Home Opinion OPINION: Republicans Report — Reflections on political gatekeeping and redefining conservatism

OPINION: Republicans Report — Reflections on political gatekeeping and redefining conservatism

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Aaron Reining is a senior double majoring in history and political science. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not present the thoughts of the Ohio University College Republicans.

This is a submitted column, and please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political. 

We live in a society where liberalism has come to dominate most media that are the gatekeepers of culture and academia. As a result, the word conservative has become taboo in many communities and discourses. 

Long gone are the decades of status quo conservatism. Much has changed since the movement evolved out of the yuppie craze seen in the dotcom boom during the 1990s. Contemporaneously, the status quo has recently drifted away from the neo-conservative hold witnessed in the aftermath of 9/11 and today modern conservatism is more bold and independent today than ever before. 

How do Americans view conservatism now in the era of President Donald Trump? Nevermind what The New York Times or CNN thinks, after all, many of these commentators have long abetted corruption and boldfaced deceit on both sides of the political aisle.

Most news outlets today come off as ideological yammering talking heads who are more interested in waging a war on diverging truths than simply presenting facts or relevant information. This inhibits the average American from understanding or gaining an advantage in their lives that they would get from digesting an informed and well-presented outlook. 

Today, the 24-hour news cycle has entrenched America in a dramatic theater of thrilling polarization and misinformation.

Rather than allowing outsiders to define who we are as conservatives in 2019, it’s time conservatives stood up in their professions and day to day lives against those who would otherwise slander and besmirch their outlooks and ideas. 

It’s important to note, however, that the term conservative is encompassing a broad swath of coalitions, and this grand alliance is by no means homogeneous, nor should it be. 

Homogeneity in politics more often than not ends up creating a centralized and unresponsive grip on power by increasingly out of touch elites who have easier access to positions of power and influence than those on the periphery of society who learn and live with the current times.

If you have ever watched Fox News, the names Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson might have a familiar ring or connotation. Though they work on the same network and are encompassed within conservative thought, their differences and attitudes towards change are more divergent than it would seem. 

Hannity, a representative of the old guard baby boomer moral majority uses his program to harken the sentiment of President George W. Bush’s era of neo-conservatism. Carlson, on the other hand, has rebranded himself into a Trump-era populist and is often at arms against establishment Republicans and Democrats in the same breath.

The overall takeaway message has already been said best by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who, in my opinion, is the most viable future figure of the Republican movement in America. In 2016, the former candidate for president said, “I tell people the Bill of Rights isn’t for the high school quarterback or the prom queen, the Bill of Rights is for those who are unpopular.” 

Paul continued, “If we want a big party, then the party has to look like the rest of America, and that means with earrings, without earrings. With tattoos, without tattoos. With ponytails, without ponytails.”

The Republican Party and the conservative movement has a lot to gain from courting and welcoming in the ‘freaks and geeks’ who live in the periphery of society.

Long gone are the days in which our movement has been colloquially considered a rich white man’s party. Consider your own role in political discourse. Before accusing an ideological adversary of heinous beliefs and equivocations to Hitler or Stalin, reflect rather on who they are and what they are saying, not just what you want to believe they are saying. 

We are all Americans, and whether we like it or not, we must live together. Liberals love the phrase coexist and many conservatives would love to see that philosophy be put in action in the age of outrage and cancel culture seen today. 

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