Emerson: Confessions of a College Conservative

Thomas Emerson

I have a dirty little secret. I voted for Bush in 2000. And I’m voting for him again. I think he’s doing a good job, and I’ll defend him from criticism any day.

But it is incredibly chic to criticize George W. Read The Villanovan’s editorial page, haven to liberal professors wanting an opportunity to rail against, rant about, and revile our president. Walk the halls of SAC, plastered with articles and cartoons from “The New York Times” (that bastion of unbiased journalism) that childishly snip about Bush’s leadership.

These same liberals who control the opinion page and oversee SAC’s interior design scheme complain that sensitive and zealous (also known as conservative) students attack their positions and tear down cartoons from their doors. They paint challenges to their control as attacks on free speech. If I ever were to reveal that their constant war criticisms and assertions that soldiers are victims of the government really don’t make our troops feel all that loved, I would be told I was trying to silence the minority voice of liberal dissent.

But has anyone ever noticed who is doing all the talking at our universities? The liberals. Listen to the man in the pulpit on Sunday, look at the anti-war rally e-mails that filled your inboxes last year, look at the newspapers in your dorms (that pesky “New York Times” again): the campus liberals don’t appear to be suffering much from oppression. But let’s take a brief jaunt through Villanova history for some proof: how about an examination of past commencement speakers, those individuals chosen by the university to transmit Villanova’s ideals to departing graduates?

2000: Dr. Doris Kearns Goodwyn, the liberal historian of FDR (you remember, the one criticized for plagiarism? But perhaps that was only a conservative plot to silence her voice!). 2001: Dr. John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University, whose office’s website recently admitted that “university faculties in general … are disproportionately Democratic in their party affiliation and liberal in their ideological orientation … Stanford is not unusual in this regard.”

The university invited Brian Williams of NBC for the 2003 commencement. He delivered this piece of wisdom:

“You may hear some higher educated people, who are old enough to know better … mistaking questions about this nation’s policy for a lack of patriotism … try not to be like them when you grow up.”

I could complain that such university-sponsored propaganda creates a culture that oppresses my freedom of speech, but the liberals would tell me I was whining. They’re the ones inviting speakers like Brian Williams, they’re the ones in control – they’re the ones doing all the talking.

Let’s travel to another college campus, this time to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Recently, the administration installed a series of photographs in the political science building. These “artworks” depicted such beautiful things as a Condoleeza Rice look-a-like dressed like a drunken prostitute, and a Bush look-a-like groping scantily-clad women, wedding ring glinting in the camera’s light. Naturally, the college conservatives complained, for such blatant propaganda has no business hanging in the political science building.

Oh please, the university complained, these are works of art, expressions of free speech! After all, we’re fair and balanced: we hung a tiny news photograph of Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky in this same gallery during the Clinton scandal. So the conservatives publicly expressed their outrage. The university officials, the gallery administrator and the artist all cried that the conservatives were attempting to silence that minority voice of dissent again. What minority? The only minority here was the conservatives decrying the photographs while the administrators snickered about their coup.

This is the sort of thing happening everywhere: liberals throwing out tidbits (like a Clinton photo or a guilty admission that they are proud of our troops) to “prove” that they actually aren’t controlling the universities, and when the conservatives protest, the liberals cry: “Our civil rights are under attack!” Give me a break.

So next time, while you are wandering down the halls of SAC and wondering if anyone likes our government and our president, know that many do. There is a world beyond SAC and the liberal grounds of this campus. In the real world you will realize that liberals really aren’t minority voices of dissent under attack, for they not only control our colleges, but the media and our nation’s cultural centers as well. And know that you can do something about it.

In the 1976 satiric flick “Network,” crazed televangelist Howard Beale, ranting against the world he lives in, encouraged America to open its windows and shout its disgust for all to hear. If you have realized that these “oppressed” liberals are indeed the oppressors, I encourage you to go to your dorm room window, hurl up the sash and claim Howard’s battle cry as your own: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!”