So, my 1st year of college is winding down, I'm basically done with the important finals and it's time to go home for the summer... wait, no it isn't, I'm staying here for the summer to work, hang out on the lake, and maye spend some more time with certain people who have expressed interest in spending more time with me. Let's see how that goes :)
Now, obviously I'm a conservative from a deep red small town that is going to school at a premier university in a liberal state capital. So as steve51 put it, I am on the "front line" of liberalism. I have a few observations.
First, liberals are a lot like me. They are wisconsinites, they are badger and packer fans, and for the most part they don't care and I don't care what our politics are. OK yeah we have had the late night arguments that are stereotypical in college but there's a sense of Community here (and not just when we are watching Community in the den). I like being a part of it because it means that I am not just defined by my politics, anymore than I am defined by my hobbies or my sportsmanship or, my hair, or whatever.
Second, I always win arguments. Always. I think this is bad for me. The truth is that most liberals here argue out of conventional wisdom but I am simply more informed than they are. So I can hold my own. But winning in these conditions is like playing golf without your handicap - it means I can't hold an argument or win against someone who is really prepped. I guess it's good that I don't really have to do that :) I will say that if I do come across someone who is better prepared than me and is winning, I intend to come here to RS and post and get some help.
I don't really see any introductionation here of liberal values. I mean, its like a shared belief system, why would teachers bother to try and "program" students with what they already believe? For the most part my teachers have all been super professional. In my anthro class I was not expecting the prof to teach evolution obviously. But I note that the prof did discuss creation myths among people and cultures and treated them with respect. he never ever said that something was silly. And to my pleasant surprise he was SUPER respectful of Christianity and during the early part of the year when we were learning about hominid evolution, he took pains to make sure that he did not insult the views of the creationist sitting in the front row. (ok thats a lie. I dont sit in front row. I sit in second row, or wherever my friends are sitting :) I got the sorta impression he was a symbolic creationist (each "day" in the bible being an epoch, etc) but he never said it aloud.
Basically, the teachers have material they need to get us through and they want to make sure we learn it. I don't think they cared if we really believed it or not.
Of course there was chem and physics and math and blah blah blah all of which are thankfully pretty empty of any values one way or the other. I confess these aren't my strong suits and to be honest I wish I hadnt done the AP because its been a struggle. I could have used the intro courses better. Still, I registered as a sophomore thanks to AP so I shouldn't complain.
As far as a conservative community goes though, I was really disappointed. I don't know if there are any conservative professors at UW Madison or not, but the students were more interested in re-enacting the election than in discussing where we go from here. A lot of them read RedState and so I hope some of them comment here (but guys, please don't use my real name.) But there isn't a lot of interest in persuading other students or explaining our values - they just want to be at war all the time. They are all convinced we need to impeach Obama, etc right away and they don't care what that would look like to the public or how that might have negative impact on 2014.
A lot of the conservatives here who are politically active on campus are from out of state, mostly Illinois and Michigan, which is odd. The conservatives I know from my home town who go here, most of whom I barely ever see even though I thought I'd be hanging out with them all the time, are basically totally not interested in political activism. I guess I might be the only native wisconsinite conservative who seems to care enough to get involved, and I'm getting pretty disillusioned, so I guess they are smarter than I am :)
so anyway it is kind of lonely if you define yourself by politics. But this is college and most of my friends, who are liberal, dont do that. And they actually respect me for thinking differently, which is a pleasant surprise. In the end, it doesn't matter how you vote if you want to learn how to sail this summer on the lake :)
I guess I am an optimist. I would not want to disenfranchise any of my friends from the political process (and again remember, Walker would not have won re election in the recall if he didnt have support from Obama voters!). I do trust my generation to discuss the issues and to vote with their conscience, even if I disagree. The challenge for me to is to persuade them and appeal to that conscience. Thats how we will win.
man it's gonna be an awesome summer. :)