While there are many young Republicans who supported and voted for the current president, many of us young conservatives couldn’t bring ourselves to put our full faith in our party’s candidate. Growing up in mostly rural and agricultural areas of the Northwest, many of us have accumulated ideologies and sought processes that align closely with the Republican Party. Some of these concepts have been portrayed in a very extreme sense.
Contrary to popular belief, many young conservatives understand the positive effects of opening borders for trade and continued immigration to support the labor force and cultural diversity. Yet, we have also seen the negative effects of overbearing government regulations.
Having been taught to understand both sides of an argument, it proved extremely difficult to support his nomination. Even so, it can seem like many media outlets coin all conservatives as right-wing extremists who support all of President Trump’s ideas and beliefs. Looking at the statistics gained over the last year, that is simply not the case.
According to Ronald Brownstein’s CNN article titled “These are the supporters Trump is losing,” a staggering 51 percent of young Republicans said they had mixed feelings about Trump. Only 22 percent disliked Trump and 24 percent liked him. We think it is important to understand not all young conservatives have a close-minded view and are blindly supporting the Republican Party.
Although our support did not favor Trump, it does not mean we supported the Democratic ticket. That same sentiment was shared with many peers who chose the ultimatum of voting for an independent candidate or not at all. We see it as a decision not to distance ourselves from the majority, but to find someone who aligns their values closer to ours.
After a year viewing the current administration, our dissatisfaction with Trump doesn’t waiver our trust in our government. It is our civic duty as American citizens to support our government through just actions. A series of checks and balances does not allow these decisions to be made by only one person.
That being said, we must trust the system set in place by those who have come before us and respect decisions being made through that system. This trust also requires both conservatives and liberals to reach across the aisle to find compromise.
Growing up in the millennial generation, we have often been taught to pick red or blue, avoiding anything in between.
We have seen time and time again debates and arguments that continue to polarize our nation’s political scene. Realizing that there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum, we understand not everyone agrees to bipartisan effort. As young conservatives living through this, we see it as our duty to push pass this divide and listen with open ears as our young liberal counterparts speak their minds. We think the only way to help America grow and succeed is not only listen to both sides of the aisle, but work with them. As millennials grow into one of the biggest and most powerful generations, we would like to encourage our young liberal friends to do
the same. Moving forward together will not only strengthen the nation but unify it.
This next election cycle will really show where people’s hearts and minds are. Can we circle the wagons once again and be a more unified nation, or will the divide continue to grow stronger? That is the question we all must ask ourselves.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -John F. Kennedy
Austin O’Neill and Cole Lickley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org