If you’re not sporting a Bernie Sanders pin on your backpack or protesting gun control, it often may seem as though you are in the minority on your college campus. Whether this is true or not for every single school, numbers do show that generations have become increasingly more liberal as time goes on. The graph below illustrates this point, dividing the current voting population into four groups: the silent generation, the baby boomers, generation x, and us, the millennials.
It is evident that our generation leans more towards the left than our parents and grandparents, but what does this mean for us that fall somewhere in the middle or more towards the right wing views? Unfortunately, one thing I have noticed especially surrounding the upcoming presidential election is criticism not from our parents, but from our own peers. It seems as though millennial democrats are quick to judge those of us who choose to believe and vote differently than them.
First, let’s clear up some common misconceptions. I am, in fact, not a fan of Mr. Trump. Feel free to read what I think about him here. In fact, there are actually many individuals that identify as republicans that are also not supporters of Trump. For instance, his fellow GOP nomination candidates. So let’s stop labeling all republicans as bigoted, sexist, racist assholes. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I try my hardest to be as tolerant as possible. I’m all for human rights issues (think: gender wage gap, homelessness, LGBTQ rights, etc.) and think that everyone deserves to be treated with equity (commonly mistaken for equality). So please stop making assumptions about my personal values and character based on the way I choose to vote.
Second, I am not just a republican because my parents are. Actually, I don’t even know who or what my parents vote for. In all 18 years of my existence, I don’t remember them once telling me what to believe when it comes to politics. I have shaped my own personal beliefs based on individual experiences. I take the things I’ve been through in my life and use them to form my outlook on the world. Just ask my parents, they can confirm that I don’t really listen to them when it comes to anything, let alone politics.
There are actually a lot of liberal ideals that I agree with. In theory, I feel as though those ideas are brilliant. However, when it comes to execution, I fail to support them. Unfortunately, our country that we love so dearly is in the middle of a crisis. We are trillions of dollars in debt. We have a problem with our current immigration policies. It’s 2016 and women are still not treated equal to their male counterparts. Abortion and contraceptive rights are a hot topic of debate. When it comes to solving problems within, say, a company, they generally gather input from lots of different sources and come to some sort of solution. Not one of those suggestions is considered right or wrong, just a way of doing things. When it comes to these highly debated political issues, the same thing should apply. Everyone should be able to contribute to the conversation without being criticized.
However, I feel as though millennial republicans are unable to contribute to the conversation without being criticized. We are constantly confronted with assumptions about our character. We are questioned as to why we have the beliefs we do. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way I choose to vote. I was given the opportunity to vote for whoever and whatever I want because I am a law-abiding citizen of the United States of America. If you want to live somewhere where everyone believes the same things as you, feel free to move. Instead, try to engage in some friendly debate. Try to learn something from my perspective, and I’ll try to learn something from yours.