By Spencer Haynes
As I have reflected on the political tumult of the past year, certain quotes, and newspaper articles have stuck out to me, helping me understand how certain biases and attitudes came to fruition this fall.
I would first like to discuss Pipe Dream, and their bias against the College Republicans. To expose this bias, I will compare articles from the past year covering very similar events. The first covers the Republican/Turning Point tabling event and protests from November 14th. The other covers the Students for Justice in Palestine tabling and small protest from May 9th. The first difference between the Pipe Dream’s coverage of the two situations was that Turning Point USA’s non-SA-chartered status was the first information given, while the non-chartered status of Students for Justice in Palestine was never even mentioned in their article. In fact, the SA gave SJP permission to table without SA Chartered status, breaking their own rules. Pipe Dream also decided to invent details in the article on the Republican’s tabling. In this story, the writer chose to treat two pro-gun signs as evidence that this was a 2nd amendment rally occurring hours after a shooting. In reality, the tabling was set up before any reports of the shooting came out at 10:30 Eastern Time/7:30 Pacific, and the tabling was meant to promote Art Laffer and the Turning Point Chapter, not guns. By adding this misinformation, the writer stopped being a journalist, and instead resorted to defamation: defamation that turned readers and the university against the College Republicans. The Students for Justice in Palestine article does not mention anything about “Anti-Semitic posters” that could excuse the Zionist’s attack. In both cases, the attack is the problem, not their speech. In accordance with this principle, the May 9th article emphasizes the victim’s story, which reads in part, “…there were students nodding in agreement [with the attacker], and it was really disheartening when he [the attacker] was acting in such a manner and no one was coming to our defense.” The November article includes no accounts that express the Republican’s disappointment in this way, despite being threatened by a crowd of 200, and having all their property destroyed.
Now, I would now like to move on to the second half of this article: sharing quotes from my encounters with the protest leaders. My goal will be to unravel the false narratives surrounding the past semester, and provide some examples of the mistreatment my friends and I have encountered in the fall.
“We have no reason to join the tabling protest because we’re going to do whatever we want anyways” -Taj Robinson, President of the College Progressives – 9/2/19
In September, the College Republicans were already planning to table without SA permission. In the opinion of the group, free speech cannot be infringed on public property no matter what form the speech takes. I thought this issue would be a good opportunity for the Republicans and College Progressives to table together, as the Progressives protest more than any other group on campus. Instead, the fact I mentioned the Republicans at all made me an enemy of the Progressives’ E-Board. Fast forward to the protests of November 14th. Now the same College Progressives who “don’t care about campus rules” are citing those rules to shut down the Republican’s tabling. One said the Republicans would “…never be able to table again.” Another got into the face of a student, saying “…I can stand right here, because this is public property,” ironically making the same argument we did to support the tabling. However, only four days after the tabling protest, the progressive groups on campus had no problem breaking campus rules by shutting down the Art Laffer speaking event, despite being provided an adjacent lecture hall by the university. It is not the first time that these groups have interrupted scheduled events in this way. Their repeated attempts to disrupt and shut down company recruiting events on campus is one example. Fortunately, the groups involved in the Art Laffer disruption are under investigation by the SA, and support for the College Republicans has grown across the state and the nation. Despite these advances, College Republicans on campus have faced more personal trauma throughout the fall. Many of us have received threats and insults and have felt unsafe walking through campus. I would like to share two quotes from my fall semester as an example of this.
Quote 2: “If you really cared about your transgender friends you wouldn’t be here”
Quote 3: “When you align yourself with hate groups people will treat you differently”
-Members of the Progressive’s E-Board, 11/15/19
Before I make my points on these quotes, I need to provide some context. Although I consider myself a Republican, there are several issues where I diverge from the current party platform. One of the areas I diverge on is that I heavily support LGBT rights. My feelings on this are related to my personal experience with the issue. A member of my family came out after years of hiding it for fear of bullying. Two members of my church congregation transitioned, one into a man, and the other into a woman. They too were afraid to express who they really are, with one developing severe depression before transition. As I observed all of this, I realized that members of the LGBT community are experiencing real struggles, regarding both their mental health, and physical safety. For these reasons, I visited a moving art exhibition on transgender Remembrance Day, and was invited to the memorial service that night. Before this service I was pulled aside by the two members of the College Progressives. They believed I was trying to make a joke out of the memorial, so I explained that I care about transgender issues because of my personal experiences. It was at this time they told me I was destroying the safe space at the memorial, and that if I cared about my transgender friends I would leave. The reason this struck me was that their words stood in direct opposite to the message of the memorial: that anyone can be an ally. You would also think that having an ally from an unlikely political possession could be of more use in changing the minds of those around them, but instead, I was disqualified from discussion under the assumption I must align with hate groups as a Republican. My positions align most closely with the Republican Party, but that does not mean I have to agree with every part of that party umbrella, or with every group or individual that also aligns with that. Either way, I know that my transgender friends appreciated my participation in the memorial service, and they know I care about them.
Quote 4: “You’d better not bring your girlfriend to Campus” – Dheiva Moorthy, 12/1/2019
This was the most egregious statement addressed to me last year, and it completely blindsided me. I don’t know how Dheiva, Vice President of the Progressives, found out that I have a girlfriend, or who she was. However, I did figure out why she would say something like this. Much like the students I mentioned from the transgender memorial service, Dheiva believes that I embrace all factions of the Republican Party. This includes a belief that I am a white supremacist and against free immigration. For this reason, Dheiva believes that I will bring my girlfriend, an African immigrant, to campus as a political tool to “look less racist.” While I am insulted by her judgment of my character, my real concern is how this reflects on my girlfriend. For one, this view implies that my girlfriend must be complacent enough to be used as a political pawn. Secondly, it suggests that my girlfriend’s race should make a difference in our relationship, and thirdly, it tells a woman Dheiva knows nothing about, that she will be harassed if she comes to visit her boyfriend. My girlfriend has done nothing to deserve that kind of treatment. In fact, she is one of the kindest and strongest people I have ever met. She works 30 hours a week to pay her own way through college, while taking care of her 5 younger siblings every night while her mom works. If I ever even suggested that our race difference had any bearing on our relationship I would be dumped immediately. If Dheiva knew anything about my girlfriend this statement never would have been made. My message from this is simple: political discourse should never result in personal attacks, and some topics should always be out of bounds. One’s romantic life is certainly one of those topics.
I hope this article will be useful to assess the left-wing biases and prejudice infesting the print media, and the minds of progressive leaders on campus.