Coming Out Conservative
I’d say the number one question I have at various speaking events and conferences is this question in one variation or another:
“How do you deal with all the hate you get on the internet?”
I never thought that I would be apart of a movement in which people were bullied on a regular basis for an ideological belief.
The first time I was asked this questions, I didn’t really know how to respond. To me, I just deal with it, but then I realized something. For some of these young kids, especially those in the high school and college age range, bullying via social media is actually emotionally and mentally affecting them. So much to where in many cases, they won’t even bother “coming out” as a conservative to their closest friends and families.
The difference between the politics and political discussion of the millennial generation and generation Z versus that of our parents and grandparents aka the "Boomers" is this anomaly called “social media.” Instead of allowing for an up close and personal form of communication, in which many comments are censored due to the fact that confrontation is typically wanting to be avoided, we have created these platforms that have falsely enabled people to essentially talk ill towards one another, not constructively communicate ideologies or in this case differences in ideologies, and in many cases enabled bullying.
It is very unfortunate that the First Lady’s “Be Best” initiative hasn’t been given the media attention it deserves. Regardless of party lines and political affiliation, this movement could have been very impactful. I think it is safe and honest to say that we have all at some point, experienced some form of bullying via the internet, especially as a conservative. So would it really hurt if we could all align and agree to shut down this poor behavior? Maybe some 20 years ago, it was already hard for many members of the LGBT community to “come out” as gay, but now were finding for these members as well as conservative, “coming out” as a conservative will probably bring an unprecedented level of harassment and bullying that has never been experienced before.
So, when I talk to these kids, my answer is sometimes something they don’t want to hear. I tell them to pick and choose their battles. If you are in school, and you are a minority, sometimes it is easier to pass through and choose a time and place to talk politics. In many classrooms, we are no longer finding it a safe environment where everyone is given the opportunity to fairly voice their political opinion.
“Is it really worth jeopardizing your grade and impacting your future?” is what I ask them. It is a shame that our society has become so polarized but this is all the decision we have to make when we choose to stand up against things that are being pushed as a social “norm” but are morally wrong and against the founding principles of what this country was based on.
So, a time and place to come out as a conservative is absolutely something you need to consider. For me, it was simple. I knew if I stayed silent on issues I whole heartedly disagreed with, I would only be hurting myself and my country. For someone like me, coming out as a conservative was life changing. It freed me but for those who may not be there yet, just remember, you may feel like you’re alone but you’re not.
There are millions of Americans who are quietly conservative. We are the silent majority that serves as the watchers of this Nation. Don’t pay attention to the mean things people will tell you. Don’t feel obligated to explain yourself and defend your beliefs. You are and have been blessed to be born into a country that was founded on the simple principle of freedom of thought. You are an American and it is your right to be a conservative.