I have only really seen such videos on Facebook of Trump supporters and Republicans getting drinks thrown in their face or kicked out of businesses in a fiery shouting match for daring to step foot in a left-leaning business. Prominent members of the President’s cabinet, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have even experienced such a rejection and denial of service from restaurants and venues alike as well. Upon watching these videos and reading these articles that so accurately describe the state of the war on conservatives, the thought-process of believing such a thing would “never happen to someone like me” begins to set in. As of this past weekend, I was most definitely wrong.

As a proud alum of Missouri State University, I was thrilled to hear of President Trump’s arrival to the university’s basketball arena for a “Make America Great Again” rally. After a surreal experience of watching the president, in real-time, discussing his very evident achievements for our country, naturally I wanted to go out and celebrate the evening with friends. We found our way to a local restaurant/bar within the city after the rally (I will omit the name of said venue being that this is a national publication and I want to save them from nationwide embarrassment).

Keep in mind, I am still proudly wearing my red, traditional “Make America Great Again” hat from the rally as I approached the hostess to ask about a wait. After I asked, the hostess gave me a timid look and an inaudible stutter. I, then, see a very confidently approaching waitress walk her way over to the interaction between the hostess and I. She looks me up and down and so proudly states: “We actually don’t serve anyone in Make America Great Again apparel. If you’d like you can leave, take it off, and come back in.” I look at the two women, smile, and leave the business. If I wanted to, I could have followed her instructions and have been served but the chances of someone’s spit finding its way into my drink suddenly increased.

As for the experience itself, that was it. But I do maintain some thoughts on the matter. I constantly wonder when it became socially acceptable for the left to become so tolerant of everything and everyone except for conservatives. The same party and group of people who apparently stand up for minorities against the “white patriarchy” (even though they’ve proven to do absolutely nothing for urban communities which are pre-dominantly black) also shuns minorities that actually think for themselves and choose to be conservatives. But I digress.

The issue I see isn’t race, or gender, or socio-economic status, its ideology. Ideological discrimination has run amuck since around 2015, when the heat of the 2016 election was rising. If it weren’t for laws and an evolved society, I wouldn’t be staggered if a second civil war commenced. The blatant disrespect between the parties and ideologies (Republicans are partly to blame) has given society seemingly more exclusionary practices than the civil rights era itself; and it truly starts with the left.

Ronald Reagan once said that “If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.” Usually we would disregard such a right-wing philosophy (and in the 80’s, they did) but I fear and recognize that this isn’t far from the truth anymore. Fascism, which defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, includes the phrase “forcible suppression of opposition”. How many times in the news have you heard of social media networks suppressing conservative voices or removing posts and statuses that might “offend others”? Or how about libraries removing books that contain sensitive words or statues being brought down (or knocked down illegally)? What about those who aren’t served in restaurants/bars/coffee shops for their political beliefs like I was?

When I make this argument, someone usually mentions how minorities are excluded from businesses a lot too. Although nowadays it isn’t as prominent of a practice to do so against minorities as it is for conservatives, but I still truly assert that racial discrimination is just as wrong if not more so. I have always been a proponent for free enterprise and for a business’ choice to serve whoever. I believe it is a business’ right to deny service to anyone (conservatives, liberals, white people, minorities, straight people, LGBTQ+, etc.). If this said business wants to lose commerce and wants to be boycotted (a typical reaction from the public), that is their right. That is why I don’t take my case of ideological discrimination to the Supreme Court because I value that bar’s ability to deny me. I also value the boycotting I have ensued on the business and I value my freedom of speech to claim them as intolerant and undeserving of my and my family and friends’ business.

I believe discrimination against minorities is still very real and wrong. I also believe that conservative discrimination is very real and wrong. It is time to go back to that place of unity. It is time to go back to being neighbors and friends despite any differences whatsoever. It is the difference of our skin and minds and backgrounds and beliefs that make life interesting and I am tired of feeling like I, and other conservative Republicans, can’t express ourselves too. But nevertheless, we will continue to do so.

I can promise you that.