The Sin of Indifference Among Stanford Conservatives

![While hundreds protested in San Mateo, and thousands protested nationwide, Stanford was silent. (Tom Stilson/The Stanford Review)](/content/uploads/Teabagging.jpg)
While hundreds protested in San Mateo, and thousands protested nationwide, Stanford was silent. (Tom Stilson/The Stanford Review)
In 1773, 50 American Colonists, known as the Sons of Liberty, right-wing extremists by today’s standards, threw 342 cases of tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of England’s tea tax on the American Colonies. Since then, there have been thousands of protests in this country, from women’s suffrage to civil rights. On April 15th, more than 750,000 Americans took time off from work to protest a 60,000-page tax code, a debt that will approach $70,000 for every citizen of this great nation by 2020, and a government that has become so large and irresponsible that it has replaced liberty and responsibility with bailouts and entitlements.

I had the opportunity to make my way up to a “tax day tea party” in San Mateo to document what occurred. At this protest, one of over 1,000 that occurred across this nation, I saw a different side of America. I saw hundreds of respectful (there was only one arrest nationwide at the protests), hard-working Americans frustrated that were angry at our out of control government.

This grassroots movement began with concerned Americans opposed to the unprecedented expansion of government influence, spending, and control. People like Elsie Gufler, who emigrated here from El Salvador 30 years ago, organized this event not knowing how many protesters would attend. The several hundreds who attended were more than she had expected.

“The American people are fed up with taxes, fed up with a government who doesn’t pay any attention to its people,” stated Gufler, “We elect them. They work for us.”

Another protester, Al Waisman of San Mateo, whose parents immigrated to the US to escape Chile’s socialist revolution, said, “We’re giving failure a free ride. This country has never rewarded bad decisions.”
Kelly Lagarrigue, a married mother of two, identified all parties as being at fault for our current state, “In less than 100 days our government has taken the deficit they inherited from the Bush administration of 1 trillion dollars and tripled it. I came out because I think that this is a great country worth standing up for… and I fear we are losing sight of the very things that make us great.”

Art Bush, a Marine Corps veteran in attendance, commented, “Obama is our president, I wanted to stick behind him. [But] I just started seeing lie after lie, promise after promise being broken. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the stimulus package. Not one of our legislators read the thousand pages. How could you vote on something blindly like that?”

For the more astute readers, it has become apparent that not one, not a single one of these quotes is from a Stanford student, staff, or faculty member. I returned to Stanford from the protest and realized that, our generation at Stanford is completely indifferent to the direction of this country.

And so it seems Stanford students continue to act oblivious to the growing storm developing in America and the mortgage on our future. While the absence and indifference of our more liberal student groups should be expected, the absence of conservative student dialogue and challenge on campus is inexcusable and shameful.

I have patiently waited for the members of Stanford’s conservative community to have some kind of a voice on campus. I am neither a leader on campus nor do I profess to have the solutions, but conservatives must become a viable presence at Stanford. We, as conservative members of this institution of liberal thought, have a duty to challenge the so-called progressive and liberal ideologies that are rampant on this campus. Should we remain soft-spoken or quiet, we will continue to find dwindling conservative dialogue on our campus and a continued assault on our presence at this elite institution.

Today, it seems the conservative contingency on campus is stuck on autopilot—incapable of finding its voice and making itself into a presence to be reckoned with on campus. Last April 15th, 750,000 Americans stood up for the first time and made a statement for conservative and founding principles. When will I see action from our campus conservative leaders?

At the protest, Ms. Lagarrigue said to me regarding American principles, “Liberty, the freedom from government control, is what sets us apart. Our Founding Fathers got it right, now they need us to take a stand.”

Are you listening, Stanford?

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