posted 2011-02-09 13:30:36

Politically Incorrect

Obama remains idealistic. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais /AP Photo)
Obama remains idealistic. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais /AP Photo)
Politically Incorrect

Caitlin Ramiro

Staff Writer

As a conservative American living in a liberal era, I find myself constantly in the minority in terms of what I believe. Politics, especially, tends to create an awkward situation around most people. Imagine sitting in an auditorium each day surrounded by hundreds of people who constantly contradict every belief about which you feel so adamantly.

I tend, with a few exceptions, to lean towards the left. I am an active Roman Catholic, and I come from a traditional Filipino family. My culture and my faith definitely play into where I stand on political issues. With that said, sometimes I do feel isolated from those around me. Politics will forever trigger personal emotions; you can’t tamper with the subject of, let’s say, abortion or gay rights without placing your own personal beliefs and experiences into the conversation.

As soon as the topic of health care comes up, I suddenly feel detached from an overwhelming amount of my peers. Just the mention of abortion can cause a divide even within my closest group of friends. When such sensitive subjects do come up, I try to be respectful and maintain a calm tone; nonetheless, I usually receive condescending glances and defensive responses from those around me.

Discussions regarding Obama’s presidency, for example, also create unnecessary tension almost immediately. I suppose this is typical; after all, politics is personal. That doesn’t make it less alienating, however, when surrounded by people who think so opposite from me.

During the recent 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama offered a five-year freeze on domestic spending. I may not be an avid Fox News fan, but I am also not a huge supporter of President Obama’s financial decisions. The freeze is said to save $400 billion in spending, yet the plan only eliminates a small portion of our government’s costs. The majority of Obama’s policies remain in effect and will only continue to increase the nation’s debt; a small freeze will not suffice.

We all want affordable education, especially for low-income students, but how can we pay for the necessary credits to graduate when we can't even afford a MetroCard or opt into the classes we need? In my opinion, spending more money will only increase our nation’s deficit. And Obama’s five-year freeze plan only reaffirms the fact that our nation cannot afford reckless spending.

I do admire Obama for his intellect and his incredible public speaking skills; nevertheless, his aims remain idealistic. The president continues to create hopes with his charisma and eloquent speech, but I think we need more than reassurance at this point; his goals appear unlikely to come to fruition with his current policies. His State of the Union Address, for starters, could have stated some more concrete goals. I remember discussing this particular topic with a friend two years ago at the time of the President’s inauguration. She responded defensively, “Then what do you propose he do?”

Truthfully, even as an extremely conservative American I want to see Obama succeed, but I think he needs a different approach to his economic plans. Although he offers a seemingly “perfect” proposal, as a fiscal conservative myself, I think we need to tend to our nation’s deficit first and foremost before we can make any progress. We need to trim even more of our spending. Students can only excel in school if they can actually afford to pay for the proper education.

Preserving conservative beliefs amongst your predominately liberal peers can be daunting and oftentimes overwhelming, but I say, “Let’s go.” I have found that my beliefs — religious and political — tie into the person I am, and who I am is nothing to be ashamed of. I am a left-leaning college student, but I don’t mind sharing insightful political discussions in a respectful manner with my contrasting liberal peers.