Posted by Kristina Kassis
For some people, election day means rushing to the local polls and standing in lines for hours to cast their votes, while for others-either indifferent or simply uninformed-it means choosing to abstain from exercising this right. Regardless of political opinion or action, everyone should feel as if they can freely express their beliefs without fear of mockery, derision, or in extreme cases, persecution.
As a woman who was raised in a very conservative household and is aligned with many conservative ideals, attending two very liberal schools (in my high school of 300 people, there were a total of 6 conservatives who openly shared their political views) has certainly made me less eager to voice my opinions. I am frankly shocked by the unwillingness of many people to even listen to what I have to say. I cannot tell you how many people openly laughed at me when I told them I was going to vote for McCain in our school election four years ago. I, along with the small group of conservatives at my high school, was forced to watch the election results in a separate room, openly booed when we cheered at a surge in McCain's votes.
Nothing has changed since high school. I opened my Facebook page this morning to see a barrage of Anti-Romney rants, mostly from Skidmore students, some openly bashing those who support Romney. One student even posted: "I literally hate half of the country right now," when Romney began gaining votes. While this is not face-to-face derision, it does make it hard to express my own views in a way that is respectful to others' opinions. Frankly, I do not believe that Facebook should be a venue to put down other's beliefs. Expressing one's own opinions is fine, but when it leads to putting down other's, that crosses a line.
I have never, nor will I ever, force my political beliefs upon anyone, but I do believe I have the right to voice them and that it is very difficult to do so in a place where people seem to take my dissension from their own beliefs so personally.
If you want to know what I think, please ask me, and I will be more than willing to share. If you are not interested in opening your mind, but rather seek amusement, I will not indulge you. My beliefs are something I take seriously, and while you do not need to agree with them, my only hope is that you take them seriously. I urge other Conservatives to speak out. Do not be afraid to be a part of the minority. These are your beliefs and you should be proud. I know I am.