Columns / Discourse / March 4, 2015

Importance of ideology

I think what throws me — and many other people who read your column — is the apparent conflation that you make between the terms “republican” (i.e. affiliation with the Republican Party) and “conservative.” Why do you seem inherently overly-defensive of your self-identified conservatism?

That’s an interesting question, but a valid one, since I don’t think I have ever really expressed my point or mission in writing this column. Formerly, this column was just a Conservative viewpoint column; the discourse editor would give me and the liberal viewpoint person a topic and we would both write on the same one.

Now that this column is more my own, I have tried to address issues by explaining why most stereotypical conservatives feel the ways they do while incorporating my own opinions, since there are a lot of stigmas attached to the Republican label on this campus, at least in my opinion.

Personally, I do not call myself a Republican. However, I do vote in the Republican primary. I tend to support Republican candidates a little strongly. I prefer elephants to donkeys. I guess red is a prettier color than blue? My point is, not all Conservative people are Republicans.

I do not care for the two party system, but it has become a necessary evil in how democracy functions; as we can see from the past, third parties with large followings usually split the vote and cause minority party presidents to get elected (i.e. Woodrow Wilson, sorry buddy).

I am so defensive of my conservative ideology because I realize how many students on this campus see Conservatives. I may be generalizing, but I think when students (especially someone from a large city like Chicago or Portland) hears the word conservative, they think of either a rich politician in a mansion on a hill in Tennessee, or of people who walk around wearing camouflage hats and plaid shirts talking about how much they love their guns.

As you probably already realize, I’ve been openly criticized for what I write in this column both privately and publicly, and I’m not complaining about how that might make me feel, but I’m just saying sometimes I automatically roll out with my guns blazing. Don’t take that personally. There’s a reason why the two things you aren’t supposed to talk about at family gatherings are politics and religion.

My goal is neither to offend you nor please you; it is simply to give you another perspective while maintaining the image of the people I am standing for, so to speak. In other words, I am so defensive because I know what the stereotypes of people like me are and I want to give credit to how people feel about their own personal ideologies without discrediting the opposite side.

I want people to pick up this newspaper and read my column without automatically being biased and prone to being offended simply because it bears the label Conservative, which I have a feeling is what happens. But that is why I do not use the label of Republican, because that would imply that I stand for what the Republican Party stands for as a whole, and I certainly do not. Conservative, in my opinion, is more of a loose label, and I hope that answered your question.

Shannon Caveny

Tags:  Conservatism criticism ideology primary Republican two-party system

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  • Nick

    You are a registered Republican voter who votes in the primaries. You may not agree with all policies they hold, but you are a member of the party Based upon your voter registration. Not agreeing with every single policy does not exclude you from a party, and it is expected that members will have differing opinions. That is why the primaries exist.

    You are ideologically conservative. You are also a registered Republican. These are not mutually exclusive. Accept that your current affiliations give you the title of Republican.

    As for third parties splitting the vote, this is not a necessary evil of democratic rule. It is a result of the current voting method we have in place. Many European countries have sizeable third party representation that does not cause a split in the vote. There is no reason America can not have this.



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