This past year America has seen people try to redefine their identity. When people see me, a 21-year-old college student who comes from Spanish descent, they immediately think that I am a liberal. For some reason, being a conservative is associated with old white men who have billions of dollars and want to rule America.
My mother moved to America from Venezuela, and my father is from Puerto Rico. Both live and work here in America. For some reason, it is believed that if you are a daughter or son of Hispanic descent, you’re automatically liberal. And if you’re a “millennial,” you are absolutely a liberal.
It’s assumed that I must be pro-immigration, whether it’s legal or illegal, and must support sanctuary schools and cities since my parents immigrated to this country. Little do they know, many Hispanics are actually conservatives due to their faith and the oppressive regimes they were escaping from. But from what you see from the media and in college classrooms, this can’t possibly be true.
I never thought much about the “stereotype” until I got to college. Before enrolling, I wasn’t challenged in my beliefs. I knew of people who didn’t agree with my beliefs, but things were always civil. There comes a time when your beliefs will be challenged and ripped apart — this may even influence the grades you get. For most, that time will be in college.
I first started attending Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013, and I was shocked. Not only did people disagree with me (which was expected), but also if my ideology didn’t align with theirs, horrendous insults would be hurled at me: “How could you like the party who is pro-white men?” or “Do you hate women?” These are the types of questions I was greeted with in “open-minded” discussions.
I will never forget one day when I was taking a state and federal government class. We were talking about different ideologies within the federal government, and how they affect the people living in this country. Everyone in the class seemed to love the idea of free education and free health care, as well as the government taking care of the citizens by providing food stamps and other federal programs. The problem is that if anyone in that class had any knowledge of economics or just common sense, they may have realized that nothing in this world is free. I spoke up about how that is the system in place in Venezuela and it wasn’t working and people are fleeing the country.
In Venezuela, you could receive a free education, as well as free healthcare. Yet it wasn’t great education or healthcare. Lines in hospitals go around the corner, and since there is no competition within the schools and everyone can receive a degree, the degree isn’t really worth anything.
I spoke firsthand about how my mother’s side of the family came here from Venezuela because of the oppressive free-for-all regime under Hugo Chavez. I was called a “Hispanic hater” as well as a “brainwashed Baptist.” Students rolled their eyes and my professor said, “That’s just one socialist country which failed. Not all failed.” At this point, I was outraged. What I found fascinating was that none of the students or the professor who had criticized me had immigrant parents or had ever lived (not vacationed or stopped on a cruise ship) in these oppressed countries. None of them had been to countries such as Haiti, Greece, and Venezuela where these oppressive and controlling governments had ruined the people’s lives.
If you’re not familiar with the political scene in Venezuela, it has been nothing but communist rule with people dying of hunger for the past 30 years. My mother worked in the school systems and made a life for herself and her future family here in the U.S. Seeing the country where my mother is from and seeing the hardships she, as well as the rest of my family who finally left, have gone through, easily moved me towards conservatism.
I researched it by reading history books about our government and our forefather’s conservative beliefs. The more I learned, the more I was intrigued. It became clear to me what happens when you have corrupt liberal permanent rule over a country. As someone who has seen the rest of my family flee from Venezuela in the past year, why would I agree with a liberal government? If anything, it has pushed me further and further away from having big government controlling the people and taking away their basic and God-given liberties.
I’ve been called a “unicorn” because I am not only a millennial, but also a conservative, woman, and minority. For some reason, we have equated conservatism with old men in D.C. who wear monocles and smoke out of pipes. Yet this is far from the truth. Attending CPAC two years in a row, being involved with the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), and through my own experience, I have personally seen how diverse and young the conservative movement is today.
Despite what the media and the marchers depict, the conservative movement is growing among young women. The idea that women don’t need government to take care of them, that the wage gap is a myth, and that they start and run successful businesses, really draws young women to conservatism.
This is why it is so important to stand by your beliefs. Do your research, discuss them, and stand up for them. In 1920, we did not just receive the right to vote, we received the right to choose candidates based on our personal ideologies and beliefs.
No one expects young women to stand by their opinions and support them with facts. It is expected that young millennial women will partake in the crowd mentality and buy into liberal ideology. Forming a chapter of NeW at FGCU has given me a community of young women who believe in the same things I do, and want to learn more about a whole spectrum of issues. Having this network is a constant reminder that I am not alone, and that being a conservative is more than the social stigma or the “cool” thing to be.