Abigail Marone is a junior majoring in political science and the former director of political affairs for the GW College Republicans.
Imagine harassing a retired congressman, writing an opinion piece about how ignorant, politically illiterate and hateful Republicans are, and then having the nerve to call yourself an empathetic person. This is the textbook definition of cognitive dissonance and it’s on full display in this column by Naseem Othman.
Besides being off-color and incorrect, the opinion piece written by Othman reflects a larger problem with liberals on GW’s campus – they demand conservatives change their mind on issues, yet they refuse to engage in any sort of dialogue. It’s time they change their behavior.
The Jason Chaffetz event, which occurred last month, was open to the entire student body and Chaffetz answered every single question students asked after the event. Othman was welcome to attend and ask as many questions as he liked, but did not attend.
Othman berated a retired congressman and then bragged about it. Rather than trying to figure out why Jason Chaffetz – and other conservatives at GW – hold the beliefs they do, Othman was satisfied with writing an opinion piece about the evils of conservatism. One has to wonder if he really cares about outcomes, or if he’s simply concerned with self-aggrandizement.
As a Trump-voting conservative who has served on the board of the GW College Republicans for the past two years, I have many issues with the characterization of conservatives in the previous article. Othman claims that students can see the effects of conservative policies by looking at the reduction of local social programs and the high homeless population in D.C. But it is clear that he did not do much research before writing his column.
Washington, D.C. is run by Democrats. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been in office since 2015, is a staunch Democrat, as is her predecessor and his predecessor. D.C. has had Democratic mayors as far back as 1975. The majority of D.C.’s policymakers are Democrats. If a political party is to blame for D.C’s failed policies, it is not Republicans. If Othman thinks D.C. is a good example of government failure, maybe he should consider joining the College Republicans.
Next, he criticizes conservative students for “aiding the select few who hoard wealth by supporting extreme conservative beliefs.” If we want to point fingers at wealthy politicians and elites, there are plenty to look to in the Democratic party. For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the grandpa of modern socialism, has three houses.
What I am unsure of is the bigger question of “extreme conservative beliefs” that Otham references in his column. One extreme belief could be that conservatives want individuals to keep more of the money that they earn. Thanks to President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan, 4,000,000 Americans and counting have received bonuses and more are seeing increases in their take-home pay. Yes, wealthy individuals will benefit from tax reform – but so does everyone else who pays taxes. Othman claims conservative policies are selfish, but there is nothing selfish about letting people keep their own money.
Othman doesn’t want his article to be characterized as conservative marginalization on college campuses. The definition of marginalization is the treatment of a person, group or concept as insignificant or peripheral. An article demanding that conservatives change their beliefs and fall in line with the liberal agenda is a great example of treating a group as insignificant.
The most egregious part of Othman’s article is not his incorrect claims about D.C. policy or his vague accusations of extreme conservative policy, but rather his demand that conservatives attend meetings of liberal student organizations.
No one wants to walk into a room full of people who hate them – Republicans are not an exception. If Othman thinks conservatives will gladly attend liberal meetings where he is present after he published an op-ed calling them ignorant and selfish while simultaneously refusing to have a conversation about policy disagreements, he should think again.
On the other hand, I am always open to having an honest discourse about my beliefs. Othman, if you would care to grab coffee and talk to someone with different opinions rather than calling us names over the Internet, I’m always free.