You’ve done it. You’ve graduated high school, and you’re going to college in hopes of joining the thirty-percent of Americans who have a college degree. Good for you! You can find many guides on how to “survive” college or even a book on possible degrees. Something you may or may not find, however, is a guide to the “political climate” of the common public university.
Hint: It doesn’t lean to the right. At all. So what can you do to survive?
This advice is not just for new freshman. It also serves well for anyone who may feel hushed by liberal rhetoric, or students who notice that the progressive voices of their university faculty or classmates are trying to engage in indoctrination.
As an outspoken and engaged college conservative, I have recognized three essential actions fellow right-wingers ought to take to co-exist and thrive on a liberal campus. Just remember three words: listen, embrace, and speak.
When you’re an eighteen year-old or a young twenty-something, you can’t possibly know all your ideals and beliefs. We really haven’t experienced too much that can solidify a political doctrine in our very vulnerable, yet still energetic minds.
What we can do, still, is listen to both sides of the debate. We must examine the arguments of the left and the arguments of the right, and come to our own conclusions. We want to be sure that our views come from a place of careful analysis. What we don’t want is to rely on “groupthink” from our peers or political socialization from our upbringing.
Your school will also be very “diversity-inclined.” Many schools follow affirmative action policies, hold heritage month celebrations, and endorse left-leaning rallies you may or may not identify with. Embrace these events, nevertheless. Befriend someone of a different faith, race, or orientation. We are at a crucial moment in history where conservatives have more tolerance for ideals than progressives. Embrace this as well. Prove to your campus that a conservative doesn’t judge on the basis of skin color or sexual orientation. We want small government, free speech, and less taxes.
Finally, once you’ve appraised ideological arguments and enriched yourself in different cultures, speak up for yours. If there is a liberal protest on campus, it is okay to be the only conservative with a counter-protest. Write conservative opinion pieces in your school newspaper, or join a conservative organization on campus.
Unfortunately, in a lot of colleges, you will feel push back. You will develop opposition. But by persevering in spite of that resistance, you will continue to strengthen yourself and your ideals. You will also be speaking for those who might agree with you, but aren’t strong enough to speak for themselves.
If you take one thing away from this piece, let it be this: it is not illegal or wrong to be conservative. It is a right. It is a movement that is very much alive. People are afraid to speak up. Be the first.
You’re not the only one.