Before I begin this column, let me warn you: a bad word will be used repeatedly throughout this writing. It's unavoidable, and for all you impressionable youths, I apologize that I must expose you to it. So here we go; I am going to get it out of the way: Republican.
So maybe it isn't the expletive you expected, but these days, any time the word is uttered, it seems to be in a negative context. Traditionally, institutes of higher learning are more to the left of center, watersheds for the liberal ideals of America.
In fact, it could be said they are really institutes of higher liberal learning. As of late, being a Republican at CSU (outside of the Ag department) is like wearing a scarlet letter on your chest; if you utter a pro-Republican statement in a lecture hall, you are likely to get booed out of the room, and have paper thrown at you as you exit through the back door.
The reason for this is that the term Republican has become synonymous with war, militant Christians like those at Focus on the Family, and intolerance. For some Republicans, that is exactly what the term represents, but for the rest of us non-fanatical members of the GOP, the term is far less definitive.
I am part of a new generation of the party; a segment that many college Republicans make up: the moderates. Our generation is probably the most tolerant in American history, and the youth of the Republican Party reflect those same ideals. Sure, there are still many who are still following their father's old mantras of exclusivity, but overall, tolerance is a word that is being used often, by yes, Republicans.
Hard to believe? You better get used to it-we young Republicans are becoming pretty liberal.
Not only is acceptance a key word in our dictionary, so is peace. War, in general, is not something we support. Sending our fellow Americans to the front lines is not a pleasant idea for anyone to stomach, and believe it or not, the Republican Party-moderate or not-does not light a victory cigar every time another one of our heroes in Iraq loses their life for our country. We mourn their deaths along with the rest of the nation; grief is certainly not a partisan emotion.
Yet, our troops knew what they were signing up for, and I know any one of them would rather parish in Iraq than have their families and friends lose their lives on American soil. I could not be more thankful for their sacrifice, a sacrifice that is a sad necessity in the current global environment.
Although George W. Bush is the current leader of our party, he does not personify what it means to be a Republican– not to me, and not to many of my fellow moderates. His beliefs on how our society should run, from social programs, minority rights and the involvement of religion in our schools and government just are not the same beliefs I hold dear.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my central point. The youth of the Republican Party are not the same as those who currently head the GOP. I may agree with some of their platforms-especially those involving economics-but that does not mean I agree with everything they say.
Because I believe in capitalism and defending our nation, I consider myself a Republican, but that does not mean I feel women should not have the right to choose, or that every classroom should have a Bible as required text.
As our party transforms with new ideas from our generation, my hope is Republican students will one day be able to state their political affiliation, without the assumption that they are a rich, bigoted right-wing Christian. Soon, I hope that stereotype will include much worthier descriptions; descriptions that personify my beliefs, and those of the young GOP.
Jake Blumberg is a sophomore technical journalism and political science double major. His column runs every Monday.