Satire: Lonely Republican student changes Zoom background to ‘I heart capitalism’
Finding other Republicans at AU may be one computer click away
The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
When freshman Joseph Cartwright logged in to his morning Politics in the U.S. Zoom call on Thursday, his peers reported surprise at seeing his new virtual background: an “I heart capitalism” sign.
“I just feel like I needed to put myself out there more if I’m ever going to make friends,” Cartwright said. “It’s no secret that there aren’t many conservatives at AU.”
Minutes into the Zoom class Molly Hudson, a sophomore from Wyoming, mentioned her experience as a summer intern for a Republican congressional candidate.
“Wait, there are other Republicans that go to AU?” a bewildered Cartwright blurted out loudly, while still finishing his breakfast cereal in front of his muted computer.
An astonished Cartwright went quiet for a few seconds.
“I just didn’t know there were other conservative students who go to AU,” said Cartwright, unmuting himself so the entire class could hear his revelation. “I know the College Republicans have a chapter, but I just assumed it was run by ghosts.”
“We do exist,” Hudson said, quietly. “By the way, I like your Zoom background.”
After a quick private message to Hudson, Cartwright agreed to call her after class ended. They bonded immediately.
“Back home, I’d say I’m a moderate Republican,” Hudson said. “But at AU, I’m practically on the far right.”
“I feel the same way,” Cartwright said. “It’s like as soon as I say ‘I support the Second Amendment,’ people think I’m a right-wing extremist.”
The call between Cartwright and Hudson concluded with a recitation of the 10 most recent Republican presidents from memory. “We have to do things to keep our spirits up,” Cartwright said. “I’ve tried to find more conservatively-minded people like me,” Cartwright said. “I even asked my first-year advisor how I could find more friends like me!”
“My advice to more conservative students has always been to hang out in Kogod for a day, but that doesn’t work in quarantine,” said Connie Hale, Cartwright’s first-year advisor. “You see, you’re bound to find a few Republicans in the business school. But now with COVID-19, I like Joseph’s idea of using a Zoom background that represents your politics. Maybe I’ll do an activity with my first-years where we all make politically-charged backgrounds and see who has the most outrageous opinion!”
AU knows that Republican enrollment is low. Despite the University’s efforts to recruit students of all political ideologies, Cassandra Lopez, the director of undergraduate admissions, admits that Republican enrollment at AU is still low.
“I always promote AU’s diversity and inclusion to all prospective students,” Lopez said. “Everyone is included on campus. We try to make room for Republicans, but the environment’s not really their ideal college experience.”
Lopez acknowledged that strengthening the Republican presence on campus is difficult. “Not a lot of conservative students apply,” Lopez said. “But we do try to lure them in by giving away free Ronald Reagan T-shirts after select campus tours.”
Owen Boice is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a satire columnist at The Eagle.