21-year old Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, was the main speaker at Patriots United’s annual breakfast Saturday morning in Crystal Lake.
Kirk told of trying to interest local Northwest suburban Republicans as well as national Republicans in getting young people interested in conservative issues.
Having gotten figurative pats on the head, but no action, Kirk decided to do it himself.
On the day that Wisconsin Republican Govenror Scott Walker won his recall election–June 5, 2012–Kirk filed incorporation papers for his 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
Last weekend he told those attending the meeting of how his group has grown to have impact on about 750 college campuses.
The crowd was impressed enough to pony up about $25,500 to finance someone to register young voters and create a presence at McHenry County College and local high schools, starting at Marian Central Catholic High School. ($33,000 is needed to run the program for a year.)
Kirk told how he had applied to West Point but been rejected because of what I would characterize as “affirmative action.”
He went to local political events and discovered he was the youngest person in the room “by 60-70 years.”
Undoubtedly a bit of an exaggeration, but having gray hair is common for many Republican gatherings.
Bill Montgomery took Kirk under his wing and Turning Point USA was the result.
Kirk decided to postpone college for his patriotic mission.
Headquartered in a garage between two homes the address of Turning Point USA became 217 1/2 Illinois Street in Lemont, Illinois.
Kirk told the audience that his organization was needed as “a response to Moveon.org,” an organization that targets college kids.
He noted that while in Columbus, Ohio, during 2012, he learned there were 11 canvassing for Barack Obama, but no work was being done for Mitt Romney.
Now, he said, “we have people dropping out of college to work for us.”
The budget last year was a million and there are currently nineteen on the field staff.
Kirk savoys doing what others say can’t be done.
Although he says his group’s clipboard and tennis shoe face-to-face communication has made progress on 750 campuses, he points out, “That’s not a good thing.”
“They’re 885 left.”
Kirk views the role of his organization as “indoctrination prevention.”
Not coincidentally, one of the publications is
“How to Debate Your Teacher (and WIN!), Empowering students to have the confidence to defend their beliefs in classrooms and universities.”
Folks said he couldn’t make his free enterprise message (epitomized by a nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea).
Mocking the Democrats claim that government creates jobs, Kirk pointed to technological innovation since 2000.
FaceBook, Google, Twitter, etc., were not created by government.
There is no problem getting students to agree with that.
A recent poll of students showed that 71% don’t think government is efficient.
The roll-out of Obamacare probably helped create that perception.
Turning Point has a Hunger Games look-alike pamphlet entitled, “The Healthcare Games, When Government Runs Healthcare The Odds Are Never In Your Favor.”
Kirk has debated liberals on campuses.
He finds the pitch liberals make to young people relates to forgiving college loans.
The average student loan is $42,000, but 40% don’t graduate.
Kirk said, “Make college three years. Make the fourth year optional.”
It’s obvious that those in the audience could shave their college costs by 25%, if the number of hours required for graduation were cut by a year.
“The first year is wasted,” Kirk contends.
Students “are forced to study what they don’t need.
“College should be about job training,” Kirk asserted.
Could the message be delivered on a historically black campus?
Adults didn’t think so.
Kirk then flashed on the screen a group of African-American students holding posters saying, “Big Government SUCKS.”
That was from Texas Southern University outside of Houston.
There’s also a Latino outreach effort.
This summer in Chicago a community organizing event will be held that mirrors Moveon.org’s annual session in San Francisco. The requirements will be similar. Attendees must be fluently bilingual in English and Spanish. Turning Point’s will be one-fifth the size of the liberal’s event, though.
This is as good a place to talk about money as any.
If Turning Point USA had a bigger budget, it obviously could make a bigger impact on the youth of America. Checks, tax deductible, can be sent to
217 1/2 Illinois Street
Lemont, Illinois 60439
Another target is the ten most liberal colleges in the United States.
The organizer who has my alma mater, Oberlin College in Ohio (A.B., Economics, 1964) was in the room at d’Andrea’s. I told him that when I was there, the biggest political organization on campus was the Young Republicans (the name has changed to College Republicans now). On the 2,200-person campus we had over 200 members. It wasn’t that the students weren’t mainly liberal. They were then as now. But the liberals had so many different organizations and couldn’t seem to agree with each other.
Kirk told of organizing his high school, Wheeling West.
Look at the number posing for this organization picture.
While the Bruce Rauner campaign got a lot of young people involved in the political process, as have presidential campaigns, between elections there is nothing to keep them interested.
Kirk contends Turning Point USA can fill that gap.
After Kirk’s talk former Congressman Joe Walsh, now talk show host on WIND Radio, was the point man for raising the approximately $30,000 to finance a Turning Point USA presence in McHenry County.
Walsh referred to Kirk’s group as
“The only reason we have a scintilla of hope.
“They need financial support to do what they need to do.
“I implore you to support this organization financially or we are sunk.”