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    Sunday, January 21, 2007

    Students for Life growing

    On Saturday, January 20th, I attended the annual Students for Life of America Conference that takes place each year on the Saturday before the annual "March for Life." Abortion is perhaps the greatest atrocity in the world today. More than 43 million fetuses have been aborted (in America alone) since the tragic decision of a few Supreme Court justices to decide that it was okay for any woman to "choose" to "abort" the baby they are expecting.

    But, our generation isn't taking this decision sitting down. About 10 years ago, the American Collegians for Life, a student-run organization, began. They had an annual conference that only 5 years ago, attracted just 70 students on the Saturday. Last year, that number grew to over 300. This year, about 500 attended the conference. This is a conference they have to pay $65 to attend and travel from across the country. What struck me most about this year's conference was the amount of HIGH SCHOOL students I saw.

    At last year's conference, it was announced that the organization would have a new name: Students for Life of America. They received some major donations and are now able to hire some full-time employees to staff their offices and 8 field reps to travel the nation. Their purpose is to promote pro-life education and activism on college campuses, and now they are extending that mission to include high schools as well. ISI co-sponsors this conference each year and I was proud to have a table there. My purpose was to introduce these pro-life students to ISI. I signed up 52 new members on-site, but all 500 attendees received a conference bag that included ISI literature and an ISI advertisement in their program. So, hopefully we reach them that way.

    I was simply happy to be a part of this conference and perhaps the most important "issue" movement in America. The youth of America are the most vocal advocates of the pro-life cause. I think this is so because it was their lives that were the most threatened by abortion. As one t-shirt I saw put it, "My death authorized on 01-22-1973."

    "The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion, because if a mother can kill her own child what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between." - Mother Teresa

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    More than 120 attend ISI's "Conservatism on Tap" in DC

    On the evening of January 18, more than 120 people showed up to attend the ISI Young Alumni Association's monthly series, "Conservatism on Tap." This monthly event brings together young conservatives in DC, generally from the ages of 21 to 40, most of whom were involved with ISI as students and are no longer privy to the dynamic ISI programs they experienced while in college.

    Each month, "Conservatism on Tap" brings a conservative intellectual speaker to a bar in DC. This idea was conceived about nine months ago. As Evan Baehr had told me when he approached ISI about the idea: "There seems to be a lot of Republicans in DC, and few conservatives." We began this event in July and more recently, we have been using the fabulous location of the District Chophouse in downtown DC, which allows us to use a private room in their basement, "The Vault." The room holds about 75 seated comfortably, but for this talk, over 120 showed up, and it was mostly a standing-room only crowd. T. Kenneth Cribb, President of ISI and formerly the top advisor to President Reagaon on domestic matters, gave the talk this evening, which was on the topic, "The Warring Turtles of Conservatism."

    Mr. Cribb talked about the history of the conservative movement and the "warring" factions within it - from the libertarians, the traditionalists, social/religious conservatives, neo-conservatives, and anti-communists. He spoke about how they each have their own "first principles" but how they found a way to get a long to make for a cohesive and strong conservative movement in America during the past half-century. He encouraged the young conservatives in the room to work together and bring the principles we have in common together to work towards the goals we have for our movement.

    There was a lively Q&A session that followed. I had introduced the evening to everyone there, and we used the opportunity to formalize the group. One must now be a dues-paying "member" to attend future "Conservatism on Tap" events. Jeff Frazee, my friend from the Leadership Institute emailed me after the event and said: "It was definitely a very impressive turn out. I meant to ask you if you were taking pictures of the crowd too. Because I bet we can look back on those pictures 10, 15, 30 years from now and pick out the leaders of the conservative movement. I looked around the room a few times and thought to myself, I'm probably in a room full of important people to be one day."

    Given the nature of the talk, the lively Q&A session, and Jeff's statements about what he felt he was experiencing at "Conservatism on Tap," I feel the original purpose of the ISI Young Alumni Association in DC is being fulfilled: to build a community of young conservatives and continue to nurture in them the American ideal of ordered liberty. This group remains solely educational, and does not engage in "political" activity, but the group was started with the foundational belief that ideas have consequences.

    The next speaker "on tap" is a Presidential candiate! Senator Sam Browback (R-KS) will be addressing the ISI Young Alumni Association on his topic, "Restoring a Conservative Vision for America".