by Abby Nye | Columnist
In the past decade, the political divide between conservative and liberal ideologies has become extreme. It seems as though both sides are intent on maintaining their beliefs simply to disagree with the opposing ideology. In light of ASWU’s decision to bar Ben Shapiro from speaking at Whitworth, the extreme distance between today’s liberal and conservative politics has made itself very clear recently at Whitworth.
The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) club at Whitworth is part of a national organization that offers funding for opportunities and events aligned with “conservative” beliefs. Despite their self-proclaimed association with conservatism, I have a difficult time believing that this group’s beliefs hold true to traditional conservatism. It seems as though YAF strives to bring the most controversial, far-right beliefs to the forefront of the political discussion to elicit an angry reaction instead of promoting true civil discourse.
Conservatism is rooted in tradition and analysis. This political ideology abides by promoting freedom for all people to take charge of their own lives and business without unnecessary interference from the government. It’s about providing the opportunity for all people to reap the benefits they have earned.
I had the fortunate opportunity to have been raised by two very successful, well-educated parents. I consider myself incredibly blessed, not only for the privilege I have, but for the opportunity to see my parents both create remarkable careers out of their sacrifice and hard work, along with the opportunity to benefit nicely from their efforts. This largely contributes to my conservative political ideology.
I’m incredibly disappointed in the representation of conservative politics at Whitworth. YAF seems to consistently work to get a rise out of the more liberal students. Conservatism is not about inviting ignorant controversial speakers to campus, or to complain about fair governmental decisions or even to viciously use radical conservative beliefs to shame other groups on campus.
This representation of conservatism is the opposite of what I know it to be. There must be a distinct line drawn between traditional conservatism and radical conservatism, which has reared its ugly head at Whitworth, especially in the past month. It is utterly humiliating that so many conservatives on campus have limited themselves in such a dramatic fashion. This entire political ideology stands on the belief that hard work and sacrifice pays off.
YAF is funded very well by contributors and allows for this group to rely on given income rather than their own skills and passion. I have a difficult time seeing the work and effort that goes into earning these benefits, as conservatism would encourage. Simply because a desired event did not happen on campus does not offer the opportunity to fabricate a “woe is me” image.
This toxic representation of conservatism has caused an even wider divide between the two major political parties. I have struggled with the changing political spectrum, as the more radical conservatives have largely staked their claim at Whitworth. I consider myself to be on the more conservative end of the political spectrum, but I do not ascribe to the beliefs that YAF advertises. Conservatism is not limited to racism, sexism or even controversy in general.
I believe conservative politics at Whitworth have been made radical and extreme by those individuals who choose to sit idly by while their funding and recognition works for them. It’s time for conservatives to re-evaluate what conservatism stands for and how it can be appropriately represented.