Listening to the radio and watching television on the day before the inauguration, the meaning of the word “change” seemed to depend on the politics of the pundit. For the generally Left-leaning media-at-large, Barack Obama was a beacon of hope who represented a new day in America. For them, the coming “change” was good, even if they couldn’t specifically tell you why. For generally Right-leaning talk radio, the new president meant impending doom and hosts attached the word “socialist” to his name repeatedly, with no mention of the socialism that had just been served up by a Republican president, or the recent socialism that was endorsed by the 2008 Republican nominee they wanted to become president. For talk radio, the coming “change” was unquestionably bad, even if they couldn’t specifically tell you what might actually be changing.
My biggest fear concerning Obama is not “change” but the extent to which the new president will govern similar to the last. I would love to see something actually “change,” but the kind of serious, conservative reforms in government I desire weren’t likely to occur under any of the men running for president this year from either party. Well, except one…
Young Americans for Liberty is the continuation of the Students for Ron Paul organization which had established chapters nationwide during the election. While many if not most American youth remain sympathetic to Obama, this enthusiastic group of young libertarians and conservatives will spend inauguration day passing out literature on college campuses nationwide, explaining how Obama doesn’t represent any change at all. Calling the event “Real Change Requires Revolution” the group’s website states that Obama “promises more foreign intervention, more socialism, more restrictions on our civil liberties, and a greater disregard for the Constitution.” While the mainstream Right remains silent on Bush, yet won’t shut up about Obama, these young peoples’ goal is to convince their peers that the incoming president won’t amount to much precisely because he will be much like the last one. Their message is not only Right, but refreshing.
Senior Editor of The American Conservative magazine, Daniel McCarthy, heralded the group in December:
“Back when the conservative movement was actually conservative it was in significant part a youth movement. Students for Goldwater was instrumental in pushing the Arizona senator — even against his wishes — for the Republican nomination in 1960. That fall, the core of the Students for Goldwater organization converted into Young Americans for Freedom, a group which kept a rightward pressure on the GOP and conservative movement, facilitating the Goldwater ‘64 and Reagan ‘68 efforts.
Now what promises to be an even better organization is getting off the ground: Young Americans for Liberty, a successor to the Students for Ron Paul groups that flourished on some 500 campuses during the campaign season. Dr. Paul provided an official endorsement of YAL last week — not only putting his good name behind the venture but $25,000 in seed money as well. Of course, it’ll take much more than that to wrest the young Right away from the neocons and party hacks, but I’ve seen for myself how readily Paul’s principles resonate among students, so I give YAL a fighting chance. It’s a cause well deserving of support.”
McCarthy is correct. It’s fitting that the only real youth excitement on the Right continues to center around the one man the Republican Party wanted nothing to do with. The establishment-friendly candidates who ran for president on the Republican side each took their turns chuckling at the 73-year old Texas Congressman, as each prediction Paul made continued to come to fruition. And in election year where the concept of “change” has meant so much, the GOP’s reluctance to embrace its most Right-wing reformer continues to prove why the party currently is of so little use to principled conservatives.
On this inauguration day, conservatives worried that Obama will lead America down the road to an even worse socialism, should remember that it will be a socialism whose groundwork was laid by his Republican predecessor and will likely be maintained and even expanded by any successors, Republican or Democrat.
And as the current, pathetic, mainstream conservative movement continues to stand for nothing except being against Obama, perhaps it will take the next generation of conservatives and groups like Young Americans for Liberty to finally deliver “change” we can believe in.