Last Wednesday, conservative organizations hosted a "Coming Out" party to celebrate their political ideology. The event was met with vociferous protest by the Queer Resistance Front, who picketed outside with posters accusing President Ronald Reagan with murderous negligence in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. While the protestors may have exhibited a degree of over-sensitivity, the organizers of the event exhibited an abundance of immaturity and plain stupidity.
Conservatives on campus have long lamented their minority status at liberal Harvard. And, some have often gone so far as to claim that they have been marginalized due to their right-leaning beliefs. While it is admittedly possible that some conservatives have sometimes been mistreated at the hands of over-zealous lefties, there has hardly been an outbreak of violence against Republicans, nor has anyone sabotaged the presses of the Salient. The Faculty may be predominantly liberal, but Edmund Burke remains on the curriculum nonetheless. In short, aside from some light-hearted whining, conservatives can't really complain of any legitimate persecution.
Last week's dinner could have been a jovial gathering of like-minded students celebrating their shared political beliefs. And the organizers could even have scheduled time for some aforementioned light-hearted whining about the Kremlin on the Charles. Instead, by calling the event a "Coming Out" dinner and scheduling it on World AIDS Day, those who organized the event demonstrated themselves to be not principled but rather inconsiderate and foolishly misdirected.
"Coming out" is the experience of declaring one's sexual orientation to friends and family. It is an act that always demands great bravery and often results in tragic consequences. "Coming out" is not part of any radical political agenda. Whatever qualms conservatives may have about the gay rights movement, they surely cannot object to homosexuals sharing their identity with others.
Those choosing the name of last week's event chose a completely inappropriate target for their mockery. Further, the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic affects us all but certainly has a special resonance in the gay community. By holding their absurdly denoted dinner on the one day of the year set aside for remembering AIDS and its victims, last week's organizers demonstrated abhorrent disregard for the feelings of other students.
Those who gathered outside of the Conservative Coming Out Dinner may have gone a bit far in essentially blaming Ronald Reagan for millions of AIDS deaths, but their outrage is understandable. There is nothing about conservatism that requires boorishness. It is a shame that the people organizing last week's dinner couldn't recognize that distinction. The dinner and those who attended without reservation are an embarrassment to both conservatives and liberals of goodwill.
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