Friday, June 17, 2005

An Ode to College Republicans

In college, politics was the furthest thing from my mind. I probably knew generally that I was a conservative, but the only way I was ever going to obtain a copy of any Milton Friedman book was if it came with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you asked me who Hayek was, I probably would have guessed he was the guitar player from Soundgarden with the long beard.

There are, however, a crop of dedicated, attentive young Republicans on campus, who fight adversity on a daily basis. These young minds are crucial to the future success of the party, and do the dirty work that few others are willing to do. During campaigns they distribute literature, make phone calls, enter names into lists, and stand on University Avenue with “Bush/Cheney” signs. At Madison, they might as well be holding signs that say “I never EVER want to get laid.” And yet they forge on, Ayn Rand novels in hand.

I have attended College Republican events. Walk into one, and you may think you have mistakenly wandered into a “Napoleon Dynamite” convention. The only “diversity” among this group is found in disagreements about whether Reagan or Bush should be the next face on Mount Rushmore. Given the cross-tabulations of politics versus age and race, you might have better luck finding a date at a Dungeons and Dragons convention than a minority CR.

Today’s CRs were born during the Reagan years, started t-ball during the Bush years, and grew into young adults during the Clinton years. Many were just starting high school when the Clinton impeachment proceedings were taking place, and may, even at a young age, have been turned off by the moral relativism displayed by Clinton apologists during that time. As they grew into adults, they chose not to blame others for their typical teenage angst, instead channeling it into rigorous self-dependence, a philosophy they now apply to society as a whole.

Many CRs eschew social interaction with liberals, comfortable to split hairs about Bush's Social Security plan than to defend capitalism. There are many, however, that revel in confrontation, and the university student body and administration provide a virtual gold mine of opportunity. If Ann Coulter ever appeared in Maxim, many of them would spontaneously combust.

College Republicans are unfazed by the paucity of their life experience, and move forward with inflexible moral certitude. They have not yet faced the gut wrenching quagmire of thinking their girlfriend is pregnant and wondering what to do (trust me, this has never happened to a College Republican). They have yet to be flat broke and have to care for a sick child or elderly parent. I personally have found that there aren’t any opinions I hold any stronger than those I have personally had to confront, and many of these students have a strong moral base that will serve as a guide when these situations occur.

Campaigns have become more and more dependent of financial resources. More and more attention is paid now to raising and spending money than ever before. What gets lost in the system is the tireless work of those who volunteer to do what nobody else wants to – walking the streets dropping off literature, driving around putting signs up, making phone calls, and other tasks. It is the College Republicans who often make these things happen, and in return all they ask is the occasional free pizza from time to time. College Republicans set lofty goals – they want more self reliance, lower taxes, expanded freedom, and to finally see a woman without her clothes on. As we move to the future of the Republican Party, these are the true believers that deserve our support and our thanks.