You know a Republican when you see one. They’ve got those big ten-gallon hats, always wearing a side-arm, possibly burning something and negatively shaking their finger at you. They’re easy to spot in a crowd, especially here at MSU, right?
Erin Mazurie, speech pathology junior, likes going to parties on the weekends and hanging out with her friends. She believes that if you love someone, regardless of gender, you should be able to marry them. Erin is a liberal Republican.
Yes, there is such a thing as a liberal Republican. Erin says that she is about as liberal on most issues as a person can get without being a Democrat. “For me, it comes down to abortion,” Mazurie said. “I just can’t get behind that.” But don’t be so surprised by Erin’s open admission that she is a Republican on a fairly liberal campus like Michigan State. She’s not alone.
[gop]On September 19, 2004, when Barbara and Jenna Bush, daughters of President George W. Bush, visited MSU to speak before a private audience, more than 300 Republican students welcomed them. According to the twins’ online journal, MSU has the third largest Students for Bush organization in the country.
Recently, both the College Republicans and the MSU Students for Bush organizations had their first meetings with respectable attendances. Meredith Phillis, communications director for Students for Bush, said the turnouts have been great. “There are so many conservatives on campus here,” Phillis said, an education sophomore. “It’s great to see the support for the President.”
For some students at MSU, there might be a shock over the number of Republican students that attend classes here. One person recently told me, “I just don’t get it. I mean, college is for progressive thinking.” So isn’t it difficult to be a conservative on a liberal campus?
“I wouldn’t say that being a Republican is difficult,” Phillis said. “I like being a Republican. But sometimes it’s hard to say you’re a Republican without being bombarded.”
“It depends on if I’m going to be harassed or not,” Mazurie said on when she explains her opinions on political issues. “When you start telling me I can’t think the way I do, I have issues with you. As long as you are prepared to respectfully defend your beliefs, I’ll discuss mine.” [page]
There is no doubt that conservative views are met with major hostility here on campus. In fact, there are some places where being a conservative is seen as so atrocious that people have to hide their views. In response to major Hollywood support for the Democratic Party, the Bush campaign recently distributed a list of celebrities who were supporting the President. Some of the celebrities listed, like Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, neither denied nor confirmed that they supported the President. Mandy Moore, who was listed as a Bush supporter, was so angry over the list that she released a statement saying “I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Republican.” Sound familiar? But the same hostility is held for those with liberal views in religious and conservative areas. On several network news stations and in much of Michigan the word liberal is virtually synonymous with an insult. But why is there so much frustration over a conflict of views?
“Back when I was growing up, Republicans weren’t the ‘bad guys.’ You had at least one in your family.”
When Michael Moore said this in front of a packed MSU Auditorium on September 30, you could literally see the entire crowd cock its collective head to the right. Just moments before, these students were booing the protesting Republicans out front, and now they had learned that they did not used to be so horrible. Some students were shocked.
You, too, might be asking yourself, “Republicans were… good people??? They weren’t always greedy, racist, sexist, gun-toting religious fanatics? What the hell happened to them? When was this Golden Age of American politics? This had to have been long ago, because surely Republicans aren’t good people now.”
So when did Republicans stop being good people? Here’s a better question; when did they start becoming ‘bad people’? Why do Republicans, or Democrats, have to be the ‘bad guys’? Too much emphasis has been placed on ‘who should win’ and not enough has been placed on ‘why’.
The problem exists on both sides. Both the College Republicans and the MSU Democrats are too focused on mimicking party fights rather than using any method of reasoning to explain each other’s views.
Michigan State shouldn’t be seen as a liberal campus, it should be seen as a political campus. Conservatives shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinions, and liberals shouldn’t be afraid to hear them.

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