Written by Julia Clements
Illustrations by Yanuara Ramirez
As college age students, we are approaching our first Presidential election as voting-aged adults. As a political and historical geek, I have been counting down to this 2016 election since I was in grade school. I patiently awaited my time to actively participate in the political process as excitedly as a normal little girl might await her wedding day. A lot has changed since my distant observations of elections as a patriotic child. For one, to say that my political opinions have drifted from those of my family would be an understatement.
Just like any kid, the only exposure to politics I had was through my parents. Therefore, I took their opinions and beliefs as law. Both of my parents raised me as a conservative and they also sent me to a Catholic school for six years of my education, so it’s safe to say that I was living in an ideological bubble. Once I reached middle school, I began to think for myself and that bubble popped very suddenly. I realized, “Hey, those things that I was taught… Yeah, I think they were really, really wrong. Weird.” For the most part, I avoided talking about these changes of heart at home. Although, I never held back my newfound liberal opinions around my peers. So, my political opinions have been kept secret from my family, until now that is.
As party loyal Republicans, my father and my paternal grandparents are Trump supporters. Donald Trump. You know, that racist, xenophobic caricature that keeps on talking about that stupid wall. And I cannot be farther from their side as a bleeding-heart Bernie Sanders supporter. Recently, I went home to attend a dinner party with my dad’s side of the family, and being in the midst of a heated election season, they were bound to discuss politics. I braced myself to keep my mouth shut for an hour or two while they hurled conservative comments back and forth. The dinner took an unexpected turn when my brother outed me as a Bernie supporter because he thought it would be just hilarious. So for all of the liberal youngsters out there with a conservative family, here is what you can expect when you come out to your Trump supporting family as a Bernie supporter.
First they’ll roll their eyes. Of course, another defector in the family trying to rebel. They’ll think that you’re only doing this for the sake of being contrary. It obviously has nothing to do with the fact that you have actually have researched and thought about it over years and years of shaping your own opinions and beliefs without the bias influence of friends and family. Nope. You just want attention or something.
Then they’ll tell you that it’s “just a phase”. There’s no way that they should take your thoughts seriously now. You’re young and impressionable. You’re just following what’s trendy or hip. It’ll be short-lived.
They’ll also pull out the “you’ll change your mind when you make your own money someday.” Right. Because political beliefs should only coincide with self-interest. When you have debt you can go ahead and support welfare programs and cheaper college tuition. But when you start to make money, forget about those programs. You don’t need them anymore. Everyone else can fend for themselves.
“Bernie’s policies are too radical and unrealistic.” You know what’s totally realistic though? A wall that spans the Mexican border, completely funded by the Mexican government, of course.
“Trump is going to make America great again.” That’s when you give up and try not to vomit the rest of your dinner.
It’s tough out there, folks. Just grin and bear it and it will hopefully be over soon. Unless your dad orders a “Make America Great Again” hat. Some scars will never heal.