Growing up in a conservative household on Long Island, I was taught conservative values that I carry with me as I begin my junior year in college.
Did this mean my parents forced me to register as a Republican? Absolutely not. I am a millennial from New York who is surrounded by people with different viewpoints and cultures. I am constantly exposed to different ideologies, but in the end, I must follow what I believe in — and I believe I can be proud to be a millennial Republican.
I am a Latina from Long Island who is pro-life, pro-same-sex marriage, pro-economic freedom, pro-free speech, pro-Second Amendment, pro-religious freedom and pro-legal immigration.
When Barack Obama won his first term as president, I was in sixth grade at Lynbrook North Middle School. Any political tension then never crossed my mind.
Halfway through Lynbrook Senior High School, during Obama’s re-election campaign, I began to see events through the prism of my own values. During discussions in social studies class, I experienced tension between myself and classmates because of my views, but I could not grasp the concept of shunning someone because of his or her beliefs. From that point, I resolved to always stick to my values, even if others didn’t agree.
Last year, as a millennial Republican attending college in New York during one of the most controversial presidential elections in history, I was called racist, misogynist, greedy — and, my personal favorite, a fraud — by some of my peers.
People unfriended me on social media, told me that my opinion didn’t matter because they assumed that because my skin is white, I had not faced any hardship, and that as a Donald Trump voter, I was the reason for the chaos in this country. Despite all of the negativity on both sides of the political spectrum, I would not be bullied into changing who I am.
I watched the people of this great country elect Trump. I realize that his behavior is unconventional, but I don’t need to agree with him or any president on every issue. I am thankful that I live in a free country that is for the people and by the people. I am thankful that each and every one of us can express our beliefs appropriately without fear of prosecution. The political tension in the country isn’t about who is right or wrong anymore. The solution is for us to come together as Americans and start to appreciate the freedoms that we have instead of spewing hate.
I want every millennial to know there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Republican or a Democrat. You are not the cause of all the chaos in the world, you aren’t wrong to have your beliefs, and, most important, you are not a racist, misogynist, bigot or fraud just because people say you are. All that matters is that you are a good person who contributes positively to this society.
Never be ashamed of being you.
Reader Sabrina Rossi lives in Lynbrook.