By: Anthony Hadford
Kate Obenshain, University of Virginia alumna and former
Chief Editor of the Virginia Advocate,
gave a lecture hosted by UVA Young Americans for Freedom on
Thursday evening. In it, she posed the question: "What do liberals and conservatives have in common?" Her answer: "We're both American."
This is something that students struggle with everyday. The majority of college students are afraid of
offending others, being verbally attacked, or being labeled as a ideological nut.
Therefore, many are scared to discuss topics such as gay marriage, abortion,
health care, immigration, affirmative action, social welfare reform, or even
economics. And so students are silenced. President Ronald Reagan often referred
to universities as a marketplace for ideas; but today, the college experience
has turned into a suppressive environment discouraging openness and dialogue of
differing views. It seems doubtful that this generation will produce
substantive resolutions to our nation’s most demanding issues if political
correctness prevents us from expressing our ideas. As RGIII said, “In a land of
freedom we are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness.”
Obenshain continued to explain that what made America so
great is freedom, and having the right to express your own views, disagree with
others, and learn how to work with others to solve problems. “What are you
going to do to preserve that freedom while you are here at UVA?” she challenged
As Obenshain pointed out, this stifling of open, public
discourse on the college campus reflects the oppressive nature of the Obama
administration. Obama claims to represent all Americans, but has instituted the
most divisive health care reform in US history. He purports to facilitate
dialogue across the political aisle, yet his administration has revoked or
refused tax-exempt status to organizations that do not align with his agenda.
Obama claims to represent all women, yet attacks conservative women who vote
according to their brain rather than their “lady parts.” Literally and
figuratively, Obama has been the ultimate “Divider in Chief” who has incrementally
retracted basic freedoms that support differing views.
At the end of her
lecture, Obenshain re-told the stories of a few of our nation’s earliest heroes,
such as John Hart, who was forced to abandon his dying wife and thirteen
children to escape capture and death, and John Hancock, who signed his name
extra large so that the English King would not need his spectacles to read his
signature. These men knew that signing the Declaration of Independence would directly
lead to pain, suffering, and possibly death when the British received the
document. They were, nonetheless, determined to establish freedom for
themselves, their families, and all descendants who dwelled in the States, “The
land of the free.” This is the same freedom that is being threatened by the
tyranny of government today, and this is the freedom that young people need to
promote, preserve, and pass on to future generations.
Anthony Hadford is the chair of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Virginia.