The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 27, 2022 1:00 am

Diverse GOP best for nation

Taylor Vanover-Knox

Some of my colleagues in the Republican Party have been discussing the question of what diversity is. Some have become respectfully ignorant of the definition.

I have talked to members of the party about embracing diversity; some cheer the idea. But a small minority think diversity only means a difference in skin color as opposed to people who are ethnic, LGBTQ, female and more.

That is far from what diversity is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, diversity is “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”

As younger Republicans – Republicans in their 20s – move into the ranks, they care less about whom someone marries as long as they are a consenting adult.

More seasoned Republicans also support same-sex marriage. A poll from last year pointed out some interesting facts on the Republican Party's willingness to change with the times. The NPR article, “A Record Number of Americans, Including Republicans, Now Support Same-Sex Marriage,” had some enlightening facts about a recent Gallup poll.

“The rise in support stems largely from a majority of Republicans, who for the first time approve of same-sex marriage at 55%, according to Gallup,” the article stated.  

As many know, I have been in the front lines with many other great people fighting for the right to be included in the Republican Party. I ran an excellent race for City Council against a heavily favored incumbent from the other party. However, I never gave up, even when the shadow of defeat was upon me.

I had many critics, even within my party, but I also had great allies willing to step into the line of fire with me. I made mistakes in my campaign, but I owned them, as any good public servant should.

I went through many struggles after my race, but I grew as a person and an American. Throughout my campaign, I was always upfront with the people about my aspirations to attend law school. Since then, I have dedicated most of my time to my undergraduate degree at Indiana Tech and taking my LSAT.

Will I run for another office? You can be sure I will.

I now respectfully speak to representatives of our great republic and our party. We must end the division within our party that leads to calling those who disagree with us “RINOs.” Doing so only makes our opposition more powerful.

We must embrace diversity and change within the party. That doesn't mean you need to approve of who someone is, but we need to come together as Americans. The opinions of those who stand for more “traditional values” are just as important as mine. I disagree with them, but I defend their right to still be in the party and have their views. As long as the discourse is respectful, we shouldn't have an issue.

As some of you may know, I stood up for a pride flag in an area teacher's classroom. Not a colossal flag, but a flag the teacher wanted to keep up so LGBTQ+ students would know they had a safe place to come and talk. Someone complained, even though the flag had been up awhile. This flag was not new to them, but they wanted to prove a point because their child was reprimanded for bullying.

I stood up for that teacher's right to fly that flag because the flag does not represent a political or religious ideology. Before I had even spoken, a member of the party (or a couple) I will not name demanded that I be “reeled in.” Imagine my face to hear that someone was telling me, a grown man, that I needed to be “reeled in.”

I say they would have better luck drawing blood from a stone. There is a movement for people like me who share views with the Republican Party and deserve to be a part of the party. We as youth will give them that voice and include them.

Let us find common ground and work to make our communities strong and inclusive of every American. After all, that is the American dream.

Taylor Vanover-Knox was a candidate for City Council's Fifth District seat in 2019.

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