleged victims or with the assumption that it can’t be true because they seem like good men. 

Perhaps none of these changes and trends couldn’t be changed with ease or challenged if it wasn’t for the most glaringly obvious sign that we have become the echo chambers we once criticized. We have come to embrace the very intolerance for difference of opinion that we once crucified the left for. The very thing that drove people from the left into our welcoming and open-minded arms we have now come to use with the same level of hostility that they do. 

Recently, I experienced this for myself. My conservative followers and peers reacted with genuine hostility when I tweeted in support of AOC’s speech against hateful rhetoric supposedly said about her by a colleague. I immediately was met with comments like “This isn’t what I followed you for,”, “Are you even a conservative?”, and worse of all, comments questioning why I was even allowed in the conservative circles that I am a part of if these were my opinions. I have witnessed multiple conservatives face this type of intolerance when they share opinions on exceptions for abortion restrictions, on wanting to have police reform to stop police brutality, or that they are considering not voting for President Trump for re-election. These attempts to gate keep and block those with slightly differing opinions from being a part of the movement are the very things the left became known for. Is this what we are okay with becoming?

I didn’t let the hostility of my leftist peers over my differing opinions run me off my campus or my platform, and I will not be letting the hostility of my fellow conservatives over my differing opinions run me off from the movement I have given blood, sweat, and tears to. Instead, I hope that I can remind my fellow conservatives of the tenant they once held so dear, that complete agreement and intolerance of other ideas is not healthy or good for the society we live in. As a movement we once relished in the disagreements we had with others. We craved having conversations with the people we didn’t understand perfectly or thought were wrong. When I have opinions that vary from most of my fellow conservatives, I don’t expect acceptance and agreement. What I do expect is the tolerance for difference in opinion that we once criticized the left for not having. Before we are no longer able to recognize our movement and Party, it’s time to break the conservative echo chambers we have been living in and return to the roots that once drew people of all affiliations to us in the first place.  

Stormi R