Conservatives face scrutiny in liberal area


Ryan Geisz

Senior Ryan Geisz’s truck beside the Missouri river.

Madeline Lee, News Editor

With the current presidential administration, the Charlottesville riots, and everyday political life, the divide between political parties appears to increase with each day. This has caused issues within the community to arise, particularly among students.
“Whenever someone says they’re a Republican, liberals think they believe in 100% of anything Republican,” senior Ryan Geisz said. “Labels are a blanket statement.”
Some students are hesitant to share their views if they are more conservative because of fear of ridicule and scorn.
“It bothers me when people make assumptions,” Geisz said. “Just because I’m a white person and a man, that doesn’t mean I’m a racist or sexist. That’s a huge assumption.”
Conservative students have reported facing disdain for their views, like being called derogatory slurs and labeled as people with extremist views, because they are open about their opinions.
“Any time I tell someone that I’m a conservative, or share any of my beliefs, I get labeled as a racist, a sexist, a homophobic, or islamophobic,” junior Aaron Rodin said. “None of which I am.”
A large number of those comments and labels come from left-leaning people, the students report.
“[Liberals] preach no racism or sexism or bigotry, but they’re doing the exact same thing towards another political party,” senior Dylan Creath said. “It’s just negative.”
Other conservative students have been in similar situations as Creath, where they report hypocritical statements from the left.
“Everyone’s about accepting everyone’s views and sexuality, but they put everyone down for believing in things that they believe are wrong,” junior Erin Smith said. “People are hypocrites.”
Issues that are on the political forefront of the two political parties include the existence of white supremacy, gun control, free speech rights, use of the confederate flag, and abortion.
“I wish people could have conversations,” junior Chayse Williams said. “People are so wrapped up in their views that they can’t do that. In a time where we really need each other, it’s keeping us more divided.”
In recent months, the topics of racism and white supremacy have been a large presence in the media, especially after the Charlottesville riots.
“Racism is different now than it has been in the past,” junior Jake Feldman said. “Racism back in the Civil Rights era is very different than it is now, but it’s still real.”
Some people believe that racism has ceased to be, but others believe that it has been ingrained into our culture and is still a part of society.
“It’s a dark part of history,” Creath said. “Those who don’t acknowledge it are doomed to repeat it.”
Another topic that hits closer to home is the use of the American flag. In recent months, the flag has been associated more and more with the Republican party.
“The American flag is for everyone,” Williams said. “But with people who overly wave it I associate them with Republicans. I can’t tell where it comes from but that’s what I associate it with.”
The first week that President Donald Trump was elected last November, Geisz put two American flags on the back of his pickup truck.
“People would approach me and say ‘what’s wrong with you’,” Geisz said, talking about the reaction to his flags. “The first thing I said was ‘what if I’d had those flags up when Obama was president’.”
Almost one year later, the two flags are still flying from the truck bed of Geisz’s truck.
“The flags are a symbol of this country,” Geisz said. “Not the left, not the right; America.”