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Seeing Red: Distancing Myself from the Republican Party

Myself at the 2017 Inauguration 

Red is my favorite color. In high school, everything was red—my prom dress was red, I used exclusively red pens as an Editor-in-Chief, and my politics were red. My introduction to Republican initiatives started young and passionately. My father was the Chairman of California Republican Party during the Reagan presidency, and my Cuban mother fled a Communist dictator preaching a socialist doctrine. I had no choice but to be born into conservatism, both a blessing and a curse. 

Not too long ago, you could find me battling in support of pro-life, pro-guns, pro-limited government ideal, and so on. I did not subscribe to every conservative ideal, but enough to call myself a Republican. I loved being the only conservative in my very liberal Youth & Government program. I loved going to Republican events with my father and having them tell me I had a real head on my shoulders, “compared to other kids your age.” I loved being the only high school student to intern for the Republican National Committee at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Being so entrenched in conservative culture made me politically active, which I am thankful for.

Like many other Republicans, my disassociation with the GOP commenced with the rise of Donald Trump. When he was first elected, I was bothered, but not necessarily as upset as my fellow Californians. I vehemently disagreed with his treatment of women and people of color, but I was still not fully uncomfortable enough to completely reject him, moreover wholly denounce Republicanism. I fell into a complacent middle ground. 

My defining moment of consciousness came in January 2017, a week where I did not have school. I wanted to spend my time as a part of something historic. So I applied and received a ticket from Senator Kamala Harris’s office to attend Trump’s inauguration. 

A family friend and myself at ‘Black Ties and Boots,’ a famous bipartisan inaugural ball

I clammed up when I saw all the red hats on the grounds of the Capitol. I felt beyond uncomfortable. I forgot how many people supported him. Beyond the stereotypical Trump supporter (a WASP male), I saw so many women, children, and people of color sporting the “MAGA” hat. It was incredulous—I wanted to grab the woman next to me and just scream at her, “why do you promote someone who grabs women ‘by the pussy’?” But there was nothing I could say in that sea of red because I was there too. I didn’t realize how much I disagree with Trump supporters until I was in such close proximity with them. I thought because I wasn’t advocating for him, I was not part of the problem; how foolish. After the event, I went straight home. 

Don’t get me wrong, the experience itself was wonderful. The people were nice, I stood in the presence of political figures I had read about in textbooks, and I witnessed a ceremony dedicated to the peaceful, symbolic transition of power with all branches of government in unity (which I will be grateful for in American politics, today and any day). But after that ceremony, I stopped identifying as a Republican and my former unwavering faith in conservatism was shattered. 

I do not know exactly where my politics stand today. But that is what life is about—growing into who you are meant to be. My disassociation with the Republican party nearly ruined politics for me (I was so wrong about so much!), but I know I can’t lose my passion for politics just because I made a mistake. After all, red is not the only beautiful color. 

In summary:

 

Sources: https://media.giphy.com/media/l2JhJTOnLk1aX4gG4/giphy.gif

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