Speaker supports young RepublicansBy Bethany Blair | 01/20/2011 10:16pm
Forty-two percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans, said Ron Robinson, president of the Young America’s Foundation, but although some of the country is behind them, young conservatives continue to struggle to get their voices heard on college campuses.
In his lecture Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Morris Mayer Room of the Ferguson Center, Robinson, using examples of famous Republicans and current political events, outlined both the characteristics young Republicans must possess and the kind of world they must strive for to spread their message.
“What I see happening on a national level is reminiscent of what’s happening on college campuses across America,” Robinson said. “And it almost inevitably leads to conservatives being pushed to the sidelines. Our ideas are getting harder and harder to express and are even being banned.”
Despite the seemingly overwhelming obstacles they face, Robinson said the Republican community should exercise civility no matter how others act.
“You have to look at how the left side operates,” Robinson said. “The Young America’s Foundation and Young Republicans should welcome civility, even though the left hasn’t been particularly civil toward people like you trying to speak your beliefs on college campuses.”
Robinson went on to illustrate some of the characteristics many conservatives have in common—they’re a small group of people from unpredictable walks of life who articulate their ideas and achieve them, he said.
He told the story of a sports editor, a marine interested in photography, a jock, a grocery store worker and an aspiring manager of a sports department at a local store. He said although none of these people had dreams of becoming president or changing the world, they became some of the most recognized figures of the conservative movement. These influential figures were Rush Limbaugh, Thomas Sowell, Jack Kemp, Peggy Noonan and Ronald Reagan.
While conservative leaders like these attack issues head on and make them relatable to the American public, Robinson said the liberal agenda often beats around the bush.
“The left no longer talks about what their ideas will achieve,” Robinson said. “But they’re focused on making conservative ideas unpopular. Comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert use sarcasm to satirize conservative ideas and draw attention away from their own.”
In order to combat this tactic and become a conservative activist, Robinson said one should adhere to a few simple rules.
“I urge seven things for young Republicans: educate yourself, begin to express your ideas, surround yourself with positive people, reach for the widest possible audience, stick to how your ideas will affect Americans today, be enthusiastic, never accept censorship and build your own institutions whether that be a club, newspaper or your own business,” Robinson said.
John Anselmo, a senior majoring in political science, said Robinson serves as a reminder that others share the same beliefs he does.
“It’s inspiring to see that there are people out there who are enthusiastic about the same things you are,” Anselmo said.
Rachel Wilson, secretary for the College Republicans, said it’s paramount that seasoned conservative leaders like Robinson come speak to the group because it encourages students to set higher goals for themselves.
“This is a big deal because it’s important to hear [Robinson] talk about how he and other Republican leaders got started,” Wilson said. “It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a businessman or a law student to fight for what you believe in. Leaders come from all walks of life and that’s the idea of the conservative movement.”