Local View: Embattled young Republicans poised for gathering in D.C.
With a steadily rising young generation of self-proclaimed social-justice warriors, third-wave feminists, and a merely divisive Black Lives Matter movement, there are no two ways about it that left-leaning college students dominate university populations across the nation. Poll after poll had Democrats holding a promising lead prior to Nov. 8, with Hillary Clinton comfortably clinching over 50 percent of the millennial vote come Election Day.
So it's not difficult to envision what life must be like for those who identify as college Republicans during this new era of a Trump administration. While many have been hesitant to express their views, others have stood loud and proud alongside their candidate. Regardless of the means by which they choose to articulate their perspectives, the best party on campus is here to stay. According to the College Republican National Committee, there are over 1,800 chapters across state lines, with 250,000 members and thriving.
A wise man once said, "Be the change you wish to see in this world." Certainly there have been an abundance of negative attitudes in response to our 45th president, Donald J. Trump, starting with the moment he announced his candidacy in June 2015. Many Americans have taken to social media to express their opinions throughout the past election cycle, and it only continues as we move forward with the new administration.
While some may choose to go about change by means of abject Facebook posts and destructive protests, college Republicans across the country are just one week away from partaking in the largest annual conference for conservative activists.
The Conservative Political Action Conference, widely known as CPAC, is undoubtedly the most joyous and influential time of year for conservatives. CPAC takes place annually near the nation's Capitol with more than 11,000 attendees. Last year's turnout set a new record.
The conference attracts some of the most patriotic Americans in the United States, bringing together Republicans, conservatives, and Libertarians of all ages and backgrounds to embrace the values and future of the GOP. The three-day event consists of activist training, top party leaders and the biggest names in politics, future presidential prospects, networking and career opportunities, and an environment for like-minded individuals to discuss and debate over how best to move the country forward.
This is a unique experience for young millennials because they indeed are the future. It gives them a chance to overcome their differences, expand their horizons, further their education, and bring about the change they desire to see in the world.
Although many will continue to draw ridicule from both sides of the political spectrum throughout Trump's presidency and beyond, it's important to recognize that freedom of opinion and diversity of thought are part of what make America so exceptional. Be poised, be eager for knowledge, and always be persistent in pursuing the change you aspire to be.
Kesley Arhart is a third-year communication sciences and disorders student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a member of the UMD College Republicans. In 2016, she was active with the Conservative Political Action Conference, the GOP state convention in Duluth and the congressional campaign of Republican Stewart Mills.