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Conservative Club on a Liberal Island
by Michael Nevin, Jr.
31 December 2003High School

Liberals are beside themselves that students at Rancho Cotate High School have started a Conservative Club.

The newly formed and much maligned Conservative Club at Rancho Cotate High School (Rohnert Park, CA) is facing a barrage of criticism.  It should come as no surprise that many liberals, who claim to be the majority in this part of California, are simply beside themselves that such a club could exist in their own backyard.  Suffice it to say, this is an area of the country where liberals have held a stranglehold on local, state, and national politics.  Take for example, this model of progressive politics at its best: the Rohnert Park City Council recently voted to remove religious icons from the city’s seal after an atheist threatened a lawsuit.  The joke around town is whether or not the council should consider a picture of an Indian casino on the new seal since a backroom deal has all but assured the city would be host to the gaming venture.  Now you can begin to understand the ensuing controversy that erupted when The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA) ran a story about the precocious student organization.

According to The Press Democrat, the Conservative Club, comprised of 50 members, has united students who feel they are being “brainwashed by the liberal bias” in their classrooms.  Founder and president Tim Bueler, a 16-year old junior, states, “I was just tired of the one-sided arguments of liberal teachers who mold the curriculum to their point of view.  Basically, the Conservative Club was formed to show the other side of the spectrum and another point of view.”  Bueler credits his late grandfather, Mark Bueler, a Pearl Harbor survivor, as his inspiration.  Talk show hosts Michael Savage and Bill O’Reilly have also had an effect on the young patriot.  The club has invited speakers from the National Rifle Association and Eagle Forum of California.  The club motto comes straight from the Savage Nation mantra:  “Protecting our borders, language and culture.”

Fliers and newsletters attributed to the club have sparked controversy.  One flier urged students to “take a stand against liberal traitors who call themselves teachers.”  Another flier opined,  "Liberals welcome every Muhammad, Jamul, and Jose who wishes to leave his third world state and come to America -- mostly illegally -- to rip off our health care system, balkanize our language and destroy our political system."  It is anathema to discuss topics like illegal immigration, liberal bias, or God on this liberal island.     

The ad hominem attacks that followed have been well documented in a series of letters to the editor found in the local newspapers, and members of the club have been threatened with physical violence on campus.  Nobody on the offensive seems willing to debate the issues addressed by the Conservative Club -- they only want them to be silenced.  40 faculty members of Rancho Cotate High School wrote to The Press Democrat:  “We are also troubled by the club’s motto, ‘Protecting our borders, culture and language’ [sic] and the promotion of ‘God, guns and country’ on campus.”  The teachers continue, “We have many great students, programs and teachers, and feel the Conservative Club does not truly represent our school.”  A message to these teachers -- the club may not represent “your” school, but it represents the 50 young students who call themselves members and happen to be enrolled in “your” school.  Since when does a student organization need to be popular with the political ideology of its faculty?  One teacher at the school went so far as to lambaste the club with his own flier calling the students “neo-conservative wing-nuts.”

Members of the Conservative Club are learning an important lesson regarding the current state of America’s culture war:  Liberals believe that the only way to find nepenthe is to attack conservatives, not debate them.  While arguments made by the Conservative Club may be subject to debate, the call for censure is utterly outrageous.  Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator and statesman, had it right when he said, “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.” 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is no stranger to vile attacks by those on the left.  In 2001, Justice Thomas gave a speech to the American Enterprise Institute titled “Be Not Afraid.”  Thomas cited a sign in his office that reads:  “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”  Thomas went on to say, “Again, by yielding to a false form of ‘civility,’ we sometimes allow our critics to intimidate us.  As I have said, active citizens are often subjected to truly vile attacks…To this we often respond (if not succumb), so as not to be constantly fighting, by trying to be tolerant and nonjudgmental, i.e., we censor ourselves.  This is not civility.  It is cowardice, or well-intentioned self-deception at best.”  Stay the course young conservatives; Grandpa Bueler would be proud.

Michael Nevin is a California law enforcement officer.

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