The Irvine Conservative Student Union’s goal as an organization is to provide students with the opportunity to meet similar people to exchange conservative ideas. One of the ways the group achieves this is by bringing speakers to campus, so the union brought author, activist and columnist Tammy Bruce to UCI as their first-ever guest speaker on Feb. 11.
In a passionate speech titled, ‘How the Radical Left Threatens to Destroy Traditional American Institutions,’ Bruce, an openly gay, pro-choice, gun-owning, pro-death penalty and progressive feminist, began her talk by explaining her political identification as a liberal and a registered democrat to the mainly conservative and republican audience.
‘For me, my liberal politics, I have to describe myself as classically liberal,’ Bruce said. ‘Because I’m not a democrat. There is a difference between a democrat and a liberal. The left today is redefined as center.’
Bruce then stood in the center of the auditorium with a chair to visually demonstrate her political identification.
‘Here I am, a pro-choice, lesbian feminist, which would be considered left of center, politically,’ Bruce said. ‘Then you have the socialists who continue to go further and further to the left. In the meantime, here I am. And the socialists move so far left that suddenly, I am standing to the right of center.’
Although she considers the Democratic Party more left today and unrepresentative of herself, Bruce does not want to switch political affiliations.
‘I refuse to abandon those associations because of what they mean to me,’ Bruce said. ‘I’m not going to let the far left radical extremist, who have taken over special interest groups, to redefine the dynamics so much that I can’t identify as I wish to.’
She then went on to tell the audience about her pride and indebtedness to the nation and her respect for the ideals of democracy.
‘I consider our debates about gay marriage or abortion rights, more to the left, to be luxuries, because if you’re dead none of this matters,’ Bruce said. ‘Becoming a successful author and getting a higher education and determining what my life to be is not due to gay activism, or feminism. Those are added elements, but only because of what men before us in the last 200 years were willing to die and fight for.’
On the specific topic of the lecture, Bruce identified the principle of self-interest as the most important institution that the left was undermining.
‘Interestingly enough, and this is why conservative politics is better for women, blacks and gays, is that it emboldens the individual, and it relies on individuality for success,’ Bruce commented. ‘Whereas the far left, the Socialist, requires your disappearance as an individual for the benefit of the group. So the group is supposed to be the be-all and end-all, and you as the individual can’t count. The group comes first, and that’s the left, and that’s what’s going on.’
However, her most important lesson of the night was not about how she believes the left is ruining America.
‘I stand for, and what I encourage you to stand for, is to own why you think what you think. Instead having to believe because someone you trust told you. Know the heart and soul of what you believe,’ Bruce said.
Many students who attended the lecture enjoyed it.
‘I liked it,’ said Lila Tran, a fourth-year women’s studies major. ‘My standpoint is not really liberal or conservative. I’m not even a U.S. citizen. But to hear her opinions about [the United States], I guess it helps me to go back and find out where I stand.’
‘I really appreciated her acceptance of other people’s beliefs,’ said Drexelle Ponce, a second-year economics major. ‘I don’t agree with her on moral issues, but I agree on standing together for certain things. I appreciated her respect, and I thought she showed a lot of respect for others today.’