Republicans hope to inform, gain membership

By Gus Bode

organization to have meeting Nov. 5

Factoid:For more information contact President Amy Spomer at [email protected]

If the typical college student is not currently a Republican, the late

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Winston Churchill would not have been surprised.

“If you were not a liberal when you were young, I would say you have no heart,” reads a famous quote by the British politician.

However, the quote continues by expressing an equal amount of concern for those who do not grow into conservatism.

“If you do not become a conservative when you get older, I would say you have no brain.”

SIUC graduate student Bethanie Morrissey would not go so far as to question the intellect of those who do not agree with the Republican way of thinking. But the vice president of College Republicans does use the words of Churchill when explaining why she believes many college students tend to agree with the democratic way of thinking.

Morrissey is one of approximately 20 members of the College Republicans, a Registered Student Organization that meets the first Tuesday of every month. Though the group does not have any specific events on its agenda for this semester, there are several potential speakers for the spring semester.

According to Morrissey, the College Republicans refer to themselves as a “brand new” organization because there was no turnover from last year and all the current members are new.

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Though not a big organization, she said the group does have a large understanding of the sense of realism one must come to grasp in society.

“When you are young, you’re very sensitive,” said Morrissey, an undeclared graduate student from Charlotte, Mich., who said that early in her college career, she was more liberal than conservative. “When you get older, you become more realistic; you start to look more closely at things.”

Morrissey said the transition occurred for her when she “stopped listening to others talk about Republicans” and actually started listening to them for herself.

She said it was at this point she began to change her views.

When you are younger, you think “‘why can’t we just give everybody a new house?’ But as you get older, you start to think, ‘how would we pay for it?'”

According to Morrissey, being more conservative is not the result of a lack of compassion as some see it. But instead, a better sense when it comes to understanding many societal issues cannot soon be solved in the near future but merely improved upon.

“They [Democrats] tend to think of us as strict or mean,” Morrissey said. “[Republicans] tend to think of them as nave.”

While some attribute the tendency of college-aged students to lean to the left to the typical youth and sensitivity, faculty advisor Jonathon Bean, a professor in the History Department, said a lack of exposure is also partially responsible.

At a University where the faculty is overwhelmingly liberal, Bean said many conservative students have difficulty finding role models in their professors. He said this lack of exposure is in part to blame for certain stereotypes that still exist about the Republican Party, such as the myth all members are wealthy and agree on all conservative issues. With nearly half of Americans falling under the categories of Republican and Libertarian, Bean said conservatives make up a large part of the population and therefore possess a wide variety of opinions.

In looking at history, Bean said he has noted times when the college population resembled the current political status of the United States, such as the during the ’60s and the Reagan era. Whether they agree completely or partially with the “right” way of thinking, Bean encourages students to attend meetings for the group or any organization they identify with.

“This is the point in their [students] lives where they have more time than later to think about political issues,” said Bean, who is the adviser to both the College Republicans and College Libertarians. “This is the time when people form beliefs that last a lifetime, and these beliefs should be informed.”

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