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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The time for conservative student voices is now

<iginally, I hadn’t intended to make any sort of political statement with my column this week. I figured I had engaged in enough punditry in my previous writing, and I assume that my ideological inclinations have been made very clear in those pieces. I actually hoped that for this issue of the newspaper I would be discussing a less dry and polarizing subject matter, maybe one dealing with general campus social life. However, perhaps much to the chagrin of my editors at The Carletonian, recent events have made this impossible for me.  

Like many of you on this campus, I was appalled by President Trump’s recent executive order that temporarily bans immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations. As a proud son of Guatemalan immigrants, I know first-hand just how gracious the United States has been in welcoming the destitute and the downtrodden from all corners of the world, regardless of ethnic or religious background. Such openness to diversity and inclusion served as a vital linchpin for American exceptionalism and strength. However, President Trump’s actions undermine this very American principle and threaten to irreparably tarnish the image of this country as a bastion of freedom and security for all of those who seek it.

I could go on at great length discussing all of my other qualms with Trump’s administration thus far, including his bellicose attitude towards the media, his far-fetched proposal for a southern border wall, the economically disastrous tariff propositions, or the pernicious influence of Steve Bannon, but that’s not what I wish to do now. Going into such a discussion would more or less be me preaching to the choir. Instead, I am here to make a short but urgently needed appeal to my fellow conservatives and libertarians on this campus: let’s do some soul searching, all while making ourselves known to the greater Carleton community with the fullest force imaginable.

I understand that many of you are hesitant to express your views, especially in such a liberal community as ours. Often times last year, I felt the same reluctance to share what I truly believed. I was afraid of being misjudged, of having my identity reduced to a political label that would follow me for my four years at this institution. However, such fear is no longer an excuse for our silence when we consider the direction our country is heading towards.

The Republican Party has been hijacked by a vile populist and his cronies, all while our GOP “leaders” acquiesce to the whims of the president like spineless sycophants. We have fallen far from our previous graces and have morphed into something that the conservatives and libertarians of yesterday would have difficulty identifying. We were once the party of William F. Buckley Jr., the articulate and erudite founder of The National Review who purged his magazine from its deplorable anti-Semitic influences, a man whose powerful intellect propelled him to the vanguard of American conservatism and earned him the respect of those both on the right and the left wings of American politics. Now, we run the risk of becoming the party of Trump and bombastic tweets, the party of misogyny and xenophobia.

We need to be introspective and ask ourselves how it is that we ended up in such a quagmire, and, more importantly, how we will leave it. I’m not sure what the answers to those questions are, but I do know that finding them will require all of us to be openly candid and vociferous. If we remain timid and within our own bubble, then we shall be powerless to the tempest of change that is destroying the principles we have worked so hard to promote. If we do not make ourselves known, we allow our liberal friends and peers to remain comfortable with their preconceived caricatures of us. They must realize that we come from all backgrounds imaginable: wealthy and poor, white and black, urban and rural, religious and secular. If we are to have any hope of spreading the ideas we believe to be beneficial for our society, such as free-markets, limited government, and comprehensive protections for individual rights, then we as stalwart messengers must be willing to venture into the conversations that may at times bring us great discomfort.

I wish to extend such an invitation to the Trump supporters as well, especially to those who I do not know. Let us understand where we stand in relation to each other, and let us figure out how we can move forward. Perhaps I have misjudged you, and for that I apologize in advance.

To the liberal readers of this column, please feel free and comfortable to question me and my conservative peers. Approach me in Sayles, in the dining halls, or wherever else we may see each other. I can assure you that we can have a civil and enriching conversation, all while having a deeper appreciation for our unique experiences and viewpoints.

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