The Editor's Soapbox

Every Monday, after our weekly staff meeting, the Guardian editorial board chooses a topic it cares to express an opinion about, settles on a stance by vote and writes an editorial that appears on the Opinion page of the Thursday issue. Are you fascinated yet? Wait, there’s more.

Regardless of who votes in favor of the stance and who votes against it, all of the board’s names appear above the editorial.

This past issue, we took a stance on California Assembly Bill 25, supporting its passage on the grounds that unmarried couples should have the same rights as married people and that a bill of its nature is long overdue.

However, I was the odd man — or rather, woman — out this week. I do not support the bill. This doesn’t really bother me too much, seeing as since I disagreed, I would not have to write the 400 word article. With two midterms and four papers, I didn’t have time to write it anyway.

Usually, if a topic relating to social issues or politics is brought before the board, there is a very real possibility that I will disagree with some or all of the rest of my colleagues on one or more aspects of the issue. I hold conservative (very conservative, I’m told) views that I’ve noticed are very unpopular on a college campus — and I’m talking about UCSD here, not Berkeley.

On the Guardan, it’s OK that I disagree with the people I sit on the editorial board with. They are also my friends and there are no hard feelings if they end up publicly supporting something I don’t.

It is even OK with me if my name also appears on the article. They are mature, intelligent people and there is mutual respect among us.

In other arenas, however, I’ve come to feel it is not all right. Yes, I hold conservative views with which many people I’ve met do not agree and yes, I am even (gasp!) pro-life. In fact, it is the aspect of my conservative views that I am most vehement about.

I haven’t always been this opinionated: Just last year I quit ed-board because I didn’t have much to say. However, I’ve found that college is a highly politicized environment. Those who don’t espouse political opinions soon find some, and college campuses, even this one, are prime targets for candidates or visibly partisan persons come election time, and even all year long.

Due to this and to just getting older, I have a little more to say now. While I’ve seen that in public political events on this campus, both sides (and every point of view in between, for that matter) get represented, it still seems that when it comes to anything even remotely political, everyone is against me, and vocally at that. In some cases, being conservative, or more specifically in my case, being pro-life, is akin to committing a crime of the most serious nature.

For example, last year, the esteemed women’s rights advocate and co-founder of Ms. magazine Gloria Steinem visited our campus in support of the Democratic party. She spoke in the Price Center Plaza about why college students should vote Democrat: because the party was friendlier regarding issues about women’s bodies and women’s rights than other parties. She meant, of course, the Republicans, who as we all know want to take away a woman’s right to choose just to make her life unbearable, right?

I’m sure that lurking in the shadow of little Gloria at her big podium were people who, like myself, held conservative views and were maybe even pro-life, too.

But unlike them, I, being a member of the college press, was invited by Gloria’s handlers to ride on her bus to the next stop on her tour, San Diego State University. I had been having conversations with the event organizers and they knew that I had only come to see Gloria speak because I respected her as a forerunner of the women’s movement and because she was quite accomplished in my field, journalism.

My invitation was extended with one stipulation: that I not say anything about being pro-life.

“”Fine by me; whatever,”” I thought. But the more I’ve thought about it, and I think about it surprisingly often, it is disconcerting that merely voicing a differing opinion in her presence would have been some sort of capital offense upon which I would be immediately expelled from the bus, which, they had told me is what would happen. Believe me, even though I feel differently about the issue than her, I wasn’t ready to argue with Gloria Steinem about abortion, and it’s not just because she’s famous.

I thought Democrats were supposedly better because they are more liberal and thus more respecting of a variety of views. Hmm.

I will make one concession, though. I think some of this backlash against pro-lifers is warranted. While it’s not individually their fault, they have been given a bad reputation by those people who stand on the side of busy streets with cardboard signs depicting newly aborted fetuses.

I haven’t always been this opinionated, and I’m not going to go into detail about how I feel on every subject and why, but suffice it to say that I have become more politicized in the last couple of years, having been tought in college to see things in an incresingly critical light.

If a subject comes up, I’ll tell you where I stand on it because I don’t think that it’s fair that I should have to hide my views just because they are uncommon for my age group or because you disagree with me.

I also want you to know that I am not going to shove my views down your throat. If we get into a debate, I’m not going to mindlessly say that abortion is murder or that anyone who thinks otherwise is a murderer. I won’t defend my position by quoting passages from the Bible. If I manage to convince an ed-board some day that I am right on the issue, this is the only way my views will ever be shoved down your throat, I promise.

But I do think that if you’re ever famous and I’m invited on your bus and your handlers ask me politely to please not mention a differing view than yours, I think I’ll decline the ride.

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