They say the only thing worse than being alone is being surrounded by people who make you feel alone. Politically, I suppose, that couldn’t be truer.
I decided to go to college in a town that is, by vast majority, Democrat, at a school that appears to be roughly 99.9 percent liberal Democrat. Two other students, freshman Maggie Johnson and sophomore Josiah Ferris, made the same decision, regardless of their self-identified libertarian politics.
The simple definition of a libertarian is someone who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. For the most part, Johnson and Ferris’ social views are not at odds with the majority. Thankfully, not too many students here at Santa Fe University of Art and Design have opinions on the capital gains tax or small business loans. However, should you dare hint that you have no plans to vote for Obama, there will be hell to pay.
“I think I’ve only met one Republican here,” Johnson says. “I haven’t really noticed any Romney stickers—just a massive amount of Obama stickers.”
Yes, the hell to pay comment is hyperbolic—but political differences can be profoundly isolating.
“I think I’d be lying if I said I haven’t censored myself,” Ferris says.
“I’ve been trying to keep it under the radar who I’m going to vote for,” Johnson agrees. “I don’t want to start anything.”
And I, on many occasions, have censored myself. I have to see these people every day. Why start a conflict over political beliefs that rarely affect my day-to-day life?
Yet if I can find someone with opposing views who will have a thoughtful, intelligent conversation on the issues, I’m in heaven. There’s nothing worse than a group of people all in complete agreement.
“I think some people who don’t understand their political views have a tendency to not talk much,” Ferris says. “There are other people who think they know more than they do, so they just end up getting angry when I refute them. They start yelling. So at that point, it’s just an argument—and they are so passionate about it, they’re not going to change their minds. Then there are other people that I have good discussions with. Yes, we disagree, but it’s a discussion, not an argument.”
A discussion, not an argument—really, that’s all the minority can demand. Besides, neither side is necessarily wrong; they just have opposing plans to try to make the country better.
Vote Romney 2012. I’m just kidding; I’m still undecided. Please don’t send me hate mail.
Nick Martinez is a student at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.