Kyle Bristow, Spartan Spectator (Michigan State University), February 24, 2008
I have been the chairman of the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF) chapter for over a year-and-a-half, and felt that it is time to step down so that the next generation of YAFers can replace me. MSU-YAF existed during the 1960s, but died off until 2001. The group was restarted by Max McPhail, who was the media relations person for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), which banned race-preference in Michigan. Other former YAF chairmen include Craig Burgers, Alex Hart, and Luke Pelican. The usual YAF chairman only holds the position for a year, so my year-and-one-semester reign is unique.
MSU-YAF was going to die out had I not taken the leadership role of the group at the end of my freshman year of college. Since that time, I have organized countless protests; have participated in debates on topics including embryonic stem cell research, race-preferences, and immigration; have organized speeches by Nick Griffin, chairman of the British National Party; Congressman Tom Tancredo; Chris Simcox, founder and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (we hosted him not once but twice); “urban conservative” Akindele Akinyemi; Ryan Sorba, the author of the forthcoming book The Born Gay Hoax; Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies; and John Mangopoulos, a former congressional candidate and local conservative activist. I also organized screenings of Obsession, a movie about Islamic extremism, and Mind Your Own Business, a film about radical environmentalism. For the latter documentary, the film directors flew to Michigan State University from Romania for the event. I also organized the upcoming speech by Walid Shoebat, who is a former Islamic terrorist and now speaks out against Islam. Though MSU-YAF is not officially hosting Jared Taylor as a speaker this semester, I did see to it that he will be able to speak at a location near MSU and be hosted by another organization (the show will go on!). For all of these events, I organized them, raised the money to pay for them, and assisted with the advertisement — whether it was through posters, chalking, or through electronic medium.
I have been interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor, quoted by Sean Hannity on The Hannity & Colmes Show, and interviewed by the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Associated Press, Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times. My aggressiveness with defending conservatism has caused students at Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, University of Michigan-Flint, Olivet College, and colleges in Kentucky and Indiana to start YAF chapters. Nick Griffin, who spoke at Michigan State University, was once banned from speaking at universities in England. Because of our example of hosting him as a speaker, students at Oxford recently hosted him. Just last weekend, I received an email from a student who attends the University of Colorado who is interested in starting a YAF chapter. The influence that I as an individual had on political discourse while involved in YAF is immeasurable.
The Lansing State Journal has said of me that I am “the single-most reviled student at Michigan State University,” that I am a “die-hard conservative,” and am “the most vocal voice in East Lansing on issues like illegal immigration, English-only government and affirmative action.” The Detroit Wonk has said of me that I am “the most hated/prominent young right-winger on MSU’s campus.” The Michigan Conservative Dossier listed me as the top college conservative activist in the state of Michigan. I was recognized by the Phillips Foundation as one of the nation’s top conservative activists.
The extremely left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) decided to put my YAF chapter on their annually released “hate group” list. My critics at the SPLC have said of me that I am “incredibly anti-gay. And [am] terribly insensitive to immigration . . .” I do not know why they mentioned those two things, but they could also have said that I am terribly insensitive to abortion, race-preferences, socialism, supranational government, and Islamic extremism as well.
The experiences I have had as the chairman of MSU-YAF will stay with me for a lifetime. The incident where I raised a “Dump Debbie” placard as Senator Debbie Stabenow tried to deliver a speech at the MSU Student Union about environmental policy, being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly via satellite in the TV studio in Lansing, the time when MSU-YAF members drove to Kentucky to meet members of Kentucky-YAF at a gun show, the arrest of Jose Villagran at our first Chris Simcox speech, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative victory party in which Jennifer Gratz thanked MSU-YAF in her victory speech for our work in ending race-preferences in Michigan, harassing the ACLU at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) every year for the last three years, and the attempted interrogation of me by MSU police at the police station are the more memorable moments that I have had as the leader of MSU-YAF.
Matt Ogonowski and Eric Thieleman will replace me as the leader of YAF — they will both serve as YAF co-chairmen. Over the course of the last month I have trained them how to run the organization, how to organize events, how to fundraise, how to deal with the media, and how to deal with the bureaucracy of the leftist regime that is referred to as the “MSU administration.” Eric Thieleman — from start to finish — organized the upcoming Cal Zandstrow speech that will take place on March 28th.
I have no regrets as to what I did, said, or planned to do while serving as the chairman of MSU-YAF. I am very proud of my exploits.
While I was driving back to Michigan State University from home today, I saw a solitary Bald Eagle flying above the expressway. It was flying in the same direction that I was driving. The eagle is a symbol of the freedom of my country that I hope to preserve for future generations of Americans. I find it fitting to pass the torch of freedom that I have carried for the last year-and-a-half on to the next generation of YAF leaders on the same day that I saw the eagle flying.
Western culture has not yielded any territory at Michigan State University since I served as the chairman of MSU-YAF. Neither will territory be yielded under the leadership of Matt Ogonowski and Eric Thieleman. They — like all people who advocate conservative politics, promote freedom, and defend Western civilization — will have my full support in all of their future endeavors.