Conservative Club offers fresh perspective on political platforms, stresses importance of discussion

’ve talked to maybe four conservatives in my life, and even then, it was more along the lines of arguing rather than talking.  When I first heard about the school’s new Conservative Club, I rolled my eyes and dismissed any chance of the club being constructive or positive. But, as I did so, I became aware that I was closing my mind off in the same way I had accused them of. So, I decided to explore the club, half expecting to be educated and half expecting to be entertained.

I went into my first Conservative Club meeting and quietly pulled out my laptop, surprised at how many people I never knew (or thought) would be conservative. Nevertheless, my initial biases were tamed when I realized I had walked in on a genuine discussion: one about what it meant to be a conservative.

Expectedly, student responses ranged from social ideologies to economic factors, but they almost all started their sentences with, “Us conservatives, contrary to belief, believe…” as if they were talking directly to the skeptics, as if they were talking directly to me.

The meeting continued and they made one thing clear: it was critical to not just be a vocal conservative, but an educated one.

Considering they knew better than anyone else what it felt like to spark controversy on campus, they said they couldn’t afford to be misinformed.

Whether that meant clearing up misconceptions or uncovering more specific values, being a conservative was not as clear-cut as I imagined.

So, as much as I expected to walk in on a whirlpool of skewed ideology and inflated right-wing rhetoric, I was instead met by a group of educated conservatives mixed with those who wished to learn.

Granted, while they weren’t short on left-wing political jabs and jokes, their club’s basis was clear and organized. The club executive board and adviser laid it out: no more arguing with teachers, provoking students, or being uninformed.

So, the meetings went on, consisting of debates and presentations. One presentation on Postmodernism struck me the most.

But it wasn’t so much the content of that meeting that caught my attention, but the nature of the discussion, and sometimes healthy argument, that resulted from it.

Members of the club, conservative and liberal alike, often stayed behind and reflected on the day’s topic, taking the time to hear out the opposing side or to even plead their own case.

Those discussions became the catalysts for conversation and one of the sole reasons to come back.

Every week there would be new faces, new voices, something excitingly new to learn. And while I was never the loudest voice in the room, I felt as if I was heard.

Ultimately, I can’t say I agreed with everything I heard. In fact, even members of the club disagreed with each other on key points.

Abortion, religion, and feminism were all topics open for debate amongst the Conservative Club members. Yet, despite their disagreements, the club never failed to offer a space for healthy discussion. To them, no idea was too sacred or settled to further examine.

So, while I can’t speak for all conservatives on campus, the majority of those in this club demonstrated a passionate desire for understanding.

And while I can’t speak for all the students on campus, I think they deserve our attention and respect beyond our partisan differences.