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  • By: Anthony Hadford

    kate2 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 the audience.

    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.

    jkhjkkAt 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. 

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