Fresh(man) Perspective: Why I Joined BCR

Transitioning to college, for most, is a tumultuous and stressful experience. I expected as much and have, since then, found that sentiment to be true. Indeed, most freshmen tend to reconcile themselves with this problem by joining established church groups, clubs, or sports teams. These are all acceptable outlets for Freshmen to escape the anxiety and fit in with the social life of the campus and community that now surrounds them. I, of course, wished for the same. So, naturally, I joined the Berkeley College Republicans. 

And, without a doubt, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Admittedly, when I first witnessed BCR tabling on Sproul Plaza, I was hesitant to approach them. I feared that if I were seen around the likes of any of its members, I would be committing social suicide. I did, however, decide that I would attend the clubs’ first gathering, having been extended an offer to do so by the vice president of BCR. I enjoyed the meeting and decided that it would do no harm to attend a second meeting and get to know some of its members.

The snowball had been cast. I went to the second meeting and, before I knew it, I was signed up to volunteer for the Ben Shapiro event. It has been an exceptionally enjoyable experience, affording me the opportunity to not only watch Ben speak live, but also meet the likes of James Damore and Lauren Southern, with other public, conservative figures. For me, this was quite exciting, especially considering that I had not actively participated in politics at any point during my life.

In joining BCR, I also realized the intensity of the polarized political atmosphere in Berkeley. Thankfully, not everyone on the campus hates members of BCR. Indeed, I have found many with left-leaning attitudes that I have become friends with, as I did in high school and the years before. However, there is a substantial grouping of those who do actively stigmatize BCR and seek to make the lives of those involved within it very difficult. Some of these harassers are students, and others are random citizens from Oakland. I have even witnessed prominent members of organizations such as Antifa and By Any Means Necessary raving against BCR during protests or even when members of BCR do something as mundane as walking through Sproul Plaza.

From what I have seen up until now, all of the feelings and attitudes perpetuated by these vicious and demeaning stereotypes are patently false. Many of the individuals I have met within BCR, especially those on the board, I have found possess a polite quality to them and a manner of utmost patience when dealing with those who seek to repress their values and opinions. Time and time again, the members of the board are harassed and stalked by numerous groups and personages, on and off campus. They have been dehumanized by leftist entities that seek their destruction. Unfortunately, this has become somewhat of the “norm” for individuals on the board.

It is a rather sad fact that this exists as a problem on a campus that claims to value not only freedom of speech, but also the safety of its students. Therefore, I commend those who willfully fight for conservative students rights on the UC Berkeley campus. So few seem to have the courage to stand and fight for their deviant beliefs. The repression and violence levied upon those who would seek to express a differing opinion in Berkeley is atrocious, and to be able to endure this hatred is wholly admirable. Truly, my eyes have been opened to the resentment BCR members are subjected to on an almost daily basis. However, BCR is only hated because it serves as a collective of conservatives and Republicans, a group of the so-called “enemy” for those with left-leaning perspectives. Without BCR, individual conservatives would be forced into silence, ostracized by a campus that does not appreciate the intellectual diversity that these students bring with them to Berkeley. 

I fully recognize that, because I have joined this club, many will turn against me in this university, not because of who I am, but rather because I am different, because I am of the minority. I do not look at this phenomenon as a curse, however. Rather, I am grateful. I am thankful that I can pursue that which I believe in with an open mind and ambitious heart. My heartfelt appreciation is extended towards BCR, for allowing me a place to champion and defend what I value in a college that has resigned so many to conformity and oblivion.