The following comments were left in response to an op-ed published in
the Daily Gazette denouncing Young America’s Foundation flyers. I wrote a blog post
about the controversy here.
To bring you up to speed, some students of ours put up our
Freedom Week flyers, which were torn down shortly thereafter and replaced with
Unsurprisingly, this controversy has revealed that the
majority of students at Swarthmore are not very tolerant of other ideas. Also
notice how some of them hide behind a fake username. I will mention that some
students were opposed to ripping down flyers, but they still seemed openly
opposed to what Young America’s Foundation stands for:
User “Bob Dole” –
“Traditional values. That means queer people are evil, or something like that,
See how well other students understand what the Conservative
Movement is and stands for? Again, this is why our organization exists: these
myths propped up by the Left have a stranglehold on college communities.
James Mao, Author of
Original Op-Ed – “As people have pointed out, [the conservative students]
had plenty of options to choose from. The fact they chose this bigoted
organization [YAF] as their affiliation of choice speaks volumes.”
Calling a Conservative person or group “bigoted” is so
unoriginal I don’t even have a response to it. Hey James, this “bigoted”
organization’s PR director (yours truly) is Jewish. In our humble opinion,
dividing people into groups based on race, class or sexual orientation incessantly
as the Left so often does is bigoted. Next comment.
User “Sarah Palin” –
“I know who took my flyers down. It’s amazing what I can see from my house…”
Again, mocking Sarah Palin is nothing original. Using her
now infamous 2008 quote is depressingly unoriginal.
User “OhWow” – “They
[YAF] got this ish [issue] (with full editorial name disclosure, TASTEFUL!) on
the national website. “
I’d like to respond to that. First, if you attack our
students, we will call you out for it. Second, the students who submitted the
articles put their names on them. I linked to the article with those names, so
me writing them really makes no difference – it was completely ethical. My name
is on these blog posts. Yours, however, remains unknown. (Please refer to our
National Journalism Center program for more information on journalistic ethics.)
Further, the students who wrote the op-ed targeted a select few conservative
students and defended other students who mocked them. Since that’s fair game
apparently, my blog post was fair game, too.
User “Get out of the
kitchen” – “Attacking others views with those insulting posters was
throwing the first stone.”
Ladies and gentlemen, now if you post a flyer up that mocks
communism, you’re attacking other peoples’ views. Very interesting and
Editor – “… if we do end up writing an actual news article involving SYAF
[now named Swarthmore Conservatives], it will make all reasonable efforts to
get comments from people on all sides of the issues.”
I look forward to that. You know where to reach me.
User “sense and
sensibility” - “This group … encourages students to celebrate the birthday
of Ronald Reagan annually.”
Well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but his one hundredth birthday
is coming up soon…
… And here are responses directed at the conservative club president
and the blog post YAF put up in response:
User “Wanting more of
an apology” – “Their unfounded attacks on Swarthmore and its students are
now spreading across the conservative blogosphere thanks to their misleading
blog entry… I wonder who their informant was?”
My “informant” was Google Alerts, and my blog post set the
record straight. And the reason it’s “spreading” is because of the op-ed that
was published, not a humble blog post. If you don’t want national attention,
don’t treat conservative students differently than anyone else. Simple as that.
The comment continues:
“So you’re gonna take YAF’s resources… and claim you’re
So an organization cannot use YAF materials and claim to be
independent? Student groups across the country, despite their official
affiliation, use our materials.
User “Adriana Massi,
2010” - “I’m going to have to agree with Wanting in running to the national
organization – or maybe you’d like to defend the quality of that article?”
Again, no one did any “running” to the organization. If you
accuse YAF of being funded by “corporate interests,” or label our organization
as bigoted, I’m going to post a response. That’s the pesky “First Amendment”
thing you guys in the comment stream seem to have trouble grasping.
The controversy is seemingly resolved now that the
conservative students have removed “Young America’s Foundation” from their chapter
name. This controversy, thanks in large part to the op-eds and comment
streams publicly available, is very revealing and useful however. You now know
what conservative students are up against. Dozens of students after reading the
op-ed were quick to judge not only our organization, but a handful of students
who were brave enough to identify themselves as conservatives.