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The reason I’m up here today is because Grassroot Institute was kind enough to send me to the conference hosted by the Young America’s Foundation at the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara. The two most interesting activities at this convention were the tour of the Reagan Ranch and the speakers themselves.
The main purpose of the conference was the speakers and I’ll continue my speech discussing the three most influential (at least in my opinion) and what they talked about. First, Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan, said that his father was deeply rooted in the Bible and his faith as a Christian. This was made apparent in the way he acted and spoke and to quote Michael, “He lived the Lord’s Prayer.” This was one of the main reasons he never used personal attacks while campaigning or otherwise. One other topic Michael brought up is how the U.S. needs to stop walking away. He told us about his visit to Berlin during the  20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. There were several people giving speeches where the wall used to be and never once did Michael hear them mention the USA, communism, or Ronald Reagan. They mentioned Gorbachev enough though, but as an anti-communist hero. Michael than stated  that we are in danger of doing the same thing in the Middle East.
Speaking of the Middle East, that brings me to the next speaker, Robert Spencer. Robert Spencer is a lead activist against the infiltration of militant Islam into our society and has written several books such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and The Complete Infidels Guide to the Quran. He started off by saying why people were so against the Soviet Union; no freedom of speech and rights and constant oppression. Yet, nobody seems to care that countries under Islamic law are suffering in the same way. Robert Spencer then went on to say that it’s harder to deal with Islam because it’s a religion. He made an important point that most Jihad takes place in the political theater rather than on the streets of Pakistan. He also made it very clear that Muslims do not fight just to destroy or convert but are instead fighting to destroy all leadership so that they can rule and oppress all non-Muslims. To quote Robert, “They are not just blowing stuff up.”
The third and final speaker was Dr. Laura Freburg, one of a very small number of conservative professors in colleges today. She started out by saying that when she got to college she was instantly assaulted by the hate and censorship lurking on our campuses today. Not just from other students but from teachers as well. She actually had several teachers who would say to her face that her paper was a really good paper but that they didn’t agree with what she was saying so the teachers flunked her. To quote Dr. Freburg, “There was always a ‘right’ answer and one eventually learned that they had to write like a Marxist to get good grades.” She eventually graduated and went on to become a professor in biological psychology. She wisely waited until she was tenured before stating her political views. Even today she has to deal with constant ridicule. Her boss said  she wouldn’t have been hired if they had known she was a conservative. She went on to talk about an organization called FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights Education, that helps students who are being oppressed for their political views. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss all the other wonderful speakers but will instead use this time to express my feelings about the Reagan Ranch.
The Reagan Ranch really helped to show how cool Reagan was. I’d like to talk about three places that really struck me and some of the stories connected to these locations. We’ll start out on the pond that Reagan built with his son. He dug a hole, lined it, added a filtration system and a pier. Now the pier is interesting because he strangely counted it as one of his greatest accomplishments, which probably puts it right up there with defeating the Soviet Union. It must have been fairly difficult little project. Probably one of the most interesting places was the house itself. Inside, the house was full of cowboy and  Indian sculptures and pictures. There was a huge bookshelf filled with books ranging from economics to the classics. One of the most interesting things about the house was how Reagan attached the guest house. He wanted to build it, but the building department actually said, no to the President. He built it anyway but added a big beam that ran between the guest and normal house. This allowed him to do what he wanted because it still counted as a part of the original house and not a new structure. Last but not least is the gate. The reason the gate is so interesting is because it took so long to get there. Actually the Reagan Ranch Center, where the conference was held, is nowhere near the actual ranch! You drive for 20 minutes on some back roads until you get to the back of a valley. Then there is a grueling 30 minute drive over a ridge followed by a five minute drive across the ridge and then you finally arrive. I swear that gate was gorgeous when I saw it for the first time. Mrs. Reagan, when visiting the ranch for the first time, actually said that there was no way that there could be anything worth wanting that took so long to get to. She was proved wrong and it became one of her favorite places in the world because it was Ronald’s.
In summary, I had an amazing time learning about how awesome Ronald Reagan was as a person and a politician. I also learned a lot to help bolster my conservative beliefs by listening to some incredible speakers and touring the perfectly stunning Reagan Ranch. It was an amazing opportunity and I was amazingly lucky to go. I would like to thank the Grassroot Institute who was kind enough to give me the privilege of going to this conference. It has given me the information I need to stand on my beliefs as a conservative and survive in a country overrun by left wing extremists; who would rather I remain silent. Thank you for your time.