Despite Promoting Tolerance, Many Moco Liberals Refuse to Respect Opposing Viewpoints

Michael Pankowski, Opinion Managing Editor

Most left-leaning students at RHS may be shocked to find that there are indeed Republicans that live in their progressive stronghold of Montgomery County. These outcasts are hard to spot, though, because they oftentimes are too intimidated to voice their opinions here in enemy territory.
Many Republican students at RHS choose to keep their political views a secret in order to avoid immense criticism that often includes labels such as “bigot,” while also making sure to throw in a few audacious parallels to Nazism here and there. In a county where only 20.3 percent of voters cast ballots for Republican Donald Trump in the recent 2016 presidential election, there are not many students here in Moco to defend a Republican who dares to voice his or her own political opinion.
It is time for Republicans to feel free to voice their opinions without getting bombarded with baseless, offensive insults. It is time for all students to realize that this county has two major parties, just like everywhere else in America, and it cannot be its own little Democratic safehaven for the belittlement of its (nationally politically dominant) opposition.
In the liberal breeding ground that is Montgomery County, it is obvious that conversation sways to the side of the home team. However, when the minority party does not feel comfortable offering their perspective for fear of being called a damning name ending in “ist” or “obe,” there is a free-speech problem.
Sophomore Republican Ryan Kelly said he has firsthand experience with being unfairly and viciously labeled for voicing his right-leaning views.
“Whenever immigration comes up and I say that illegal immigrants are problematic to our country because they compete with both naturally-born American citizens and legal immigrants for jobs, I get called racist because I apparently “hate hispanics and all other immigrants,a��” Kelly said. “When I try to explain that I like legal immigration but not illegal immigration, people refuse to listen and just continue to conclude that I’m a racist.”
While this hasty generalization thrust onto Kelly was entirely unfair, this type of dialogue is all-too-common when the two major parties clash in our county. This baseless rhetoric does nothing more than bring the conversation to a screeching halt, disallowing civil discourse to thrive and effectively whiting-out the formerly revered First Amendment and all it stands for.
It is quite hypocritical for liberals to preach tolerance for others, yet tear down those who simply do not agree with them. Do you truly believe that every straight white dude donning a “Make America Great Again (MAGA)” hat has the same political views as the diabolical Hitler? Really?
Across the United States but especially in Montgomery County, these red trucker hats are oftentimes met with rage from the loving left. At Richard Montgomery High School’s supposedly peaceful walkout protesting Trump’s election Nov. 16 in our very own city of Rockville, a supporter of Donald Trump wearing his MAGA hat was “beaten and kicked” as “the teen’s argument with one person turned violent and four others jumped in,” according to NBC Washington.
Despite these protesting students “carrying signs and chanting “Love Trumps Hate!a��” in the streets, it was evident that the only thing “love” trumped that day was the poor kid willing to express his opposing views.
While luckily not to this degree of severity, this same attack on (not so) free speech occurs daily at RHS. Here, Republicans know they will likely get called homophobic for expressing their opposition to gay marriage on the basis of their religion, or “anti-women’s rights” for fighting against abortion and the horrors that come with it. Consequently, many choose to stay quiet instead of offering themselves up to be blacklisted for their views.
This aversion to free speech in the form of “tolerant” insult-hurling does not stop once school is out; social media sites such as Twitter abound with anti-Republican messages such as “Republicans are so ugly” and “Today’s GOP is a misogynist party” that are shared freely with no repercussions. In a heavily liberal area such as Montgomery County, no one will call out these students for their flawed generalizations. Of course, if they did, they would be called bigots, because they are the puny opposition that is forced to bow down to the left’s twisted, maligned version of “tolerance.”
I believe that as a member of the minority of Republicans here at RHS, if I tweeted that Democrats were ugly, I would be forced to endure a slew of angry, “tolerant” liberals barging into my inbox and telling me how oh-so-wrong I am, and probably somehow insinuating that I am sexist as well, just for good measure. Moreover, if I tweeted anything generalizing the entire Democratic party under one baseless and ridiculous insult, I could expect my door to be broken down by these same tolerant lefties who strive to love everyone. Except me, of course; they would mercilessly tear me limb from limb.
Why is this? Because I am in the minority. Here in hostile Montgomery County, that means I, and all the other Republicans, have to keep our mouths shut, and actually be tolerant of other people’s opposing views.