Matt’s Traditional American Values: Fighting for life

How a controversy at a conservative conference showed the best of the pro-life movement

Ten years ago, my life was forever changed in one night.  I was a largely politically clueless sixth grader watching a presidential primary debate with my grandparents.  I didn’t even know whether I was a Republican or Democrat or a liberal or a conservative.  My grandfather decided to ask me a series of political questions to try to determine what my politics were, but I could not even understand what he was asking me.  However, one question sparked what has been a lifelong passion since that night: my grandfather asked me how I felt about abortion.  Now, I had never heard of abortion, so I had to ask him what it was.  As soon as he told me, I instantly knew that it was murder and was horrified that it was legal.  Ever since that night, it has been my mission to do everything I can so that I can live to see a day when abortion is no more, even though its scar of 60 million and counting deaths in America alone will remain forever.

Over break, I was actually involved in a minor controversy due to my fight for life.  I attended Turning Point USA’s (TPUSA) Student Activism Summit in West Palm Beach the week before Christmas.  While most of the speakers and attendees were excellent, there was one unfortunate event.  One speaker, Tomi Lahren, had announced earlier in 2017 on The View that she was pro-abortion and had even called pro-life conservatives “hypocrites.” Following the incident, she had seemed hostile to any conservatives who attempted to criticize her on Twitter.  Naturally, a lot of the students at this conference wanted the chance to respectfully confront her on her views during the Q&A session following her speech.  Unfortunately, every student who attempted to ask a question of her on abortion had their questions screened and censored before they could ask it.  At one point, visibly frustrated students hollered out “are you pro-life?” and “what about the babies?” These questions caused Tomi to scold students from the stage.

Fortunately, the end story is positive because of great conservative activists who stood on principle, even when it was unpopular.  A group of close to ten students who had wanted to ask Lahren about abortion, myself included, met with Charlie Kirk, the president of TPUSA, about the incident.  He took responsibility, but said it had been a miscommunication and issued an on-stage apology the next day.  If you are interested in hearing the full story of the incident, please listen to The Conservative VU this Thursday night, as I will be having the leader of the group who fought back on as a guest.

Overall, this was a major victory because we showed other conservative activists what standing up for your beliefs looks like.  I understand that everyone’s pet issues are different, but we need to be unified as conservatives in supporting all conservative policy.  Making a strong but civil stand for life showed everyone else how truly important this issue is to us, as we are fighting to save millions of lives.  

This incident spun into a couple other debates (such as whether it is possible to be conservative if you are not pro-life), and throughout all of the debates, I saw people saying how much it inspired them that people were fighting for their beliefs.  One person even told a pro-life activist that she had been “wavering” in being pro-life, but that seeing the activist’s passion had reaffirmed her pro-life stance.  As a pro-life movement, we will win, both legally and culturally, but only if we show everybody how strongly we are willing to fight for what is right.  The events of the last couple weeks have reminded me how proud I am to be a part of the pro-life movement and how it will always be the most important cause to me.

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Matt Colleran
Matt Colleran is a senior conservative activist at Vanderbilt. On our campus, he has fearlessly defended his values- free markets, traditional values, and a strong national defense-, leading multiple conservative organizations. Additionally, he has had several internships in the conservative movement and has attended countless conferences of conservative activists. The issue that he is most passionate about has always been the right to life, which he views as the most fundamental of all human rights. His favorite president of all-time is Ronald Reagan. All opinions expressed are his own, not those of any organization.

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