Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Hello Victoria. I’m going to use this op-ed as an opportunity to speak directly to you, specifically regarding your piece from last week, “The Journey of a Conservative College Student.” What a treacherous and difficult journey that must be. As a writer of sorts, I feel like I owe you a bit of constructive criticism, so that next time you can get to your points faster and waste less of everyone else’s time. “Everyone” refers to the staff at The Quad as well as the University community as a whole. I’ll work my way through most of the piece below, or to save some of your own time, you can just call me a leftist sheep before you even read it and learn nothing. It’s a free country.

“For essays, I would regularly receive a poor grade based solely on my viewpoint […]In short, I realized that I had to hide my ideologies to receive the A+ I needed.” You mean to tell me that you got all the way to college and then decided that your professors were all just wrong? You didn’t think that your ideology could possibly be incorrect, so it must be a conspiracy by your leftist professors? Give us a break. You were being told you were wrong, and you refused to accept it. For the love of god, consider things from perspectives that aren’t your own.

“On one occasion when I was wearing my MAGA hat, an emotionally-unstable female came storming up to me with tears streaming down her face shouting that I shouldn’t vote for such a ‘bad man.’ Being the inquisitive human that I am, I asked why, but all I received was mindless sputtering.” I’m going to do you a solid and ignore the fact that this absolutely reeks of the same scent that many fake online posts do. I would like to ask, what you describe as “mindless sputtering—” do you remember what at all was being said by this “emotionally unstable female,” or did you just tune it out?

“After this realization, I decided to ‘come out’ as a conservative in my classes. At a liberal college, I feel that it is more difficult to reveal oneself as right-wing than transgender: in the latter one might receive praise and in the former one might receive contempt.” 

I cannot keep up this joking, condescending tone I’ve kept for the majority of this op-ed anymore. I became legitimately upset when I read this, which I guess was your goal anyway, so bonus points for you. I can’t tell if this is another reactionary taking point or if you actually believe this to be true, but either way there is a problem with this statement. It’s bigoted. Full stop. To even think that a political affiliation (much less your own) of any kind attracts anything even close to the amount of hate and systemic oppression and violence that the LGBTQ community faces is not just ignorant, it’s a bad strategy for someone like yourself. You have exposed yourself as nothing more than someone trying to get a reaction. You clearly understand that there is struggle for this community, yet you put yours above theirs while simultaneously demeaning them with such a line of “reasoning.” Can you tell me if you were ever not allowed to donate blood because of your MAGA hat? Have you been deliberately excluded from government programs based on your sexual preference? Would you still “enjoy the battle” if your rights were called into question and debated like any other law? Would you enjoy the battle if you were actually fighting a battle? Or are you just someone who likes winning but can only win in your own head?

Facts. Not Feelings. Right?

“Data indicate that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth (National Institute of Health).” I would very much like to see a figure like this one to support your own claims. I am hard-pressed to find any statistics to support your claim that trans individuals are met with unyielding praise and support after coming out. These hypotheticals of how marginalized people get better treatment than everyone is paradoxical at best. If you’re seeing things like support for lgbt individuals around you, that support is few and far between what actually occurs within the lives of those people. Being trans isn’t a universal experience, so trying to compare your own experience would be ignorant no matter what stance you took. However, comparing your perceived oppression to that of the very real and consistent systemic oppression that trans people face is unbelievably oblivious to the trans experience as a whole.  

Conservatives are not even close to being the only problem in the current political climate. Our representatives on both sides of the aisle no longer represent the interest of citizens. Corporations are given more rights than any individual. Washington knows that problems are multiplying, but has no problem ignoring them for profit. We know this. But as someone who has connections in their own life to many people of widely differing political opinions, I have no patience when I see someone doing what you are doing. You could discuss how conservative values are being tainted by reactionaries online. In what may come as a surprising development, I would actually be very receptive to a conversation about something like this. But it seems that even if you are saying these things without the intent to divide and anger (which after reading through your submissions to The Quad, I would say is a stretch at best), you are not considering how they affect other people. I would encourage you to reach out to our campus community and really put some effort into understanding just why there has been such a negative reaction to this piece. And if you listen, try to do only that. Don’t compare what you’re hearing to your beliefs, just try and assess everything from the perspective of the person you’re talking to. I would be more than happy to talk with you at length about some of these issues, as they are very complicated. But that’s assuming that your op-ed exists out of genuine mistake, and not out of malice. Which again, I find unlikely considering your lack of empathy in previous comparisons.

Henry Campbell is a third-year English major.

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