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Katie Leeper

Virginia Tech

To be a proud conservative woman is to be a proud American who believes in the ideals started by our Founding Fathers. I am proud to keep the traditional American values alive in our current government by supporting life, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that the only way to truly prosper in our world is to work hard for what you want while giving generously to those who are less fortunate. I am proud to be a conservative where we do not tolerate those who take advantage of the government’s tax and health care plans. I believe in a limited government in which we have a system to restrict and check each branch in power. Furthermore, I am proud to be part of a system where no one is above the law, not even those in the highest government positions. I have always been an active volunteer in my community and worked hard for everything I have received. I have grown up with conservative role models, such as my parents and grandparents, who have taught me the importance of hard work, fairness, and personal responsibility.

My grandmother, Dorothy Cernik, is my conservative woman role model. Even during the time when women were not readily accepted or respected in the political circle, she took on many leadership roles in Maryland from 1974 – 2001. Dorothy was a successful campaign coordinator and her success did not go unnoticed as she was elected to the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee in 1970 to serve for six years. Her passion for politics ran deeper than just being a Republican, she was also proud to stand in her beliefs as a conservative woman. She founded a Republican Club in 1990 and attended the 1996 Republican Women’s Leadership Conference in Washington DC representing GOPAC. Dorothy was President and Board Member of Harford County Republican Women as well as appointed Chair for Harford County Commission for Women.
After moving from her hometown in Maryland to Jacksonville, Florida, Dorothy continued her involvement in political and volunteer organizations. She was a member of the National Federation of Republican Women, through which she had the opportunity to attend leadership meetings at the White House with both Laura and Barbara Bush. As she has now retired, she has slowed down her role in the political circle but she has continued to show her support by giving her time and money to organizations close to her heart, including First Coast Women’s Service and Mission House. In the past few years, my grandmother has become a donor for NeW because she shares and has fought for the ideals NeW stands for. She is the one who pushed me to share my personal views by attending the summer conference and applying to start a NeW chapter at my college.

My grandmother truly is an incredible and accomplished woman. Not only was Dorothy able to break the gender barrier in politics by being a key contributor in many organizations, she also gained a reputation as a successful business woman, all while juggling the role of a single mother raising four children. She did it all with grace and integrity, and this is what I find most inspiring about my grandmother. She fully embodies what it means to be a conservative woman.

Being a conservative, especially a woman in today’s society, is an ongoing battle. Not only am I having to stand up for my beliefs as a conservative, but I am classified as a “non-woman” due to standing with issues such as pro-life. In our current society, there is so much separation. This separation is only growing deeper and farther apart due to the extremists on both ends, whether it being liberals versus conservatives, white versus black, or males versus females. These extremists show their power with violence and by yelling louder than the crowd. I believe there is too much hate in this world. Most ​of​ the hate ​I​ ​see on​ ​the​ ​news​ ​is​ ​biased,​ ​covering​ only ​stories​ ​that​ ​are​ ​most​ ​dramatic​ ​to​ ​draw​ ​in​ ​viewers.​ As part of the majority, this issue drives me because I am disgusted by how a minority can cause a whole group to be shed in such a negative light.

As a christian woman who believes in pro-life, I am automatically classified as judgemental and misogynist. I am personally not a feminist and had no desire to attend the Women’s March, but the fact that pro-life women were not allowed to march was surreal. This hypocrisy and separation created among women, just for an example, is the core issue I believe our society needs to work to fix. Similarly, black men or women who are Republican and stand with Trump are seen as “whites in black skin” because according to liberals, you have to be anti-Trump if you are black.

Consequently, liberals are subjecting those who do not fit their specific mold to even more discrimination. Instead of causing more turmoil, we should tolerate everyone’s individuality and beliefs, even if it is not exactly like your own. Even though I am a proud conservative woman, it does not mean I agree with every ideal that being a conservative entails. I have the right to my own thoughts and opinions. I am pro-life and believe fully that you should not be able to kill an unborn child, but I do have three exceptions – rape, incest, and death of the mother. This belief does not fit the exact mold of a pro-life christian, conservative woman but it is my belief and I feel accepted despite it.

I am a proud conservative woman, and I want to continue to learn and grow with what it means to be a conservative woman in our society. I hope to continue attending NeW summer conferences and start a NeW chapter at Virginia Tech. I hope to make my mark by standing with others who share my beliefs as a conservative woman as my grandmother did before me.

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