I looked around me as the National Millennial Community members sat down for the first meeting of the trip. We were so excited to visit NBC Chicago! As a third-year public relations student at the University of Florida, my classes often overlap with the journalism courses. Because of the crossover, I was ready to give my opinion and participate in a discussion about current news and how millennials perceive it. Much of the discussion focused around ‘fake news’ and which news stations we trusted and watched.
As we went around the room, I found I was the only community member who said I watch, and trust, Fox News. As other National Millennial Community members said they put their trust in CNN (more left-leaning), I felt I was the only one on the other side of the spectrum. In this era, I feel that as a millennial, it’s a death sentence to be a right-leaning thinker. Voicing a conservative opinion in this progressive day can be extremely difficult. Because I define myself as a ‘millennial republican,’ I feel sometimes as if my opinions are invalidated and misrepresented; as I did in this meeting.
Being a millennial republican, to me, includes being fiscally-conservative, but still believing in equality and things like gay marriage. I believe in strict immigration laws, but I also agree that women should have the right to choose. I left the conference with a fear that the republican party is on its way to being extinct.
The night after the conference ended, I received an email from another member; one that probably was the most harsh toward Fox News in the meeting. In his email, he stated he was proud that I voiced my opinion, even if I was the odd one out. He thought that it must’ve felt terrifying to be a right-leaning millennial in a room full of left-leaning people. He commended me for my bravery, and I thanked him for his sincerity and respect toward me and my opinions.
It's vital to share our thoughts, although clearly polarized, in order to change the conversation surrounding millennials. Being a republican is not a death sentence. Being a republican is just another opinion! This experience opened my eyes up to a long-standing fact: Sharing a different point of view is essential to growth and development.