What I learned as a conservative living in one of the most liberal cities in America.

Conservatives, I urge you to not be afraid to be a voice. Liberals, I urge you to encourage that dialogue. Let’s make ALL Minnesotans feel welcome in this blue city.

Alyssa Ahlgren

My opinion doesn’t matter. That’s one big thing I’ve learned living in this solid blue Twin Cities area (and in all of 21stcentury America in general). I’m white and grew up in a middle-class family therefore I have unearned privilege that was given to me off the backs of minorities. At least I’m female, that gives me one leg up on white males. Regardless, I’m ranked near dead last on the intersectional totem pole. When it comes to politics, life, experiences, current events, and every issue in the book I have only a biased view that is unacceptable to be voiced or taken seriously.

When people in a bar, at a restaurant, at work, in line for coffee, at the gym, or any other public place make a snide remark about how our president and the rest of the conservatives in this country are racist, sexist, homophobic, and bigoted, I must stay quiet. I have to stay quiet because my very existence is viewed as a symbol of hate. I stay quiet as what I believe in is openly and mercilessly attacked. I stay quiet because I know this isn’t a fight I can win. I can’t win because nothing I say will actually be heard. My stance will immediately be labeled as bigoted before I can even get my point across. My opinions will be attributed to malice rather than good intentions. My positions will be deemed inexcusable to hold.

I’m constantly surrounded by people who are free to discuss their liberal viewpoint in the assumption (which is mostly correct) that everyone in the room agrees with them. The freedom to share their enthusiasm for democratic candidates knowing full well the media and the narrative of this country is behind them. The freedom to proudly slap on that Bernie 2020 sticker on the bumper of their Toyota Prius without fear that someone will key their car, to wear a “Resist” t-shirt and get nothing but high-fives, and to never have to justify your stance because it’s considered “morally right”.

I’ve been called many degrading words and silenced in the name of “tolerance”. My support for the 2nd Amendment, individual liberty, religious freedom, lives of the unborn, and what the flag represents is viewed as alt-right and repressive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What I, and so many others like me believe is that we are all innately valuable, created and loved by God; we are all entitled to the fruits of our labor, to live freely and enjoy our unalienable rights given to us by our Creator not by government; we are all blessed to live in a country that has brought the most freedom and prosperity to the most people around the world than any other nation in the history of mankind; we are all permitted to have our own opinions that we can openly express without violence or demeaning retaliation. I am a conservative. I do not despise those who disagree with me or think they are evil. I do not represent hate. I represent half of our wonderfully diverse country and to deny that is the true intolerance that separates us.

To the city in which I live, we are a community that has an opportunity to learn from each other. True progress is recognizing that race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status does not matter in the expression of ideas. Opening our hearts and minds means listening to opposition not silencing them. Conservatives, I urge you to not be afraid to be a voice. Liberals, I urge you to encourage that dialogue. Let’s make ALL Minnesotans feel welcome in this blue city.