I had an incredible experience with Turning Point USA a month ago, and I won’t hesitate to say that it changed my life. I’m not the same person that I was when I flew into West Palm Beach on the morning of December 18th. I’m eternally grateful to the staff for all that they’ve done and continue to do. I found my purpose that week. I made dozens of contacts and connections that honestly intimidate me. I was surrounded by the best and brightest in millennial politics.
As we’ve followed each other on social media and interacted with one another, I’ve found myself worried about what people would think of me. I’m kind of a grand ole party animal; I like booze, and I like clothes that compliment my body while there’s still anything to compliment. I like loud, rambunctious music and tasteless, crude TV shows. I also like Lilly Pulitzer, Jesus, and classical music, but I don’t rigidly fit the conservative stereotype by a long shot.
And this is politics, after all. What people think of you kind of matters. The world of politics is a small one, and you be surprised what can make or break you.
As a general rule of thumb, I should probably be more mindful of how I present myself. But I’ve realized that judgment isn’t what actually matters. What matters when all is said and done are the standards you set for yourself, and whether or not you live up to them. Instead of focusing on whether or not people judge us, or approve of us, we should focus on being people that we can be proud of when we look in the mirror, no matter who accepts us.
There is no one size fits all to conservatism, and while in principal, we should all hold ourselves accountable, we don’t all have to live the same way to believe in limited government, personal responsibility, and the constitution. In all honesty, the political right needs more people like me. It needs more people that show the more human and approachable side of right wing politics. In my opinion, the movement is big enough for more than one lifestyle.
Personally, I think that ending slut shaming is one of the most asinine causes that one could dedicate time or energy to. If you’re a truly empowered person, you don’t care about who does or doesn’t approve of your sex life, and you have no right to demand respect, as it’s something earned and given on a personal basis. And I think that same logic can be applied across the board; no one should have the authority to tell another person what they should or shouldn’t condone or condemn. Conservatism, at its core, though, revolves around the individual. And as an individual, the life you design for yourself should be about what makes you happy, not appeasing your peers or colleagues.
Decide what works for you, and live accordingly. Courageous conservatism isn’t just vocalizing your beliefs whether or not their popular, it’s being yourself in the face of scrutiny.