This upcoming Wednesday, Charlie Kirk and Lara Trump will be hosting their Culture War Tour at NC State. For those who don’t know, Culture War is a seminar created by Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA. The description for the event provided by eventbrite is “Come hear Charlie Kirk and Lara Trump take on big government, culture and the left as part of the Culture War Tour!!”
Now, I identify as a liberal, but I do believe that Conservatives have valid points on certain issues and deserve the right to freely express their beliefs. This column will not be about how Charlie Kirk and TPUSA should not be allowed to speak at NC State. Rather, it will be about how TPUSA and Culture War are actually harmful to today’s political discussion.
It is no surprise that politics have become increasingly divisive over the years, with voters becoming increasingly polarized on either side. That being said, it's fairly evident that NC State itself is still very politically diverse. With almost 30% of students identifying as Democratic, Republican and independent, respectively, it is possible for students to have engaging discussions with one another and learn about almost any opposing viewpoints. However, the “Culture War” doesn’t seem to be a place for this form of engagement.
It is expected that Charlie Kirk is going to criticize some of the positions held by liberals. That’s to be expected, and for a lot of other speakers, you could even encourage discussions like this as an important part of democracy, but for Kirk things are different. The way in which Kirk criticizes simply does not contribute to a discussion and only attempts to increase the political divide.
This type of behavior can be seen in his tweets. One tweet has him stating that people on the “left” are a bunch of “Cultural Marxists” who are “determined to destabilize western society” and are “the enemy of freedom.” That seems like quite the stretch, and by labeling a group of people with a certain political ideology as dangerous and having the intention to destroy America, Kirk only contributes further to a political divide that is present in today’s culture.
A part of engaging in a political discussion is to challenge your own political party's position. Sometimes, a person’s political party does not always reflect their views. People should learn to criticize their own parties as this can encourage political candidates to change their positions on certain issues. One of TPUSA's main missions is to teach the importance of the free market. However, Donald Trump has been putting tariffs on European and Chinese goods, which contradicts the idea of the free market. Kirk has even expressed his approval for free trade among countries. So, why is he defending Trump’s actions?
Kirk seems to defend some of Trump’s decisions even if they contradict the main mission of TPUSA. Culture War should talk about the benefits of a free market system and limited government and how the Republican Party might support those missions, rather than parrot what the GOP does.
Finally, TPUSA has a history of hiring people who don’t value diversity. Not to say the organization as a whole is racist, but they have hired multiple people in the past that have expressed some racist thoughts.
For example, former TPUSA National Field Director Crystal Clanton sent a text message that says “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE.” Although Clanton was fired immediately, Kirk had previously said “Turning Point needs more Crystals; so does America.” Additionally, former Chief Creative Officer Benny Johnson once kicked off an event by saying “Oh my God, I've never seen so many white people in one room. This is incredible!”
It is evident that Kirk is not interested in starting a discussion, but rather appealing to the sports mentality that plagues politics: winners and losers. But that isn’t true. One team does not win; instead, everyone loses when both sides refuse to work together.
Kirk needs to realize that the “winning and losing" mentality is not healthy for the future of America. Instead of demonizing the left, he needs to start a discussion on the fallacies of liberal beliefs as well as discussing how well the Republican Party is upholding the values of a limited government and promoting the free market. Until then, he shouldn’t be the one leading the discussion.