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viewpoint

To my fellow Republicans

| Wednesday, April 17, 2019

During my freshman year at Notre Dame, I was hesitant about advocating for Republican principles despite my resolute commitment to political conservatism. Trying to have a political conversation with other students was like trying to perform a gymnastics routine across a field of land mines. It was easier to just keep my mouth shut.

Then I attended an event co-hosted by the College Republicans and the College Democrats. Students gathered to watch some special broadcast that I can’t even remember (it might have been a presidential candidate town hall). I do remember, however, what happened at the end of the event — the acting president of the College Republicans joined the president of the College Democrats on stage to discuss the broadcast and related issues. I was certain he was going to approach this discussion like most young Republicans would — by tiptoeing his way through the conversation, making sure the most frequent word in his remarks was “sorry.” But to my pleasant surprise, he boldly defended what were undoubtedly unpopular positions on our campus and unapologetically went after his opponent’s comments. I remember thinking that if this guy is willing to make himself an identifiable representation of robust conservatism on campus, then I can raise my hand the next time my sociology professor says capitalism is evil. And I did.

It is so important for our fellow students — particularly incoming freshmen and underclassmen — to see Republicans boldly defending their principles. Although I pose this message to all conservative students, it is particularly important for those that take on leadership positions within conservative student organizations (College Republicans, YAF, etc.).

Your leadership in tackling contentious issues contributes to an environment in which conservative students feel comfortable and supported in voicing their opinions. Conversely, your silence on these issues will have a silencing effect. If the leaders of the College Republicans are cowering in fear at the prospect of being labeled “racists” by liberals, then how can we expect other students to find the courage to speak up? If the College Republicans can’t muster the bravery to fight for conservative principles, there’s no chance in hell those principles will be openly embraced by the student body. (And newsflash, Republicans, if you sneeze in the wrong direction, liberals will call you a racist. If you have a spine, you can brush it right off your well-supported back.)

At a time when professing liberal policies is considered worthy of canonization while self-identifying as a Republican apparently warrants riots, I understand why so many conservative students keep their politics to themselves. But in order for conservatism to prosper (and, Mariah willing, prevail), particularly on college campuses, our political philosophy must be openly pervasive.

As my time at Notre Dame nears its end, this is my parting message to you. Don’t be silent, don’t abandon your principles and don’t be bullied into ideological submission. Dare to dissent.

 

Jeff is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in science-business with a minor in sociology. A native of St. Louis, Jeff believes that his hometown is the greatest city in the world and is always ready to talk about The Lou. In his free time, Jeff likes to play tennis, bake in the sun, read autobiographies, spend time with friends, talk on the phone with his mother or twin sister and listen to Mariah Carey’s voice soar through one of her signature love ballads. Hate mail can be directed to [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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