LTTE: Deception Point USA

Guest Author

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(Graphic Illustration by Christine Moore-Bonbright | The Collegian)

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So there I was, Wednesday, March 24, strolling across The Plaza, when I see a curious thing. It’s a stack of boxes, maybe 7 feet tall, with white paper plastered across its front and clearly impromptu Sharpie writing thereupon. The Plaza is often party to slightly eye-catching things, but this seemed different.


So I go on over for a gape when I hear a shout: “Hey, do you wanna write on the free speech wall?” “Free speech wall,” I think, “What a wonderfully American thing.” Having nothing to say offhand, I mutter something about going to think on it over lunch and trudge on to the Lory Student Center to nosh.

Over my bagel, it comes to me what I shall write: “Politician (n.): Someone who talks a lot yet says little.” Seeing as this strikes me as clever and true, and as the free speech wall is on the way to my next class, I resolve that I will write this thing. So I go back and I write. At first, those around remark, “Whoa, he actually thought about something to write. I bet it’s good” — as if thinking about what you write is a revelation.

To misrepresent Turning Point as nonpartisan is not only disingenuous but it shows that what they stand for is found so largely objectionable by students that they won’t even own it up front.”

So I finish off my mind graffiti only to be swiftly approached by one of this wall’s sponsors with a speech of approximately, “Hi! I’m so-and-so. I’m part of a nonpartisan group: Turning Point USA. We’re all about free speech and personal liberty,” and blah blah blah, and “Can we get your contact info?” Now, that last bit should have raised some flags, given that I’m a relatively private guy, but seeing as these are all noble American ideals, I say “sure” and proceed to write my info on the contact sheet I am handed. After departing, I proceed to investigate.

Little did I know, folks, this group is in no way nonpartisan. I suppose I should have surmised as much from the “(Barack) Obama” — a president well out of office — (hearts) drones” and “Voter fraud is real” — as if the latter is in any way remotely statistically significant. Check the data.

In fact, they are — you guessed it — a solidly right-wing political entity composed of people around our age and vehemently supportive of an ultra-right-wing agenda. One need not Google any further than their founder, Charlie Kirk, to get some idea of their fervency.

They have been associated with an unseemly number of racist and sexist controversies and are roundly and rightly panned as outspoken hacks. I would urge investigation of the “diaper incident” at Kent State University to get a feel for what they’re all about. The whole affair is a little hilarious and unsettling, but the bit I find most revealing is that after the incident, TPUSA completely disowned this chapter. Way to look after your own. No reactionary left behind.

Upon learning this after digitally poking about, I was appalled, and with all due haste, I returned to feverishly cross out the info I had so naively and freely given before.

The point is this: I swing neither left nor right. I find both to be severely lacking and long for a third, better way. But to misrepresent Turning Point as nonpartisan is not only disingenuous but it shows that what they stand for is found so largely objectionable by students that they won’t even own it up front.

If you’re going to stand for something — anything — at least stand tall. You shouldn’t have to feign your association. If you’re not willing to do that, why stand up at all? Idealism is a realm deceptive and reluctant thinkers ought not wade into: It is an arena for those proud and sure of what they support and say.

I wish I had another crack at that free speech wall. I’d write something a little bit different.


Sean Millett Rau

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