If you are a conservative who pays attention to the political and cultural landscape and has an eye on current events … then you likely have come to recognize that we are not popular in culture at large. Sure, half the country might agree with most of what we say and a healthy majority of the country might agree with some of what we say.
But there is a powerful minority who don’t. And they are strong enough to relegate us to the dark corners of the cultural conversation.
It doesn’t matter that we have the numbers. They are the proverbial squeaky wheel.
We can see this dichotomy most clearly in Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and on our University campuses.
The one that sticks out in our minds today is on the campuses of colleges… probably because so many schools are conducting graduation events right now and those events are in the news.
One of the ugly trends we conservatives have seen over the last few years that make us realize our beliefs and opinions are not valued by liberal society is the lack of conservative commencement speakers. (Or even more plainly – the lack of conservative speakers for any events.)
Over the years we’ve seen Donald Rumsfeld, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Condoleezza Rice all either protested or turned away from colleges across the country. On college campuses, even “main-stream” Republicans are subjected to horrible name-calling and hateful rhetoric. To the liberal college activist everything we believe is somehow based on hate and destruction – they cannot even entertain the possibility that we have rational and well considered reasons for believing the things we do.
A liberal reading this might respond, “Oh, just another Republican who thinks the world (and the media) are out to get him.” That’s why it’s nice to have some liberal support for our position that conservatives are marginalized on college campuses nationwide. Here’s the wicked smart folks at 538.com (formerly of the New York Times) explaining that conservatives have a reason to be upset…
Conservatives have complained that they’ve been singled out, leaving only non-politicians and Democrats to offer a final word to newly-minted college graduates. Based on commencement address data from the last two years, they’re right.
For the 2013 and 2014 commencement seasons, I looked up the guest commencement speaker at the top 30 universities and the top 30 liberal arts colleges as rated by U.S. News and World Report. In cases where there was no guest commencement speaker, I took the guest baccalaureate, class day or senior day speaker. In all cases, I noted if the speakers were American political figures, and if so their party affiliations. I counted people like the news anchor Chris Matthews, who worked for Democratic politicians, as a political figure. I didn’t count people like the author Toni Morrison, who is a Democrat but has never worked in a political office. I also only counted lead speakers, not recipients of honorary degrees.
As it turns out, I couldn’t find a single clearly aligned Republican political figure who spoke at any of these schools in the past two years. (Two tables showing all the speakers are at the bottom of this post.) Twenty-five Democrats spoke. Eleven Democrats gave the main commencement address among the top 30 universities, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Mississippi governor and current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. At the top 30 liberal arts schools, it was 14 Democrats.
Clearly the problem is not in our heads.
Sadly, this is what liberalism does. It’s what it has to do, for the liberal the community is always more important than the individual – no matter what. Our country however, was built on a different principle, namely that each individual is as important as the next and the community should never be able to lord over the individual. That is the heart of conservatism – each person has innate and inherent value and deserves their own voice.
Individualism vs. collectivism.
For the liberal, the most dangerous thing is dissenting voices…so they must shut us up. It’s not enough for them to win political power, they must also destroy our voice. In Hollywood, Washington, D.C. and in our colleges… liberals are succeeding in destroying our voice. We must fight back.