U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley gave conservative teenagers gathered in Washington DC some sound advice – avoid using inflammatory language instead of trying to persuade people to your point of view.
She kicked off the High School Leadership Summit sponsored by Turning Point USA (TPUSA) held at George Washington University on Monday. The conference runs until tomorrow and it includes speakers such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Haley asked the audience, “Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted anything online to quote-unquote ‘own the libs.” The Hill reported that many raised their hands and there was spontaneous applause
I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this — are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading? We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn’t leadership — it’s the exact opposite.
Real leadership is about persuasion, it’s about movement, it’s bringing people around to your point of view. Not by shouting them down, but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do.
Haley is spot on. Conservatism can not and should not be boiled down to “owning the libs.” Conservatism should be about conveying ideas related to things such as free markets, limited government, personal responsibility, personal liberty, and protecting the right to life.
Are there times where we should respond to liberal ideas and rhetoric? Absolutely, but we must be civil when we do so.
“Owning the libs” can feel good at times, but, it ultimately won’t advance a conservative agenda. Also, it seems that conservatives will support ANYBODY as long as they “own the libs” which compromises our message.
What’s sad is that there was a time TPUSA was primarily focused on making those kinds of inroads among millennials, but no longer. I was supportive of the organization, and both of my daughters attended their Young Women’s Leadership Summit in the past.
My oldest daughter Kelvey pointed out last month that the organization has gone off the rails:
Short and catchy phrases like, “Big government sucks!” helped attract support, and person after person had a ‘turning point’ in their philosophy after becoming involved. This messaging campaign is what drew me to the organization in the first place; the attention-grabbing phrasing complemented with philosophical education woke me up to many of the issues I am passionate about now.
However, TPUSA left their smart digital media messaging tactics in the dust and instead transformed into a cliche right-wing ‘meme’ page (which are a dime a dozen). Ignoring their target audience, the group started spewing poorly designed, cliche, oversimplified digital content that is not focused on target issues and is unappealing to youth voters.
In a nutshell, TPUSA and its founder Charlie Kirk, and its communication director Candace Owens are all about “owning the libs.”
Haley’s great advice for teenagers is also timely advice Kirk and TPUSA.