Everyone Deserves to Be Heard
A Republican student asks readers: Don’t judge someone before you know them
Dear Future President,
I want to bring up an issue that doesn’t make the media. It isn’t one people think about, it isn’t something many people know about, and it isn’t something that should be disregarded. It is something I find very important, because it is something I’ve dealt with. It is something I have lived through.
First off, I’d like to state I’m a girl, but I am also a Republican. Before anyone judges me for that, just listen to what I have to say. Put aside your own political views for a couple minutes and just listen to a person, not a label.
The issue is how my school views Republicans. Almost everyone I know in my school makes fun of Republicans. It is practically a part of their daily life. I understand if my peers are doing it. They have heard their parents and news stations say bad things about Republicans so they repeat it. There was a time last year where I was talking to my friend, who didn’t know I was a Republican, and they said something along the lines of Republicans being racist and sexist and horrible people. As far as I know she didn’t personally know any Republicans at the time, or at least she didn’t realize she knew any Republicans. She was generalizing based on what she heard on the news or from people around her. She wasn’t saying that because of personal experience. I don’t really blame her and I’ve dealt with situations like this enough to not be offended so much by it anymore, but when the teachers come say stuff like that too, it hurts.
When teachers let students make fun of Republicans, it’s akin to letting the students bully, something we have a whole program dedicated to in our school. That’s bad in itself, but when teachers help the students make fun of Republicans, it’s gone too far. At one time I had this teacher, who I actually liked, but multiple times during the year would imply bad things about Republicans. For example, they would name a Republican idea or person and make a purposefully mean joke about them. If they personally weren’t saying it, then they would ignore students saying it. For example, a kid shared a generally Republican viewpoint and I know this student is a Republican, I don’t know what the student said now, but it was Republican. Anyway, fellow students called the student stupid and idiotic and anything else along those lines. I know the teacher heard because the teacher was right next to the students who were saying that, but completely ignored it. You can’t encourage hating a whole group of people because they think different from you. I don’t believe that is something that should be considered okay in school. Actually, it shouldn’t be considered okay anywhere. How is it right to judge and hate a whole group of people because they think differently? Isn’t that like hating people because they look different or love different? You might be saying judging people on political views isn’t as important as, say, racism, because racism is obvious and you can see someone is another race. You can’t see political views. You can say this, but issues like gay rights is important and that isn’t visible either. So, yes, Republicans don’t have a physical difference, like being another race, but that doesn’t make this any less pertinent.
Now you may be thinking, are people in my school just making fun of Republicans because of this election? My experiences say no. Long before this election, all the way back to kindergarten, I remember seeing differences in the way Republicans are thought about versus how Democrats are viewed in my school. I wasn’t actually ‘bullied’ for it until third grade, but I do remember seeing a sort of division between the two groups when on the rare occasion a teacher would bring it up. This election might have made it worse, but it's not the sole cause.
I wanted to get this out there because it isn’t right. I’m not asking people to change their political views, or to stop disagreeing with me. I know that isn’t possible and that it is dangerous to only have one viewpoint, but I want a fair shot. I want people to give me, no, everyone, a fair shot to be heard. Don’t judge someone before you know them. Don’t hate someone when you read their views online, or elsewhere, because they think differently. I may be talking about Republicans individually, but I’m sure there are other groups who are just as judged and hated without anyone listening to them. And I’m sure there are other groups with issues that no one realizes exist. I know this might not do a lot, but if I can inspire even one other person to speak up and say that this isn’t right, then I will be happy. For years I have been too afraid to say anything about this. I was so scared for people to find out that I’m a Republican, so I just sat there and listened to friends, teachers, and peers say horrible things about Republicans without saying anything. I’m not afraid anymore, and I shouldn’t have to be.
Thank you for listening. I hope you at least understand now that this is happening. Truthfully, I’m not just speaking to the Future President, I’m speaking to anyone who reads this. I’m speaking to anyone who will stop and listen for a second. I care a lot about this topic and I don’t want to constantly feel so hated and scared to speak up anymore.
From Someone Who Wants a Change,