I visited NBC Chicago in May to speak with executives about millennials and our futures. Millennials are often perceived as spending too much time on Facebook, taking erroneous amounts of selfies and expecting a corner office within the first few years of their jobs.
I was there to meet with executives to dispel these misconceptions. I discovered the biggest misconception of all: the notion that all millennials are liberal and favor the democratic left of the political spectrum.
In this meeting at a major news station, I found I was the only one of the community members who said I watch and trust Fox News; a right leaning news channel. As other millennials said they put their trust in CNN (more left-leaning), I felt I was the only one on the other side of the spectrum.
In this era, I feel that as a millennial, it’s a death sentence to be a right-leaning thinker. Voicing a conservative opinion in this progressive day can be extremely difficult. Since I define myself as a ‘millennial republican,’ I feel sometimes as if my opinions are invalidated and misrepresented.
Being a millennial republican, to me, includes being fiscally-conservative but still believing in equality and things like gay marriage. I believe in strict immigration laws but I also agree that women should have the right to choose. I left with a fear that the republican party is on its way to extinction.
I was proud that I voiced my opinion, even if I was the odd-one-out. It felt terrifying to be a right-leaning millennial in a room full of left-leaning people. Still, as the leaders of the next generation, businesses, government and the world, it’s vital to share our thoughts, although clearly polarized, in order to change the conversation surrounding millennials.
This experience opened my eyes up to a long-standing fact; sharing a different point of view is essential to growth and development. Millennials, especially in the communications and business industries, should aspire to stand up and stand out. Being a republican is not a death sentence. Being a republican is just another opinion!
Sydney Denninger is a fourth year public relations student at the University of Florida. When she’s not traveling the world, studying or cheering on the Gators, she likes to curl up with a good book and her cat Jenga. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Linkedin.