Conservative students say they feel left’s intolerance

Gwendolyn Poole, Staff Writer

In American society where the liberal left complains about homophobia, racism, and the need for safe spaces, Republican students could be the ones facing real discrimination.

Several students at Bear Creek who identify themselves as conservatives or have voiced support for Pres. Donald Trump say they have experienced negative consequences as a result of their ideologies.

“I remember a student last year would always get bashed on because he was an open supporter of Trump and a group of students kept calling him ‘stupid’ and telling him to ‘shut up,’” junior Dussal Victoria said. “It wasn’t really fair because they had their own opinion, but they weren’t letting him have his.”

Many classes have students participate in open debates over different political topics.

“The word tolerance is thrown around as an attack on conservative students, like ‘you are intolerant’ is often what I hear,” AP U.S. history teacher Heather Blount said. “I think it’s about how the teacher sets up the environment in the classroom and whether all opinions are accepted.”

“The year I taught government, it definitely can get contentious, but I think it’s important to have ground rules before starting [the discussions] like backing up what you say with actual facts so it doesn’t devolve into name-calling or insults,” AP European history teacher Jonathan Clemons said.

Some students say they’ve experienced backlash when participating in these political discussions, even within safe discussion environments.

“Whenever I voice my opinions in my English class, even if I support it with facts, the people who are against my argument automatically disregard anything I say,” conservative sophomore Taylor Pittman said.

However some students are savvy enough to realize that facts — even statistics — can be manipulated by both sides to support a particular viewpoint.
The voicing of political views at Bear Creek has not escalated to physical harm, but rather often ends with insults and the two debaters parting ways. However, more violent backlash against conservatives has occurred.

A student at Michigan State had his dorm room vandalized with eggs, hot dogs, gum, a picture of the devil, and notes saying, “Shut the f— up,” “Why do you even go here?! Leave!!” and “Everyone hates you, you violent pr—.” This was in response to his publishing of a satirical article he wrote about political correctness.

More recently at UC Berkeley, when protesters rioted to stop a speech by conservative Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a supporter was pepper sprayed by rioters while giving an interview to a local TV station.

The Democratic Party prides itself on its tolerance of people with opposing sexual orientations, races, and beliefs.

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views,” said conservative commentator and founder of National Review magazine William F. Buckley, Jr., before his death in 2008.

The threat of being associated with such labels as homophobic or racist has also made many young conservative students reluctant to voice their opinions.

“People associate us with white trash,” conservative junior Jamie Wallis said. “They don’t even hear us out on our political beliefs; they just assume that if we’re conservative, we’re somehow white trash.”

Many students say the election of Donald Trump has fueled an increase in the number of attacks on conservative students.

In Chesterfield, Missouri, a student was attacked by a group of students on a school bus on the way to school for wearing Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat.

A sophomore at Woodside High School in California was assaulted the day after she posted a screen grab of CNN’s broadcast projecting Mr. Trump’s win, leaving her parents reluctant to send her back to school.

One thing most people on both sides of the political spectrum can agree on is the hope for attacks on those with opposing beliefs to cease.
“Tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all,” United States Marine Corps four-star-general Ray Davis said in an online podcast sponsored by Forbes.