Lessons from Georgetown: We can do better

Lessons from Georgetown: We can do better

There are moments when we need to step back, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that there is more at stake in this country than scoring political points. One such moment occurred this week.

By now, you’ve probably seen the video of liberal protestors harassing Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan who was slated to deliver the keynote address at an immigration conference at Georgetown University. The protests were so disruptive that McAleenan was unable to speak, even as conference organizers pleaded with the protestors to stop – to no avail. 

Some on the left will hail this disruption as an act of resistance. But let’s be honest: This kind of resistance doesn’t move the ball forward, doesn’t bring us closer to solutions, doesn’t save lives, and doesn’t change minds. In fact, these protests accomplish the opposite. They exacerbate division in this country, when we need to find ways to bridge the gap. They inflame extremists who are more interested in screaming than talking.

I hope the protesters who attended the Georgetown event will take a moment to reflect on their actions. Two days later, what have they accomplished? They certainly made news, and enjoyed their 15 minutes of notoriety, but at what cost? Not only did they deny Acting Secretary McAleenan the opportunity to express his views, they denied the audience the right to ask McAleenan tough questions and offer an alternative viewpoint.

This latest incident goes to the heart of how we engage with each other in civil society. It begs the crucial question: how will we fix our broken immigration system if we can’t have a civil debate about the issue?

Our immigration system certainly needs fixing. From an overwhelmed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to a porous border, we need action. But politicians in Washington have dropped the ball, and extremists have turned the issue into a political weapon. If we have any hope of fixing the border crisis it will be by talking to each other and finding common ground.

And how can college campuses foster big ideas to change the world if only one viewpoint can ever be heard? To make change in the world it takes more than an opinion and yelling. You have to have an open conversation and understand each side. Our future depends on America continuing to be the marketplace for ideas.

2,000 reasons to be hopeful about the next generation

2,000 reasons to be hopeful about the next generation

If you listen to or read the mainstream news, you would think there are a lot of reasons to be discouraged about the next generation of Americans.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported that belief in patriotism, God and family is in a free fall among Millennials and Gen Zers. And a Gallup poll shows support for socialism on the rise with younger voters.

But this past weekend, I found a reason to be hopeful.

Actually, I found almost 2,000 reasons. Last Sunday, I joined Congressman Dan Crenshaw in participating in the inaugural Youth Summit in Houston, Texas, where almost 2,000 high school and college students joined us to find how they can become more involved in politics, government, and public service.

The response from students was amazing. From The Texan:

Fourteen-year-old Hailey told The Texan that she came to the summit because she is concerned about policies that might infringe on 1st and 2nd Amendment rights.

Hailey already knew a lot about the Bill of Rights, but said, “I learned more about the background of some of the [socialist] policies, and about the Democratic Socialism that they’re trying to force on us.”  

It was truly inspiring.

I have great faith in the next generation of conservatives and all of us have a responsibility to ensure their success. These young people are ready to use the power of their voices. When they are educated with good facts, they will make the right decisions. Unfortunately, many of them face intimidating environments on their campuses. That’s why showing them our support, through events like the Houston Youth Summit, is one of the most important things we can do.

We face big challenges at home and around the world. It is easy to focus on the scandals and the partisan rancor; it is easy to lose sight of the good and the right with the constant barrage of politicians and pundits telling us what is wrong.

That’s why I try to remind myself every single day: Even on our worst day, we are blessed to be Americans. We are blessed to live in a country where close to 2,000 high school and college students drove hours to participate in an event that celebrated freedom, capitalism, and patriotism. We are blessed to live in a country where hope and perseverance prevail.

These young Americans are a large part of the reason why I started Stand For America and why we are getting ready to launch a student program.

The next generation of conservatives is counting on us. I hope you will all join us in empowering them.

The Left’s Cowardice on Venezuela

The Left’s Cowardice on Venezuela

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is the kind of issue that should supersede politics. It shouldn’t matter what political party you belong to; it shouldn’t matter whom you voted for. Every political leader in America should condemn Maduro’s iron grip. Every political leader should root for the Venezuelan people.