Monday, January 03, 2005

The Conservative Latino

Back to School

A few years ago I went back to school to get my master’s degree at the same campus where I had obtained my BA almost thirty years before.

Needless to say, a lot had changed. When I was an undergraduate back in the early 1970s, many of the students were liberal or radical and the faculty members were mainly conservative or at least moderate, with only a few exceptions.

Fast forward to the new century, I found that the inmates had taken over the asylum. Now both the faculty and the student body were primarily liberal.

Walking around the campus was an eye-opening experience for me. The bulletin boards still were filled with the familiar announcements for rock concerts and club meetings or students selling used books or seeking roommates.

But now among the messages for the Young Democrats and Young Republicans were calls for the gathering of gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Other flyers let students know that they could pick up free condoms or get tested for sexually transmitted diseases at the campus health center or inquire about abortion at a local women’s clinic. Not surprisingly, the dorms had gone coed.

I took many of my courses in the liberal arts college, and, unfortunately, it was accurately named. The faculty included a number of openly gay instructors with in-your-face attitudes. The young female professors were all skinny, self-proclaimed feminists with newly acquired doctorates from such bastions of liberalism as the universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In an English research course, the professor gleefully described how she had browbeaten into submission a poor freshman girl who had dared express a conservative thought in one morning class. In another course, the instructor showed the Michael Moore film “Roger and Me” even though the class was supposed to be about novels turned into film.

Surprisingly enough, the most rabid leftists were in the English and not the political science department as I had presumed before I started my course of study. And most of my English classes were more about politics than literature or linguistics.

There were a number of Republican students taking government courses, and I even found a kindred spirit in a political philosophy course – a conservative Latina professor. It was a very refreshing experience taking her class, and she never attempted to belittle, browbeat or humiliate the liberal students in her courses. Liberals are the ones who are intolerant. I ended up taking one of her independent study courses.

I didn’t try to challenge any of my liberal professors, even when I realized how weak and even ridiculous their arguments were. That’s not unusual considering that the left’s opinions generally are based more on emotion than reason or honest analysis. Get into a discussion with a liberal and you’ll find that he or she will be the first to resort to name-calling, particularly if the person is losing the argument.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that, for the most part, I hid my conservatism. I had decided before starting school that I would avoid trying to fight against all the loopy ideas that floated about in the classroom and on campus. There were just too many liberals. Besides, I just didn’t have the energy. After working all day, it was tough enough just staying awake in class.

Most people assumed that I was a liberal or at least a Democrat anyway, because I am Latino. But every now and then my true colors would come out, and I knew I had exposed myself. I could tell by the look in a professor’s eyes that he or she had found me out. From that moment on I would be viewed with suspicious and even disdain.

I can’t prove it, of course, but the only two B’s I got in my program were from two professors who had found me out.

(More about my great adventures in graduate school in my next posting.)