This article is a personal reflection on the difficult situations that I was faced with during my involvement in Californias College Republicans (CCR). It started in late 2015, when I decided I would pursue a potential political future within the Republican Party. I filed an official application to create a college republicans chapter at Saddleback College, and found myself with great support from various individuals across the country.
The first few months were good, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my local GOP, and supported local candidates for office. I was involved in various activities including attendance of our local GOP central assembly. I began to create new friendships and network with some of Orange County’s leadership. The future looked bright, and at one point I was awarded with OCGOP’s volunteer of the month award, for my involvement in the county’s Tet Festival, and other important activities. I received honors from the California State Assembly, and the County of Orange. So at this point you’re probably wondering where things went bad right?
My vision of the GOP began to change as I realized the dark side of the political machine that exists both in the RNC and in the DNC. Politics is by no means a friendly world. The people who I encountered from fellow universities would greet me with kindness, only to mask their self interest. I soon realized that the environment I was in, was a dog eat dog world. Nothing is off limits, and the lengths people will take to gain political clout and influence continue to boggle my mind. I don’t attribute this fault to the character of the GOP itself, nor to the assembly members of OCGOP, but rather the college battleground.
The College Republican National Committee (CRNC), is an entity established to promote grassroots partisan activity from college students. My experience with them was initially good, until I saw the truth. Every individual whom I had encountered, were interested in their own future political office, not the ethics behind conservatism. These people use a platform of “ethics” to participate in unethical activity. From seeing a friend impeached from his own club because of politically incorrect jokes, to members flaunting their so called achievements to the world, these issues became more and more apparent.
At a conference in San Diego, I had the joy of experiencing the “Future of the GOP”. Trust me, it was anything but joyous. From the start, I knew this conference had some serious issues, but it wasn’t until the first night did I realize what the actual purpose behind these get togethers were. I saw these “Future Leaders” drinking alcohol until they could barely walk. At one point, two individuals proceeded to urinate in front of the bar, while another threw up in a nearby bush. So you may be thinking to yourself, this is just some of the people, it can’t possibly be a reflection of the CCR’s as a whole?! Unfortunately, this is not the case. In a Facebook post from the CCR group itself, the reception was purposely advertised to attract alcohol seeking youngsters who most likely are dually involved in fraternities on campus.
So at this point you are realizing my issue with this group of so called principled individuals. If a groups way of marketing a conference involves images of hard alcohol, there may be an issue with their true intentions.
Following the conference and a wonderful confrontation between CCR state member Ivy Allen, I realized that this entire organization was truly for a different purpose than ethics. The CCR’s and CRNC, are a recruiting system for regional political parties to find volunteers and campaigns staffers to help candidates get elected. There is no motivation for students to run for office, nor is there any inkling of principled politics.
In the weeks following the conference, I decided it was time to cancel my colleges CR chapter. Its around this time that I had the chance to attend a YAF conference, and realized my true calling. Young Americas Foundation, is a 501 C(3) nonprofit that has dedicated itself to making REAL change on our college campuses. Founded in 1960 by William F. Buckley Jr., YAF has since been the leader in campus activism that is based on ethics and principles, not on politics. Buckley wrote The Sharon Statement, a document outlining the beliefs and affirmations of young Americans who hold the future of this nation close to their heart. I believe he wanted to create a group of young people who chose hardline ethics over political expedience. Through his legacy, and the acquisition of Ronald Reagans Ranch, YAF has done more to impact college campuses than any group to date.
Whether its bringing speakers like Ben Shapiro, or attending conferences with some of the worlds greatest leaders, YAF takes every possible measure to ensure its members feel part of a family. I personally have grown in my appreciation and knowledge of conservatism through leaders in the organization, and I am forever thankful to the generous donors that have made my attendance to conferences possible. YAF gave me a reason to fight for my beliefs, it gave me principles above politics. The CRNC gave me hell. I would urge my peers to take a hard look at political clubs on campus. While 2016 may be empowering to republicans, it does not mean that suddenly joining a political club will secure a political future.
“Truth is a demure lady, much too ladylike to knock you on your head and drag you to her cave. She is there, but people must want her, and seek her out.”-William F. Buckley Jr.
I joined YAF because I care about the future of this nation, and I believe ethics come above politics and pundits. Now you can hate me for this, or you can join me, but my love for this organization is out of a bond and a family that I’ve made, and I will cherish these moments for years to come.