By Ben Frederick
Cleveland State has seen a lot of activity over the last few weeks. This unstable period started off with horrible and traumatizing anti-gay poster hung up on campus. The intent of the posters was to influence LGBTQ individuals to join their brethren and kill themselves. A week after that, religious nut cases came to campus and cursed us all to hell, and finally, Turning Point USA and the socialist party went head to head in the Student Center courtyard in debates and protests. Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point, came to speak in favor of his organization later that week. While there is nothing wrong with that, it seemed inconsiderate with the last few weeks the university has had.
Students on both sides of the political spectrum attended the Melting Snowflakes and Smashing Socialism event. I personally attended, and it seemed to accomplish nothing of importance. Kirk was one sided on many of his topics and flat out wrong on a few of the facts he used as support for his arguments. Most of the time when people would ask him questions or if they had a different opinion than him, he would insult the person. He would attack the person while dodging the point they brought up. Kirk and the other conservatives continued to insult and laugh at anyone who spoke out against them. Yes, the socialist party did insult Kirk and laugh at many of the things he said, but when they brought up points of interest they would argue the points and not attack the person.
When Kirk started off his presentation, he was bragging about how Turning Point was the largest growing organization in the country and that he employs over 100 people. A socialist spoke out about the capitalistic nature of his organization, but instead of discussing the idea of capitalism, Kirk went straight to insulting him. He retaliated by saying that’s more jobs than you will ever create in your life. Kirk made fun of the speaker and got the crowd laughing at them as well as yelling their own insults. It was not a very friendly area to be in if you had an opposing view that you wanted to discuss. For people that stand for free speech and all that it implies, these people did not allow any of it at this event.
At one point in the open mic section, an older disabled woman came up to talk. While Kirk himself was respectful and let her speak, a couple next to me chuckled to themselves and made jokes to each other the whole time she spoke. While Kirk did not directly ask for this, his reactions in previous situations that night made his followers very disrespectful. He set the precedent for his fan base. When another member of the socialist party came to ask a question, Kirk insulted him half way through about his question, and then people in the crowd yelled insults about his clothing. Saying things like “nice bandanna cowboy.” This is not the way these things should be run. People should have the dignity to respect and listen to others during a discussion.
When Kirk did give an answer to a question someone asked, it was backed by fake facts and one-sided points of views. The topic of American involvement in WWII was brought up, and Kirk believed it was inevitable for America to join the war. He then brought up the Zimmerman note as proof of that. Maybe because this guy did not complete college he forgot that the Zimmerman note is from WWI. An honest mistake, but when these happened over and over, it discredited his stance. When the Korean War was discussed, he said America was the only one who was willing to stand up to communism and fight back. Maybe he missed this day in history class, but the U.N. intervened in the Korean War with backing from the United States. Many other nations — such as Canada — contributed troops and supplies to the war effort. Again and again, he cited incorrect facts or looked at things without considering all possibilities. He contorts the facts in a way it will help his argument, even if it was not true or missing facts.
The Turning Point event was childish and pointless. It accomplished very little following the last couple of weeks the university has had. Kirk insulted people and incorrectly cited things to push his own agenda. It was advertised as a safe and open meeting, but it was the opposite. The people were hostile and rude to anyone who disagreed with their beliefs. Although there were many bad things about the seminar, there was one good thing: there was bingo.