Nielsen press briefing

After writing several letters to the editor, I am extremely happy to join the Iowa State Daily as a columnist. In my letter to the editor last week, I noted that I have been reticent concerning my explicit political beliefs, but that I am mostly in the center. As a columnist, I do think it would behoove me to allow the reader to understand the angle that I come from.

The title of this piece mentions the word conservative. Conservative can mean quite different things in different settings. I have deliberately used that word because it is important to note that whether conservative means “Republican” or conservative means fundamentally a “traditionalist,” or anything else, people who are conservative are, on the whole, decent American people with real concerns.

My brand of conservatism may sound paradoxical, but I am a conservative liberal. When using the word liberal, to me at least, it bears the classical liberal values born of the Enlightenment era, ultimately adopted by the United States and through blood, sweat, and toil extended across racial and ethnic lines to include all Americans. In 2019, we enjoy Western liberal values, and they are the best thing going in the world at the moment.  I am certainly not a “liberal” or "progressive liberal” as is the trend of the left at this moment.  

My writing is obviously going to reflect these classical values; indeed, my writing already has done so thus far. I hope that my perspective is appreciated by people on campus that have had that nagging feeling, as I have, that progressive liberal values abound and dominate the social structure, and thus us concerned people may be nervous to speak from a conservative point of view, whatever that conservative viewpoint may mean.

Moreover, I hope to represent this point of view in my writing. I believe there needs to be pushback to progressive and Democratic party values that are seemingly over represented in the mainstream media. To quickly illustrate this over representation, this chart from AllSides purports to categorize different news organizations based upon their political leanings, and these studies compiled by Harvard University display the negative versus the positive coverage of the opening of the Trump presidency by various mainstream media outlets. That media coverage was overwhelming negative.

This past week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the de facto leader of the Democratic party, along with her freshman legislative cohorts, wrote, “These radicalized, criminal agencies [I.C.E and US Customs and Border Protection] are destroying families and killing innocent children.  It is absolutely unconscionable to even consider giving one more dollar to support this President’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refused to be held accountable to the American people.” 

Violent buzzwords like "destroy" and "killing" seem often to appear within progressive or Democratic party circles when linking intent to conservatives or conservative minded issues. This language is certainly not of the civil ilk.

The media, in my opinion, is skewed to the left of the political spectrum, and this mainstream media, along with social media, dominates our social spaces and interactions, and often sets the social and political agendas of our daily exchanges, all the while providing us with uncritical and often unrebutted “truths.” With this skew in mind, coupled with the aggressive and uncivil attitudes like those of Clinton, Ocasio-Cortez and many other progressive Democrats, I hope to provide pushback when necessary and to also illuminate a different perspective on issues that may not otherwise be spoken or published. In doing this, I hope to show that it is OK to have a dissenting opinion against the more oft-heard voices around the college campus and beyond. There is no moral superiority in being a “progressive." I will do my best to be fair, even for an opinion person. I hope to show through my writing that it is indeed OK to be a conservative.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misspelled Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's name. It has been updated to reflect the correct spelling. The Daily regrets this error.

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(2) comments

Steve Gregg

John, I never thought I’d see the day when an open conservative joined the Daily. Some writers before you have fancied themselves conservative who were in fact liberals who thought that not being a communist meant they were conservative. I hope you are the real deal and take liberal nonsense to task. You have your work cut out for you just tearing down the Che flags in the Daily office.

Ann Smith

Absolutely. What a breath of fresh air this morning reading this article. Keep doing what you're doing and contributing to the conversation. Diverse discussion and questions should be encouraged on Iowa State campus. I'm sure you will receive hate and may eventually be tried to be de-platformed, but keep it up!

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