Sarah Blugis: For conservatives on campus, more substance and less theater

Sarah Blugis, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

This country tends to listen to the national conservative right when it makes noise. So here on campus, conservative students decided to make some noise, too.

This week GW’s Young America’s Foundation — the self-proclaimed home base for politically conservative students on campus — decided to try a social experiment. Without advertising their affiliation, members of YAF assembled under the name, “Students for Fair GPAs,” and camped out in Kogan Plaza to rally support.

“We . . . hereby petition the SA to grant the administration power to redistribute GPAs,” the group stated, “by taking points from students in the top 10 percent of their class and distributing them to those with GPA levels below the graduation requirements.”

The petition was a ruse, of course — an attempt to invite the comparison between the GPAs of college students and the redistribution of wealth in our country.

Now, I am a member of GW’s College Republicans. But even I can’t help but wonder whether theatrical methods like a false petition designed to make a stir and gain news coverage are the best vehicle for legitimizing the GOP and its points of view.

Opposition to the redistribution of wealth or levying heavier taxes on the wealthier members of society is a cornerstone of the Republican Party. For many younger voters, fiscal conservatism is the only remaining link to the GOP since there is so much dissonance on the social issues. It’s dangerous to risk turning the party’s valid arguments into a performance.

A Facebook status proclaimed that the group had meant to show “liberal hypocrisy on college campuses by comparing our tax system to an unfair way of spreading grades around.” The event even made it onto a blog called “Republican Girl Problems.”

GW is an overwhelmingly liberal campus, without a doubt. Students here are politically aware — which is most likely why they’re here in the first place — and it is highly improbable that they will change their minds about redistribution of wealth because some students in Kogan dramatically compared it to college students’ GPA.

They’re not the same thing, and YAF knows it.

Instead of logically presenting a case and laying out a coherent point of view, the histrionic elements of conservative groups like YAF overshadow the real issues at hand. In this situation, once students learned that the petition was a stunt by the YAF, the entire event was turned into a laughing-stock. No one except its organizers took it seriously.

I am not attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the Republican party’s resentment toward a progressive tax system. Rather, the issue at hand is the constant dramatics that conservative movement pushes to get attention. It isn’t necessary to be so theatrical. Isn’t it obvious that the GOP’s attempts to persuade through shock aren’t working?

Let’s stick to logic and save the spectacle for the stage.

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