Students should stop snubbing conservativism2 min read

Andrew Pouliot, News Editor

Andrew Pouliot

Conservatives do not have much of a voice on campus because it seems like no one is even willing to listen. As someone who holds beliefs linked to conservative thought, I know that voicing any opinions espousing conservative values is usually met with a sneer, or outright emotional anger which leads me to wonder why I even try to have civilized discussions anymore.

Liberalism and conservatism are useful labels, but I most certainly cannot identify with the perception of mainstream conservatism. Yet when someone at De Anza hears my stance on one issue, they immediately assume a lot more about me.

Liberals are generally in favor of pro-choice, gay marriage, drug legalization, and social programs to help the poor. Because America has become so polar in its political blocs, mainstream conservatives usually believe the inverse of the aforementioned positions.

I’ve become baffled by the frequent, wrongful association of myself with some contrived identity that I don’t actually fit.

I am a firm believer that the government should not tell you what you can do with your body or who you can love.

But then, we get to have guns. I am unapologetically pro-Second Amendment. I was raised around guns, always fascinated with them and own many of them. My freedom as an American enables me to have them for self-defense and for target shooting. But when people hear me say this, they automatically assume I’m a Bible-thumping, Muslim-hating, Trump-supporting Republican who needs guns to fulfill some fantasy of uber masculinity.

No doubt, a fear generated by far-right wing politics has created a far more irrational fear of any beliefs that are right-wing in some shape or form. When some at De Anza heard that I, a self-proclaimed conservative was on the La Voz staff, there was a completely unfounded, irrational assumption that the staff as a whole was somehow also conservative.

This completely false narrative even led to one of our Jill Stein-voting, liberal writers being falsely accused of supporting Trump, based on absolutely no evidence.

Since I’ve attended De Anza, I have been disrespected as a person and faced hostility for my core beliefs. Growing up in this area has been difficult because of California’s left-wing saturation, but I am by no means a Republican. Politics is naturally controversial, but my reluctance to agree on guns or the military should not spawn immediate and perpetual ostracization.

Conservatism is not a disease; my beliefs were born from a different narrative and set of experiences than others. This is a normal function of a democratic, human society, and it should be treated as such.

When did opposing viewpoints become sacrilege? College is supposed to open people’s minds to opposing ideas and opinions, and yet, at De Anza, which prides itself in tolerance and solidarity, there is not a similar open-mindedness toward personal political stances, especially for someone like me — a conservative.