Young America's Foundation

Join Our Email List

  • New Guard Inner
  • Young Conservatives on the Rise: Meet Mike Cunningham

    5/26/2011 11:59:56 AM Posted by Patrick Coyle

    By Mike Cunningham

    Cunningham with PenceGrowing up in Southeastern Indiana, you learn a few of life’s most important lessons.  A strong community and loving parents passed on to me the values of hard work, individual responsibility, respect, and the desire to lead. More importantly, they instilled in me the strong conservative ideals that celebrate freedom and the very morals bestowed upon me.  But, as I went on to college at Purdue University, I quickly found out that I needed to stand up for my beliefs.

    During the first couple years of school, I joined the conservative club on campus; one of the most influential groups with active membership. But after the election of President Obama, the wheels came off.  It seemed that everyone had lost hope in the fight for conservatism. As a result, interest in the club plummeted, so much so that in the summer going in to my junior year I received a call from the chairman, letting me know that he was stepping down.  At that point, I was left with an ultimatum- take over, or the club would cease to exist.  I reluctantly took the job, not knowing where to start, until I attended Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference.

    The National Conservative Student Conference was truly where I got my start in the Conservative Movement.  During the five-day conference, I was motivated by some of the greatest conservative leaders including Bay Buchanan, Herman Cain, and Jason Mattera.  Their courageous speeches of standing up for conservatism even when it seems unpopular gave me the confidence to take a stand. I was also given The Campus Conservative Battleplan with ideas of how to effectively combat the Left on campus.  I was ready to start rebuilding conservatism at Purdue.

    After my experience with YAF and NCSC, it was my intention to rigorously overhaul the old model of conservatism and the view that most people have about it.  For too long, the Left has portrayed conservatism as being too boring, too silly, too evil, and too un-cool.  In reality, conservatives represent what my generation yearns for- independence, a sense of self, and helping others by helping them help themselves.  With all of this in mind, our club decided to change the face of conservatism at Purdue; we vowed to be the alternative voice in the classroom and to speak against the liberal university machine.

    Purdue NFPThrough the Foundation we held the 9/11: Never Forget Project, No More Che Day, and Freedom week.  As I became more comfortable in my leadership role as a conservative activist, I began to speak out in class, pointing out the bias of my liberal professors.  As you may know, trying to present a more balanced view point in a place where leftists lie, pun intended, is never welcomed.  By advancing what Ronald Reagan called the “battle of ideas,” I was shouted down by my instructor.  In one instance, my instructor cursed the “evil” free market capitalists commonly known as the “Robber Barons.”  But, thanks to Foundation speaker Burt Folsom, and his book The Myth of the Robber Barons I was ready to refute his statements using factual information. When my instructor couldn’t prove me wrong he called me a racist, sexist, and classist because in his view that is what free market conservatives are. 

    I took those comments to heart and shared them with my fellow activists.  We set lofty goals and tackled tough subjects that many on campus felt strongly about.  We held panels and film discussion on the ills of America’s education system, hosting Bob Bowdon, the director of The Cartel.  We stood up against the anti-Israeli bias at Purdue thanks to Foundation speaker, David Horowitz.  But perhaps our greatest accomplishment was hosting Herman Cain through YAF.  For Herman Cain, we were able to bring in over 220 people from around campus and the state of Indiana.

    Our level of activism invigorated the Conservative Movement around Purdue and the community like never before.  Conservatives young and old offered support and encouragement, while the leftists tried hard to demean our efforts, a true testament to our success.

    Mike at CPACThe Foundation has given a small town kid like me many wonderful opportunities in the Conservative Movement in less than a year’s time.  I have visited Ronald Reagan’s cherished Ranch, delivered a speech at CPAC, and I have been able to spend time with great conservative activists like David Horowitz, Ann Mcelhinney, and Andrew Breitbart at the Foundation’s Club 100 Retreat.

    Now, I have the privilege of working with the Foundation as a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar. It will be a great honor to pass on to the emerging student activists, the fire and passion that I have for the conservatism.  The Conservative Movement truly starts with Young America’s Foundation and I am excited to help lead the way.

    Mike Cunningham is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar with Young America's Foundation.

    • Readers' Comments

    • Isn't the silence dfnieaeng? Particularly from the members of the Cabinet Resources Committee who have been criticised for being "caught asleep on the job" over Iceland. None of Anthony Finn, Andrew Harper, Lynne Hillan or Matthew Offord have been out to defend Mike Freer.The only 'full' support comes from his very close, and recently promoted, chum 'Nick'
      Posted by Evgeny on 02/15/2013
    • aRUhIe <a href="">vajxvnuiqrks</a>
      Posted by nwzhsgkbn on 02/18/2013
    • QOVi7Z , [url=]plielecgebvc[/url], [link=]vtlazmrdclro[/link],
      Posted by ixjbucft on 02/19/2013
    • cTOdSR Awesome post.Thanks Again. Really Great.
      Posted by 75417 on 09/07/2013
    • dbWuVW Say, you got a nice blog post.Much thanks again.
      Posted by 6210 on 09/13/2013
    • SFnX9N Very neat blog post.Much thanks again.
      Posted by 897535 on 09/24/2013
    • MDGQyk Great post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on...
      Posted by 6662 on 10/16/2013
    • VOmO28 This is one awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Awesome.
      Posted by 563607 on 10/23/2013
    • msZGuS I really enjoy the blog article.Really looking forward to read more.
      Posted by 97623 on 12/14/2013
    • xIpN2i Thank you ever so for you blog.Thanks Again. Really Cool.
      Posted by 62304 on 01/08/2014
    • Cj44aP I really like and appreciate your blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on...
      Posted by 9035 on 01/18/2014
    • A76WxO Major thankies for the article post.Thanks Again. Will read on...
      Posted by 1120 on 03/22/2014
    • 985G7D Im thankful for the blog.Really thank you! Will read on...
      Posted by 134742 on 04/01/2014
    • racMKP Major thanks for the article post.Thanks Again. Awesome.
      Posted by 87003 on 04/19/2014
    • cUh49n Very neat article post.Much thanks again. Want more.
      Posted by 528142 on 05/12/2014
    • Eea2zM Im thankful for the blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.
      Posted by 1759 on 06/04/2014
    • q3uhzv Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Really thank you! Fantastic.
      Posted by 2238 on 06/17/2014
    • jCpKwv Awesome post. Awesome.
      Posted by 17014 on 07/04/2014
    • HaQi12 I think this is a real great article.
      Posted by 2136 on 07/17/2014
    • Posted by on 07/17/2014
    • xsihHv Thanks-a-mundo for the blog post.Really thank you! Cool.
      Posted by 92001 on 07/18/2014
    • GfStz4 Thanks again for the article post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.
      Posted by 191626 on 08/05/2014
    • XfA1QS <a href="">gaqwtgwedeij</a>, [url=]ygvimxdwhawr[/url], [link=]cknlndfsmhoa[/link],
      Posted by oqphgeoveta on 09/19/2014
    Leave a comment
Copyright 2015 Young America's Foundation | 11480 Commerce Park Dr., Suite 600, Reston, VA 20191-1556 | Ph. 1.800.USA.1776 | Fax 703.318.9122 | |