The Elephant in the Room

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The Elephant in the Room

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Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

The conservative elephant walking around a liberal arts college proudly proclaiming she plans to be a journalist.

I am the elephant.

While I identify as an Independent, I would be lying if I said my views do not fall mostly with the conservative ideology.

I am a dichotomy of two opposing forces.

On one part I am an intellectual, liberal arts-minded, intelligent college student; on the other I am a 19-year-old Christian with conservative views.

Those two halves of myself, equally making up who I am, contradict each other in a society that says you have to be one or the other.

You have to choose between being open-minded and intelligent, and being religious and conservative.

According to The Washington Times, liberal professors outnumber conservative professors twelve to one.

Why does this matter?

Because as much as college professors say they do not show their views, most college students are smart enough to pick up on the subtle comments to figure out where their professors stand.

And with the majority of college professors being liberal, these subtle comments have a stinging effect on their conservative students.

Most conservative college students realize their views are not going to be agreed with on a majority number.

They accept most of their peers would frown at their viewpoint.

That’s why most conservative students rarely share their views.

Our society has so quickly paired conservatism with hate, intolerance, stupidity, and close-mindedness, that students refrain from self-identifying as Republican.

They fear losing the respect of their peers and professors.

They fear being seen as red-faced Dave talking about guns and gay marriage at the Donald Trump rally.

Walking into the newspaper room full of other journalism majors, I knew what I believed was not typical of my major.

When I thought of a journalist, I pictured a spunky feminist liberal with a quick-witted tongue and fire engine red hair.

I pictured someone writing satirical articles with hipster glasses and a screw-the-system attitude.

I did not fit the ideal journalist mold.

I felt as if I was deceiving my peers and professors by keeping my voice quiet as they talked about politics.

After the election, I walked home with one of my fellow writers. Talking about the election, I took a deep breath as I revealed I did not actually agree with her.

It was the first time I voiced my opinion.

I prepared myself for the surprise, and the way she would look at and think of me differently because of what I believed.

“I never knew that about you,” she said after a pause that seemed to last a lifetime.

“I figured I was the only one on staff who thought like that, so I never share my opinions,” I replied.

“You are different than what I imagined someone conservative would be like,” she said.

She told me that she thought I was intelligent, open-minded, and accepting; aspects she would not have attributed to someone with conservative politics.

On one end, her words flattered me. On the other end, her words deeply troubled me.

As much as I rejoiced over her praises, I found it problematic that the aspects I strove to possess were seen as atypical of someone with my political ideology.

America is a country that is making leaps and bounds in promoting acceptance, love, and freedom of belief.

However, it seems as if public universities are some of the most hostile places for conservatives.

Higher education is crucial for young adults, and it should promote freedom of thought.

It’s okay to be a college student and conservative.

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