On April 13th, the UCI College Republicans invited me to speak at their club.
It was uite a trip down memory lane for me.
I remembered most of what it took to navigate the campus.
There are so many more buildings at UCI, and still the enrollment challenges are daunting for new students.
I cannot believe who many years it had been, and yet I was so glad to speak with the UCI College GOP.
Here are the extended remarks I anticipated sharing with the young conservative charges:
The First Amendment is under attack. You college Republicans are in the center of that fight. We need to take back our universities. They are centers for learning. They are centers for inquiry. They are designed to allow for the clash of ideas, even if it is a vivid and sometimes volatile clash. As a Republican, I have long sought for, fought for more liberty, more opportunity. I am also pro-life, and I believe that the family, one man and one woman, remains the most critical unit for our society.
I also think that we need a revival of respect for the Supreme Governor of the world, as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.
I recognize that these values are under attack, too.
But I also recognize today that the First Amendment is the first line of defense—and offense.
But before I go on, let me speak a little about myself.
I am a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal.
Born in Torrance, CA, the same year that Ronald Reagan was elected President, Arthur Christopher Schaper, I have lived in California all my life.
My political bent has always been conservative, protecting life, carrying about family, but regarding the leanest government as best, respecting the genius of the Constitution and the general wisdom of individuals and private interests.
A libertarian on some issues, but liberal in the true sense of the world, I learned a great deal about free markets, free enterprise, and free people while earning Bachelors' Degrees at UC Irvine, followed by his few and frustrating years a teacher in LA area schools.
When I came to UC Irvine, I was already a conservative, I was already a Republican. Unlike many students, when I graduated in 2003, I was more conservative. Sometimes, I had to ditch classes and do all the required classwork for the grade.
One of the best pieces of advice I received, I got from one of the most obnoxious and disrespectful faculty members on this campus: Raymond Novaco. He was just awful, but the best advice he gave to his students: “If you do not understanding, you can ask me questions. But better yet, go to the stacks. Go to the library. Read some books. Think about it, then read some more. Then think about it some more. That way, it will be knowledge that you have acquired.
I followed his advice, right down to dropping his class at the second week!
Originally I was a French major, and wanted to be a French Teacher. I grew tired of the anti-Christian, anti-liberty messages from much of French Literature, I eventually joined the school of Social Ecology. I studied Psych and Social Behavior and Criminology.
I was always interested in politics, following the Congressional races and the national contests. I was here when Ahh-nold started floating a bid for governor.
I even connected with the College Republicans, and wrote for a newspaper called “The Irvine Review”.
In a way, that’s when my writing career took off. I was even on TV, over at the KDOC station on “The Hot Seat with Wally George.” I weighed two-hundred fifty pounds, with more hair on my head.
After I graduated from UCI, I pursued a teaching credential at Cal State Long Beach, focusing on history, but ready to teach English or French. Oh La La.
Teaching was not as fun as learning. I liked my teachers, but I did not like being a teacher. I worked in three difference schools. I worked at one of the best charter schools in the region, and walked off the job.
I was in the wrong business.
Then I started writing again.
My career writing took off in 2010, after Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the dreaded Affordable Care Act. Outraged at the insufferable arrogance of Washington DC, I began blogging. I really liked it.
There is something inside of me. I love to write and I love to be published to be read.
In 2011, while still lingering in the education field as a substitute, I began writing letters to the local and national press.
Then my editorials appeared in the Los Angeles Jewish Observer and the Daily Breeze. In Rhode Island, his commentaries on the local politics there (combined with the similar miasma of liberalism in California) made him a well-known and sought-after columnist on the East Coast.
In 2012, after layoffs and terminations, I focused entirely on politics .I joined the local Beach Cities Republicans, based in Torrance. At the time, David Hadley was the President of the club.
I worked on the state assembly campaign as well as the Congressional race. For the first time in recent memory, my Congressional seat would have a totally new fight.
I ended up with Henry Waxman the Taxman. I began blogging about him in a site called “Waxman Watch”. He found out about it, and shut me down in an open forum in Redondo Beach.
I realized that you could really frighten politicians! I liked doing it.
After that election, I focused on getting a fifty-state strategy in place. I focused on New England, the most liberal region in the country.
From Go Local Prov and Go Local Worcester to 990WBOB based in Providence, I commented on the web and on the radio about the politics of the day.
Finally, after much cajoling from his Southern California conservative peers, I returned to writing for the South Bay and focusing on California issues again.
Still working with the Beach Cities Republicans, I learned that the former President, David Hadley, was going to run for state assembly. He had worked very hard to assembly a strong endorsement and fundraising group, the South Bay One Hundred.
This was 2013.
He later confided in me that if he could not find the right candidate to compete for the seat, he would run. I didn’t think much of it.
Then he called me in 2013 and told me: “I cannot find anyone to run. I am going to run.”
I was resistance, and dismissive until near the end. But he would reach out to me, and I was full-bore to get him elected.
And he won!
The first Republican in 22 years in the South Bay-- and he is representing me!
And today, I hope to follow his example, as well as adding my experience and knowledge to not just engage our base, but to enlarge our numbers, and expand our influence.
Engage our base: there are lots of Republicans in the South Bay—and throughout the state of California, who think that Republicans are on the run instead of on the rise.
That is not true. We have stopped the supermajority. Republicans of all ethnic backgrounds are wining local races, sometimes in the most unlikely of places. Hawthorne, Lawndale, Alameda County. Republicans are winning, we just are not hearing the story.
And we are not getting enough people involved.
Enlarging our numbers. One of the first things that I wanted to do—was reach out to the college groups.
You have graciously welcomed me here to speak with you. It is my hope—our necessity—that we take back the universities, that we put pressure liberal groups and progressive administrators. They need to start respecting all opinions, especially the right ones.
And when we start affecting the culture, we will expand our influence. Students will no longer graduate in bondage to old ideas about making the government more intrusive an the individual irrelevant.
Instead of a monologue of dissent and conformity, a dialogue of freedom vs. slavery will emerge. Instead of being confined by the imposition, we will define the narrative, and win the argument.
I hope to help make that happen this evening and furthermore afterwards.
I look forward to working with you to end regressive anti-freedom on this campus, and working with you for more victories, both at the local and the state level.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
President, Beach Cities Republicans
UCI Alumnus, 2003