Admitting my dirty little secret

Being semi-conservative is a daunting thing to come out as, but a valid opinion that deserves respect in our democracy.


by Lily Manning, News Editor

This column is one in a series of pieces written in reaction to the 2016 presidential election.

I currently sit in my bed at 2 a.m., early in the morning of Nov. 9, right after hearing Donald Trump will be America’s 45th president. While many sit in shock and despair that something so “tragic” could happen to America, I sit hopeful. I think Donald Trump will create much needed change in America, particularly our politics, and I hope his election will make people more open to speaking up about their opinions.

Immediately after hearing the news, I opened Twitter only to exit out and delete it completely. My feed was full of warnings of a horrible next four years and threats of moving out of the country. Really, people? Citizens cannot just bail on our country and government altogether because an election did not go their way. It is their civic duty to fight for what they believe in. These people act like the election is a sports event – you get a winner and a loser. The election is so much more than this. People forget that we voted on more than just who will live in the White House for the next four years, we also voted on the house of representatives, our senators, governors and so much more that will have such a bigger impact on our day to day lives than Trump will.

The polls had Clinton lined up to win, and I truly believe that one of the reasons Clinton’s loss was so shocking is because of how wrong these polls were. I think this relates back to people’s fear of being judged and voicing in these polls that, yeah, they really do want Trump to win. In this election cycle, there was a huge negative connotation that came with being a Trump supporter, conservative or Republican, when often, just because you may be one of the things listed, you aren’t all three. People were afraid of being judged and that is something that makes me so sad. Part of being a democracy is having more than one opinion on an issue and having the irrevocable right to voice that opinion. Judging someone for their opinion and making them feel ashamed to voice it is such an awful thing to do that weakens the strength of our democracy. And it does not matter what you believe, in the end we all want respect for our opinions and when we reach this we can start to have real and productive conversations about politics.

I’ll end this by admitting my dirty little secret – I am a centralist/conservative who has an avid love for politics. No, my being a conservative does not mean I 100 percent support Trump, because I don’t – the things he says and the way he treats people is unjustifiable. However, in the next four years, I want to see actual change in our political system. I believe that electing a political outsider will be the next step in reaching a change. The change may be good or it could be terrible, but as citizens we will take these changes and work them into a way to make our country a better place.

Part of our duty in being empowered and educated young women is being open to new ideas and respectful of opinions contradicting our own. In my AP U.S. History class on election day, we took a test to determine our political stances and many were surprised to see that, yes, there are conservatives who walk among you in the halls. I hope that with Donald Trump’s election comes more girls who are open to speak up about their conservative or republican beliefs, especially at a school like STA, where it can seem this is a rare thing. Being open about political beliefs can be a very scary and very daunting thing to do. Although I’m fearful of the reaction me opening up about this might get, I hope it encourages other girls to speak up as well.