In 2015, you may have passed me on the streets with dark hair and a shirt that said, “Feel the Bern.” I was 17-years-old and had a passion to change the world. I still do.
But in October 2016, I traded in that t-shirt for one that said “Make America Great Again,” and quickly found myself looking at the past year wondering where I went wrong. How did I think I was doing something so powerful and courageous in a progressive movement that continues to disempower others?
I never thought I’d have an interest in politics. I was going to a special high school program designed for law and legal studies – to be a police officer, not a politician. Nevertheless, I knew how important it was to vote, and I wanted to be educated for the election. I aspired to discover which candidate reflected my values and make sure they ended up in the Oval Office.
In April 2015, Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy. At that time, I wasn’t willing to give the Republican candidates a chance. I was already interacting with the online world of feminism and was convinced the right was the ‘racist, Christian white guy’ who wanted to take away my rights. I paid attention to Senator Sanders and was quickly ‘swept off my feet.’
He spoke of equality and justice and heightened my socially liberal views. I knew there were bad people, bad programs and bad situations. I, however, was not aware of who was the cause of them. I was told that it was the Republicans and from that moment, the left had me wrapped around their finger.
I was a proclaimed feminist who wanted to tear down the patriarchy, close the wage gap, and hate the “white men this country was built on.” I was active on social media and was frequently tweeting out hateful messages to Republican candidates, trying to categorize and protect every minority group in the nation. I had to fight the fight for them, because they didn’t know how to do it themselves. (In retrospect, how racist does that sound?). The white men were the oppressors and I was a victim.
As a student with no intention to attend college until halfway through my senior year, I quickly clung onto Bernie Sanders’ campaign of free education. I was fueled by a constant flow of outrage; every single morning I was making sure I was informed on the latest upholds by the patriarchy and the injustices that came from doing so.
I’m a big music fan. Charlie Puth was my reason for exile from the socialists.
The story surrounding Ke$ha and Dr. Luke was running rapid in the feminist community. In an interview during the same time, Charlie Puth said what was happening to both Dr. Luke and Ke$ha was devastating. It was. But the left only heard that it was devastating to Dr. Luke, and attacked Puth as a rape sympathizer, a misogynist, and against the fight for equality; by listening to his music, I suddenly was too.
I was harassed on Twitter for my opinion and quickly deleted any trace of him off of my account. I couldn’t do anything without the risk of it being critiqued and accused of harming society. I listened to him in secret and when in public would roll my eyes, look disgusted, and turn off the radio.
It was like walking on glass every single day, and I was tired of having bleeding feet.
During my fall 2016 semester as a first-time college student, I used the questioning and confusion I had to volunteer for a Republican campaign. What better way to form opinions yourself than to work on the team? I loved it.
Since my exile, escape, awakening, or whatever you may call it, the left has become nuttier. The tolerant left has been nothing but intolerant. They’ve excused their categorization, racism, and fight against individualism by saying that the conservative movement is the one taking everything away. In reality, the conservative movement is giving power. We’re fighting for school choice. We are fighting to get the government out of your personal life. We are fighting for immigrants to have the chance to come from nothing and become something in the nation founded on freedom.
When I was a Sanders supporter, the ideas and people I wanted to fight against were actually the ones I was fighting side by side with.
Democratic socialism was my cushy, comfortable society where we could all live, (or suffer) equally. When I was on the left, facts were no longer in my mind and trigger warnings were needed to protect us from the truth, not to protect us from harm.
If we were exposed to the truth, we wouldn’t be socialists.