85.7 F
84.8 F
86.2 F
74.9 F

Elevating Young Voices: We don’t know how to talk to each other

Welcome to Elevating Young Voices, a series that provides a platform for the next generation of leaders to share their perspectives on issues in America today. Each individual represents the new face of what it means to be pro-Alabama.

It is a surprise to no one that there is massive division in this country.

We fight over political points of view, race, gender, religion, and just about anything else you can possibly form an opinion.

We all have opinions. We know what we agree with and what we don’t agree with, and we all want to be able to bring those that disagree with us over to our way of thinking.

The problem? We have no idea how to talk to people who disagree with us.

That brings us to Christian. Christian is the director of outreach for YAF (Young Americans for Freedom) at the University of Alabama.

As director of outreach, he is responsible primarily for the scheduling, planning, and execution of YAF events – official and otherwise, as well as recruitment. This often includes tabling, drives to distribute flyers, and any other social gatherings.

Since Christian assumed that role in late 2021, he has also been the volunteer coordinator for an event that brought prominent conservative talk show host Matt Walsh to the university. Christian also serves as the spokesman for the chapter off campus. In that capacity, he has traveled across the state to speak to other groups about YAF’s mission.

At a recent event with a Republican Club, Christian highlighted his passion for engaging with students and spreading the conservative message at the University of Alabama.

“The thing about college students is, we’re pretty open to new ideas, but many college students have never been confronted with conservative ideas,” Christian said. “It’s never been brought to their attention.”

There isn’t much dialogue with college students and that’s something he wants to change.

“Along with students being taught a more liberal worldview in college, they’re also just not paying attention to the world around them outside of what they’re taught,” he said. “So, it’s important to get our message out there to them.”

One of the things Christian and the members at YAF did when they brought Walsh to campus, is set up tables and asked the students questions such as “what is a woman?”

“You would be surprised at how many students on a college campus can’t answer that question,” Christian said. “The real problem is they’re not engaged with. College is supposed to be a place of higher learning.

“We’re supposed to ask questions, but it doesn’t happen. They’re exposed to the worldview of their professors, and that’s it”.

Confronting students with a conservative worldview is not without its challenges.

According to Christian, while tabling for the event, passing out flyers, and asking students  “what is a woman?” he said, “We’d get flipped off sometimes. Beyond that, there was a movement to not allow Mr. Walsh to come to campus.”

“At a place of higher learning, you’re supposed to express ideas openly. You’re supposed to have ideas you may not agree with presented to you, and yet, there’s a growing number of students and faculty that want to shut down any ideas that oppose their worldview.”

That is the very thing that Christian and his fellow members at YAF are pushing against, the censorship of ideas that plagues dialogue in this country.

“We have to be able to meet students where they are and freely exchange ideas,” he said. “When you stop letting people talk and shut down the ideas you don’t agree with, that’s how you lose your freedom.”

One of the things Christian mentioned that was very important to him is cohesiveness between young conservatives and the older generations. Being a united front in the effort to spread the conservative message is not only extremely important, but completely necessary in order to be successful.

One of the biggest needs young conservatives such as Christian have is a support system.

“We need to know the adults stand behind us and believe in what we’re doing,” he said. “We need examples to look for, we need people to tell us their ideas, engage with us, and not just leave us hanging out there.

“Students that lean left are willing to listen. They’re willing to have a dialogue, but they don’t get that investment.”

Students desperately need that investment of ideas because if they’re not taught, and are only exposed to the ideas of their professors, they have no other alternative than to conform to that worldview.

“The students across these college campuses are the future,” Christian said. “They’re going to be entering the workforce. They’re the ones that eventually will run our cities, states, and country.”

What should give everyone hope for the future, is even though a lot of students lean to the left, many of them are open minded and willing to at least listen to people with whom they disagree.

Although many college students have unfortunately lived in an echo chamber much of their lives and have never been confronted with a conservative worldview, a simple conversation with them (in good faith) can cause them to think and make them realize they have more in common with us then they originally thought.

As universities swing more and more to the left, and as these students assume leadership roles, eventually the state will swing toward the left and ultimately the country if we’re not able to effectively engage with them.

If you or someone you know has a story to tell, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

Elevating Young Voices is a series that provides a platform for the next generation of leaders to share their perspectives on issues in America today. Each individual represents the new face of what it means to be pro-Alabama.

Nate Butler is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. You can find him on Twitter @realnatebutler or on Instagram @_nate_butler

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.