By: Amy Lutz
I was bitten by the political bug when I was 5-years-old. In 1996, I sat in front of the television in my parent's living room. It was election night. Sure, I had places to be, people to see (I had new Pocahontas figurines to play with for upstairs). For some reason, though, I sat on the floor in front of my dad and watched the election results roll in. The only thing I knew about politics at the time was that Bill Clinton was our president, and as a 5-year-old whose days consisted of finger painting and dress up, I honestly couldn't care less about his policies. Which was why, when the election results were announced, I was confused why my dad groaned and walked out of the room. How could he be disappointed that our president won? He was the president for crying out loud and we were supposed to support him 100% right? I grew out of that mentality eventually, but at the time, my curiosity was piqued.
My second brush with politics occurred on September 11, 2001. I was in weekly mass with my classmates when Father Gerard, our priest at the time, announced that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I only knew the World Trade Centers by the more common name, "The Twin Towers," and to be honest, I wasn't paying attention anyway, so I just went on with my day. It wasn't until I got home that I really understood the tragedy. As my mother unfurled the Atchison Daily Globe,
and I saw the image of burning buildings on the front page, I realized what had occurred. An act of senseless violence scarred the nation's heart and changed my perception of the nation, politics, and the world, forever. Of course my 10-year-old self didn't completely understand the ramifications of the attack. Over time, however, I did. In the week following the attack, the Globe,
instead of printing their normal ads on the back page, printed an American flag. On the opposite side of the flag was the following quote:"These acts have shattered steel, but they will not dent the steel of American resolve." - George W. Bush.
For the first time in my life, I felt patriotism. No, not fireworks on the 4th patriotism; real patriotism. I wanted to learn more about what made our nation tick and why a tragic event like 9/11 even occurred. (And I still wasn't entirely sure why my dad was so angry about Clinton's re-election.) If you know me well enough, I can't stand not knowing "why," so I learned. A lot. When most of my classmates got hooked on The OC, and later Laguna Beach, I stayed at home at watched Hannity & Colmes. I read Atlas Shrugged, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Coulter. Yes, I was a geek, a nerd, but that geekdom and love of learning got me where I am today. It's who I am, and I'm proud of it.
I became passionate about politics and making the nation and the lives of those around me better. My heart ached after 9/11 and I began to research and support policies that would hopefully prevent senseless, horrific tragedies in the future. "Peace through strength," became my motto. My passion didn't stop there, however. I learned the values of hard work and entrepreneurship from my family. My father grew up in a large, poor family, but because of personal initiative and hard work, most of his (11) siblings own a small business. Our family is thriving (if you want to read more about my family's story go here
). I learned about the free market, about capitalism, and about small government policies that helped my father and my aunts and uncles succeed. In short, I became passionate about small government policies because of my family. I want everyone to achieve success like they did.
When my younger siblings were born, I learned to value life. My younger brother didn't "become" my younger brother when he was born in the Atchison hospital. I knew him as my baby brother long before he was born (read more about the story here
.) Over the years, I learned to value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and it wasn't long before I really started to fight for them.
When I was 15, I took a leap and started participating in speaking tournaments through my high school. And by "leap," I don't mean hop. I mean, "jumping into a dark abyss, not knowing what I'll find below." As a teenager I was shy and scared. It wasn't until late high school when I actually started to speak up in class. Public speaking competitions changed that for me (and I made state every year, by the way). I learned to speak publicly about issues that ignited my passion. All the while, I still made it home in time to catch the news. By the time I was a senior in college, I was known as "that girl who knew waaay
too much about politics." But honestly, there are worse labels I could have received.
Then I entered college. Here's where I'll fast forward a bit. If you want to know about my journey as a conservative in college, check out the blog archives on this site. In short, I took on liberal academia, rose the ranks in College Republicans (I was Chair of my campus chapter & Vice Chair of the state chapter) and finally graduated. I haven't quite adjusted to the "real world," but, hey, it takes time. However, I've reached a point where I'm actually looking back (perhaps not that far back) on my college life and asking not only "why" but "how" I got so involved in politics. Sure, anyone can read my resume, but that's not the whole story.
I started thinking about writing this blog a few days ago when Dana Loesch posted a piece titled "On the 'Lady Bro
.'" If you haven't read it, do so now. I'll be here when you get back. I was awed at how accurate
the label "Lady Bro" described a large segment of young people, including those in politics. As a baby College Republican, I was shocked at how important the "bro" culture was to an individual's success in the organization, or in politics at all for that matter. You want to be taken seriously as a young conservative woman? The overwhelming mentality is that you have to "be one of the guys." Getting drunk at your first CPAC is basically a right of passage. However, it was a right of passage I did not partake in. And yes, you're probably saying "that happens in college, whether you're in politics or not." True, but it's a valuable part of my story. Stay with me here.
*Let me add here that I'm not against drinking socially, even in college. It's the perception that "you must get wasted to fit in" that I fight against. Seriously, we don't want a generation of drunks leading our nation in 10-15 years.*
I was never a "Lady Bro." At the time (we're talking freshman, sophomore year here), however, I didn't think I stood a chance of making it in politics anyway. Sure I could write; sure I was reliable and hard working. However, I didn't ever see myself as "making it." I was still at that point in my life (and still, to some degree, have yet to outgrow) where self-doubt was a large part of my thinking. I was an awkward, sci-fi geek who happened to know a bit about politics. I didn't see myself as a Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, or Michelle Malkin. I was told right and left that "conservative women are hotter," but I never thought that concept fit me. I never thought I'd be in the esteemed group off College Republican females who would someday grace the screens of FoxNews or the stage at CPAC. There were times, honestly, where I considered giving up politics because I didn't think I was "pretty enough, thin enough (or whatever the standard of the day was)" to be noticed. I lacked confidence, but I didn't lack a desire to succeed. If, like me, you've faced similar demons, don't let them stop you. The night is darkest just before the dawn. (I knew I needed to fit a Batman reference in here somewhere...)
There's a reason why the Star Wars quote "Do or do not. There is not try," has stuck with me all these years. I wasn't always the most confident young conservative and I didn't spend my weekends "bro-ing" it out with the guys, but I "did things." I went to every College Republicans meeting and when they needed volunteers, I was there. When there was a policy or issue I wanted to fight, I wrote about it. I spoke about it. I busted my ass in college, to say the least. Whether it was an internship or a position in a club, I learned to ask for what I wanted. I lost count of the sleepless nights I spent either writing and researching or worrying about what I could do to make my organization better. I fought both literal and symbolic bullies, both in my personal life and in the political realm. Despite my doubts, despite my shortcomings, I was a fighter. And I succeeded because of it.
I'm writing this article for two reasons. One, it's therapeutic for me. (What can I say? I'm still a bit selfish.) However, I really wanted to write this article because I know there are thousands of young women in the conservative movement right now (and outside of it), who are "stuck" in the same spot I was just a couple years ago. You don't have to put yourself in a box. Sure, we all can agree that the pro-abortion, birth-control-obsessed feminist movement isn't the place for us. Seriously, we have more self-respect than that. However, I know that we're still trying to find our place; find how we, as strong women, and as conservatives, can make a small impact in the world. You don't have to be a "LadyBro," and you don't have to let your own self-doubt stop you from doing what you need to do to succeed. Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." If you see something at your school, in your city, or in the nation that you want to change, do it. It's simple, but it's not easy. It takes LOTS of hard work and drive to succeed, but it's possible. All of the blood, sweat and tears are worth it. Trust me, I know. If a socially awkward, self-doubting recent college grad can make it, you can too.
A big reason why I love being a conservative is the fact that my like-minded peers and I fight daily for the individual. We talk about policies and philosophies that personify personal responsibility and individuality, but why not exercise this fight it in your own life? "Be yourself" is a cliche, but it's true. You don't have to be a "bro" or drop-dead gorgeous to make an impact. Let your individuality shine, for you know, we all have something unique to add to the fight. All you need is ambition and a dash of talent, and you'll accomplish wonders.
By: Amy LutzAs a recent college graduate, I've been asking myself this question quite often lately. Was burying myself in student loan debt worth it? Could I have gotten an equivalent education elsewhere, or should I have even gone to college at all? I began to ponder these questions, and others, this morning, after it was reported that 53% of college graduates under the age of 25 are either employed or unemployed.
That's dangerously high, and it certainly makes me wonder why college students still
vote in droves for the party (*cough* Democrats *cough*) whose policies help cause this unemployment. That, however, is a blog for another time
. What I'm more concerned with now is whether or not my time (and money) was worth the education I received over the past four years. Was yours?Overall, the education I received in college was acceptable. I maintained good grades and was fortunate enough to be one of the few grads to have a job upon graduation (I AM THE 47%!). But, could I have gotten the same benefits without a university? And without the debt? Let's explore.It's difficult to deny that I did in fact learn a lot while I was in school. Whether or not "Drugs We Use & Abuse" and "Theology 101" (Taught by a Glenn-Beck-hating Marxist) will ever come in handy is unknown. Yet, I did in fact learn quite a bit while I was in college. However,
again, was taking classes at a university 5 days a week really necessary for my education? With a little bit of ambition, I certainly could have taught myself just about everything I learned from a professor in college. Considering my major (History), perhaps more. Without a few liberal professors here and there, I would at least had to deal with less bias and prejudice. Conversely, a large benefit of a classroom education is the
challenge of meeting course standards. In other words, "making the grade." The pressure on students to receive an acceptable GPA does boost learning, considering grades and intelligence (and/or time spent studying) are directly related. Deciding against higher education does eliminate this benefit, but that doesn't automatically mean that it's impossible to educate yourself without the external pressure provided by professors, tests & grades. You just need the internal drive to succeed, which for some people is enough. Others need a little push.
Yet, the benefits of having grades to monitor your progress also be achieved in a community or technical college, where the format is similar, but the cost (and time spent) is lower. Why spend $35,000 a year on a 4-year education you could just as easily receive in 2 years for a fourth of the price? In some cases, you might be missing out on the networking or opportunities provided by a larger university, but in others only the prestige factor is missing. It's really comes down to a case by case basis. While I might often rail against the negatives of university life (liberal academia, overbearing student loans, etc.), I do honestly believe that college provided me with opportunities that would be difficult
(or impossible) to find elsewhere. I served as the Chair of the St. Louis University College Republicans and the Vice Chair of the Missouri College Republicans. I took part in multiple internships, from which almost all of my post-grad opportunities/positions have stemmed. On another note, I can't deny that I made great friends and grew spiritually, emotionally and educationally during my 4 years of undergraduate education. Yet, I keep coming back to the same question, was it worth it? Was the experience
of college worth $35,000+ a year?Personally, I wouldn't change my college experience for anything. I can't yet say it's actually worth the money I put into it, for that's something that I will not be able to address for years. Could I have possibly learned more at a less expensive institution? Probably. Could I have still made great friends and lasting connections without spending 4 years stuck in inner-city St. Louis? Perhaps. However, I wouldn't be *exactly* where I am today without my college experience (Translation: Hindsight is 20-20). That's my personal decision, though, and that's what counts most. College worked for me, but it doesn't work for everyone. The assumption that "you need a bachelor's degree to succeed"
is simply a myth. I know multiple people (both older and younger than I) who are much smarter and are much more successful than I am, and they decided against going to a traditional 4-year institution. Clearly, university life isn't for many, considering that 53% of us (college grads) can't find a job to fit our diploma (Here's looking at you Women's Studies majors), and most of us are up to our eyeballs in debt. Determining college's worth is not up to the collective. It's up to the individual. Unlike those t-shifts that scantily-clad cheerleaders toss our at Cardinals games, college is not one-size-fits all.
By: Amy LutzRecently Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced a "grassroots" initiative urging women to blog about Obamacare. "
Many uninsured Americans know little about how the law will affect them," said Sebelius. She couldn't be more right. Unfortunately for all Americans (women included), the "facts" (Or FACT as @BarackObama would put it) aren't all that accurate, given that they're filtered through the administration that passed the law in the first place. So, I urge real
grassroots activists to fight back. The battleground is here and the time is now. We can not longer wait until the law goes into full-effect before we really work against it. The time is now. Want to join #WomenAgainstObamacare? Take the following steps:1.) Tweet under the hashtag #WomenAgainstObamacare the reasons why you're against the law. Here are a few suggestions
- Aren't we taxed enough already? Obamacare adds more than $500 billion in new taxes.
- Obamacare raises insurance costs for young people, dramatically.
- You like your plan? Do you want to keep it? Too bad.
- Obamacare means fewer doctors.
- The law inevitably leads to layoffs.
- And there's MUCH MORE. Remember to educate yourself on the law.
2.) BLOG about it. Are you a woman against Obamacare? Then draft up a post and tweet it! 3.) Is your Representative or Senator dragging their feet when it comes to fighting Obamacare? Then contact them! The more constituents they hear from, the better. Dana Loesch provides a great list here. Remember, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. Tired of the Democrats treating women like shills for their party (even though they can boast members like Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner)? Then do something about it. If you're a woman against Obamacare, then
By: Amy LutzDuring President Obama's speech in Warrensburg, Missouri this past Wednesday, a group of 10 College Republicans were not allowed to witness the President's speech because they were deemed a "security threat."
The group had been peacefully protesting in a "public speech" zone set far away from the locati
on of the president's speech, but had put their signs away before they got in line to see the president. The were
however wearing patriotic and "tea party" garb. The horror. Be sure to read MOCR Secretary Lindsey Kolb's write up on the event here. In response to the outcry and coverage of the controversy from various media outlets including FoxNews, The College Fix, National Review, and Campus Reform
, the University of Central Missouri, where the even was held, released a statement.
*Note that they didn't actually answer my original question*
So instead of valuing the concerns of their students, UCM chose to reject their tale. If students (with tickets) are being turned away at a university event because of political affiliation, shouldn't that be..you know, addressed? It's utterly disrespectful to respond to claims of discrimination with "you're lying." Switch out political affiliation for race, sexuality, or gender. Do you really think UCM would be ok with discrimination then? Again, the students HAD tickets and were still turned away. See below:
In this case, "you lie," isn't an acceptable response. The College Republicans and the UCM student body as a whole deserve more. Until then, however, CRs don't plan on backing down. Treasurer Courtney Scott appeared on the Laura Ingrahm Show and Chair A.J. Feather appeared on Fox News' America Live. Unfortunately for UCM and the president, this controversy isn't going away anytime soon.
By: Amy Lutz
Detroit has seemingly found the perfect solution to solving its bankruptcy woes. It worked for Michael Scott, right. RIGHT? After all, this is about as brilliant as the liberal policies that got Detroit into this mess in first place.
By: Amy Lutz
Watch and weep.
By: Amy Lutz
Media Matters writer Eric Boehlert
had a field day today after he discovered this USA Today article
describing what he believes to be proof of Tea Party violence. In part it reads:
A Ku Klux Klansman working for General Electric and an accomplice are facing terrorism charges in Upstate New York for allegedly planning to build a mobile X-ray weapon to kill Muslims and other "enemies of Israel," federal authorities announced Wednesday.
Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Galway, N.Y., and Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, N.Y., were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said. They were due in federal court in Albany on Wednesday.
Crawford, an industrial mechanic with GE, claimed the "Hiroshima on a light switch" device could fit in a van, be triggered remotely and deliver lethal doses of ionizing radiation that would kill its targets as they slept, the complaint stated. Feight allegedly agreed to build the electronic controls.
Their target was the Muslim community, the complaint stated, and they had successfully tested the remote trigger from about a half-mile away.
The article goes on to claim that Crawford is listed by the Tea Party Patriots as a coordinator of "Americans Demanding Liberty and Freedom," a supposed Tea Party group. Furthermore, he sent an FBI-monitored email earlier this year in which he called President Obama a "bedwetting maggot in chief." At first glance, the article does
in fact appear to name Crawford as a KKK Member, Tea Party organizer, and all around hater of President Obama. However, unfortunately for Mr. Boehlert and pals, such a shallow reading of the incident lacks accuracy. First, I'd like to be clear that I do believe that Crawford, provided the charges are accurate (of which I have no doubt), is a violent radical of the worst kind, and likely quite unhinged, a fact which probably sparked his nonsensical radicalism in the first place. However, the connection between Crawford and the Tea Party is very, very weak. First off, the USA Today article in which this story was printed listed a Facebook page with a whopping....wait for it....12 members as the home site of "Americans Demanding Liberty and Freedom." Perhaps the writers of this article aren't aware, but ANYONE can create a Facebook page and it's not that difficult to tag on a few (read: 12) fans, especially if it's one throwing out red meat (for the most part) to supporters of the Constitution.
If you click the link listed for the organization's website (located on the Facebook page), it goes to this link
which states that the webpage is currently having issue or is undergoing maintenance. Basically, it's a faulty website. Furthermore, the article states that "Americans Demanding Liberty and Freedom"
is a recognized group listed on the Tea Party Patriots website, which means, based upon Mr. Boehlert's thin logic, that TPP obviously endorses everything this group does. There are two problems with this. 1. Just like on Facebook, anyone can create a page on Tea Party Patriots. It's not as if they go through a rigorous vetting process for the thousands of user made pages on the site. 2. Even if a rigorous vetting process were in place, there is nothing on this Tea Party "group's" page which would flag it for any sort of radicalism. The tagline for the group is "
Devoted to restoring the Constitution as the law of the land by electing a government that will work for the PEOPLE to restore Americas freedoms, economic security, and soveriegnty." Sure, it could have been flagged for bad grammar and misspellings, but that's about it. To call Crawford a run-of-the-mill Tea Partier is a pretty weak thesis. Does he identify himself with the Tea Party? Yes. Does his greatly dislike President Obama? Yes. However, to claim that his racism and radicalism can be projected onto the entire Tea Party movement is simply an illogical, and naive, argument. Sure, if the Tea Party was routinely posting his insane rants on their front page, Eric Boehlert would have a point. But they didn't. I honestly believe that most leaders within the Tea Party didn't even know this man existed. He runs a Facebook page with 12 followers. I mean, come on. Now, what Tea Partiers need to do is make sure that we reject Crawford's arguments and refuse to stand by his insane theories and perspectives. Not that I believe his point-of-view is shared by many (or any) Tea Parties, but when your movement is perpetually accused of having ties to terror (though no such ties have been found), you have to be on the offensive. Now, to flip Eric Boehlert's theory on it's head.
If all it takes to blame the entire Tea Party for terrorist are the anti-Obama rantings of one accused terror suspect, can't we apply the same logic to liberals and Democrats? Or any political, religious or ideological affiliation for that matter? So an atheist blows up a federal building in Oklahoma. Does that mean all atheists are to blame? Of course not. If a schizophrenic man afraid of poor grammar shoots a Congresswoman, does that mean English teachers should be at fault? No. This type of argument applies broad generalizations we normally call "racism" if applied to a specific race. I know Mr. Boehlert wouldn't want to apply this logic to African Americans, so why apply it to the Tea Party?
By: Amy Lutz Freedom and security are not mutually exclusive. I'm not free to break into my neighbor's house (well, I can, but it won't end up well for me). I'm not free to attack someone for disagreeing with me politically. There's this little thing called battery I'd have to contend with.
However, beyond the basic, and necessary, laws we have in place to protect our natural rights, we should be (theoretically) free to engage in the pursuit of happiness without worrying about infringements on our life, liberty or property.NSA Director Keith Alexander doesn't agree. He claims that as many as 50 terrorist attacks have been foiled since 9/11 due to the work of PRISM and the NSA's surveillance. All the government had to do was put on the guise of Big Brother and trample all over our right to privacy. Wrong. The situation Alexander presents is a mere false dichotomy. His implication is that without the massive surveillance and data collection carried out by the NSA, we'd be facing an attack approximately once every 86 days. This is a blatant falsehood. The NSA isn't facing a choice between proper surveillance (attained with a warrant of those suspected of engaging in criminal activity) and universal surveillance, but that's what Keith Alexander's statement implies. We're not supposed to choose between freedom and security. We can have both. The issue at hand is that the federal government has crossed the line between doing their jobs and engaging in overly-invasive, privacy-violating, and possibly illegal surveillance. Of course the NSA has every right to protect us against terrorism, but they can do that WITHOUT the invasive surveillance tactics they've used.I don't know about you, but I value my privacy. Sure, I've never committed a crime and the only thing incriminating in my phone records is a couple text messages ranting about an unpaid parking ticket. However, that's not the point. When you give the government an inch they take a mile. They've already taken a mile and what's to say the next one doesn't end up in your back yard?