When the Supreme Court handed down the historic ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states, I began to notice social media posts, news headlines, and off hand comments from people stating that it was another blow to conservatism, that Republicans were not in favor of this ruling. Shortly before this ruling, the systematic removal of the Confederate Flag from government buildings in the south, and the inability to purchase them from major retailers anymore was applauded universally, but even then, comments were targeted at some level to conservatives of America.
We live in a culture where often times identifying with a political party is a one trick pony. To those on the far right, being a liberal means that you are sinner, lazy, entitled, and want everything for free. For those on the far left, conservatives are racist, sexist, anti-gay, greedy, and basically just a complete bigot. However unfortunate these stereotypes may be, they represent opinions from a sizable portion of those on each side of the party line.
Young Americans typically align with the left. College universities are, in large part, factories for supporting liberal candidates, and voting Republican is something that is done in private. President Obama has commanded nearly two-thirds of under 30 votes in both of his elections, and he is probably the only President around where it has been considered cool to have a poster of him hanging in a college dorm room.
Touting that you are a Republican in your early twenties carries a certain stigma. On countless occasions, I have encountered young people who openly bash Republican supporting peers, and use the same arguments over and over again: They don't care about the one percent, they are racists, they hate women, they believe homosexuality is a sin, they are elitists and Bible thumpers, they are just plain stupid.
Any educated, well informed, and rational young conservative will tell you that this is simply not true. We are not racists, we do not hate women, we applauded the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, we believe in the plight of working class citizen, and no, we are most certainly not stupid.
In all fairness, these two political parties get there stereotypes from the most extreme members of their respective parties. Of course there are old white men who still think in the backwards manner that tends to blanket over all Republicans, and there are free loading young liberals who believe that hard work is not important because the government will take care of you.
The truth is that young people in general are more progressive and accepting to social change than the generations before us. The saying "fiscally conservative and socially liberal," while flawed in some respects, is more closely align with the views of twenty-something conservatives living in America.
Social change is something that comes over time as we have seen the monumental events this past week unfold across America. What people sometimes fail to realize is that increased exposure to a problem in society is what is needed to evolve. The world that we live in today, with technology in the palms of our hands, makes change more vocal, more believable, and more popular. It is a double-edged sword when change leads to venomous arguments over social media, but since we are able to broadcast thoughts instantly for the world to see, stupidity and ignorance often does not have time to think something over before it becomes an afterthought.
A third of Americans cannot identify Joe Biden as the Vice President of the United States, and surely an even larger percentage of young voters could not provide the correct answer. An estimated seventy percent of college students do not consider themselves well informed when it comes to politics. The point is that young people, in general, follow the herd, admire what is cool, take stands for things that plague their age groups. Only the last part of that statement matters because it is not young Democrats or Republicans that stand for social change, it is young people in general.
Why does this have anything to with young Republicans? To debunk the stereotype that is used by the collective of uniformed young people against outspoken, young conservatives. What's left is the myth about young Republicans. The truth is that we stand for different outlooks on government spending, foreign policy, health care, jobs, education and economic stimulus to name a few issues that should be at the forefront of the minds of voters. Social issues obviously are important as well, but no candidate is capable of producing social change, that privilege comes from the population as a whole.
With so many young Americans misinformed about the political climate and the issues worth paying attention to, judging someone based on their political affiliation to a party that is constantly misrepresented in the media is quite peculiar. If young people were really informed, there would be civil discussions, agreements, and disagreements about the issues from both sides of the party line, and those debates would be based on personal ideologies formed from research, reflection, and insight on the issues.