I never thought this day would come – my last article. My last attempt to ruffle some feathers, to get some hate mail, to ensure Thefacebook gets used.

I had to think hard about what I wanted to write and decided to take a cue from the April Fools edition of last year and write a manifesto. Just to distill some of the kernels of wisdom I’ve picked up wandering these halls these past four years as a conservative.

To all conservatives out there – you know who you are – I’d just say, “be proud.” On a campus like this, it is so easy to simply go with the flow and deny who you are.

If you’re a conservative or a Republican, your most likely response to any political discussion is either to grind your teeth or to try and change the topic.

My advice – don’t.

Stand up for what you believe in. As I wrote a few weeks ago, it helps you develop the skills you need to defend your positions – and helps your liberal friends. Plus, I figure most of your ideas would probably be correct – so defend them. Don’t simply let your friends score points because they believe all that is just and right in the world is on their side. You have a chance to expand their minds by giving them alternative views, other ideas and different facts.

To those liberals out there, I would say, “be open.” Don’t close your minds to the fact that, whether or not you like it, we conservatives are a good-sized number. I know you’re all big on tolerance – but many of us feel you tolerate us like we tolerate diseases – something to be quickly found and crushed. When you have that attitude, your definition of tolerance appears to be “you have the right to agree with my opinions.”

So, don’t do things like say I should be shot when I’m at the library and am simply trying to check out a book. Don’t start a hate group because you’re too lazy to go through the hard work of actually arguing your position with someone. Don’t just laugh along when the teacher makes another joke about President George W. Bush – try to imagine the shoe on the other foot.

To my conservatives, I want to give you this other pearl of wisdom – don’t get depressed or down about being where you are.

As you stand up and fight for what you believe in, you’ll be made fun of, told you’re somehow hate-filled and any odd number of things that would seriously inhibit your desire to speak out. Remember reality. Remember that this campus is simply a bubble. As much as we get all excited about issues, college is really just a small bubble where we’re isolated from reality.

If you need a breather, go out and find a local rally to attend. Remember that you’re not as alone as you think. This campus might be overwhelmingly against you, but that doesn’t mean the country is.

And I would pass that same advice onto my liberal friends as well.

I’m sure college, in many ways, seems like a nice warm blanket of agreement, but that’s not reality.

I think the election was such a shock to so many because everyone expected the rest of the country to be like UR. I hate to break it to you, but not everyone is reading Susan Sontag’s pieces while watching Michael Moore’s greatest blockbusters. You’re doing yourself a disservice if in all your debates you don’t acknowledge the fact that those conservatives who seem so minor and silly on this campus actually represent a good number of the electorate. You might end up treating them with more respect.

So, I’d suggest that as you expand your mind to new cultures, new religions, etc, you also expand your mind to new viewpoints as well.

You need not agree with us. Just realize a disagreement with someone doesn’t mean the other is living in sin and unworthy of respect.

But, I will end with a call to my conservatives.

Just keep up the good fight – it seems hard, but you’ll be better people because of the effort, and help those around you if you truly express your views.

So, I hope one of you feels led to take my place and continue to give just a small conservative voice to this campus.

And just remember, to think right is “Right Thinking.”

Clemm can be reached at rclemm@campustimes.org.

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