For those who do not know me, I am a conservative, four-year senior and I love Deerfield Academy. I have debated writing this letter for a long time, but the presidential election has prompted me to do so. In this letter, I will address what I believe it means to be a conservative, conservative representation at Deerfield Academy, and how we should, as a community embrace voices and opinions from all across the political spectrum.
This past year has proven to be one of the most politically estranged in our nation’s history. For conservatives, the 2016 Presidential election marks, in my opinion, the collapse of the Republican Party as we know it. It is important to note that there is a distinction between conservatism and “Trumpism.” Conservatives, like myself, generally believe in small government, free markets, and individual liberty. Regardless of the outcome on November 8th, I hope we as a nation can join together as one and patch over the deep divisions in our country.
While many conservatives despise Trump, he will still receive many of their votes for the following reasons. First, conservatives believe that Hillary Clinton is not a trustworthy candidate, and that it is time for a Washington outsider. Second, as president, Trump will place a conservative in the Supreme Court and possibly a second in the coming four years. Third, supporters want a fiscally conservative president who understands how to responsibly address our country’s economic problems. Fourth, Trump is wealthy enough to not rely on special interest groups. Finally, supporters believe he is a patriot and voices what many are feeling, but are often unable to express.
A few weeks ago, Martin Espada jokingly referenced in his poem,“My Cockroach Lover,” a time when he “revealed a Republican National Convention of roaches,” I laughed initially, but my smile disappeared when I pictured Espada making the same joke about the Democratic National Convention. I doubt that such a joke would receive the same laughter if it were directed at our left-leaning community.
Therefore, I was excited to see Nancy Dwight, a Republican strategist, at the school-meeting election panel held a few weeks ago. I was delighted that Deerfield finally brought in a conservative speaker for the sake of hearing both sides of an argument. Doing so reaffirms the Deerfield Academy Mission Statement that promises a “community that embraces diversity” and “prepares students for…a rapidly changing world.”
There are hundreds of conservative students in our school. Some people say we are a “silent majority,” and while I cannot accurately state that we are a majority, there are quite a few of us, and there is a reason we are silent. I, along with many others, feel like there is a pressure put on the students to agree with teachers whose political views are very obvious. I convey the fear of a sophomore girl who felt she would be judged and her grade would be hurt as a result. And, the worries of senior boy who felt that he will be judged simply by his political views rather than who he is as a person. The students mentioned above requested to remain anonymous; further affirmation of the fear many conservative students hold in speaking their minds. This fear is unacceptable at a school that prides itself on diversity of thought.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Deerfield community can evolve to include and respect the views of conservative students. To everyone on campus, I implore you to engage in meaningful discussions regarding politics. It is this free discussion that makes Deerfield a special place. However, I ask that everyone remain calm and keep an open mind; above all, understand that not everyone holds the same viewpoints. There are no “right” answers – there are simply different approaches to solve the same problem. While it may be comfortable to hear the same opinions voiced, the real world will not offer the same safe haven. I hope that Deerfield Academy will continue to embrace our bipartisan community. I hope that my letter does not offend anyone, and I would be pleased to talk with you all about this. I beg that you wait, however, until I have finished my college applications. As of now I have probably spent more time on this letter than on my Common App essay.