Photo By Regan Reeck

Conservative activist Charlie Kirk listens while a student has a chance to speak during the question-and-answer segment of his speech at CSU.

 

Oct. 30, 2017

Charlie Kirk comes to Cleveland State for forum, denounces anti-LGBTQ signs as hate speech

Charlie Kirk, conservative activist and founder of Turning Point USA, denounced the anti-LGBTQ flyers posted on Cleveland State University campus in a talk Thursday Oct. 19. Centered on the effects of socialism, capitalism, the importance of free speech and the “greatness” of America. The talk was held in Cleveland State University’s main classroom auditorium.

During the question-and-answer segment of the talk, an audience member asked Kirk what his stance was on the graphic signs. Kirk immediately denied all allegations that suggested Turning Point USA was involved. He then acknowledged the posters as hate speech.

“It’s wrong, it’s abhorrent, and any idiot that would write ‘Fascist Solutions’ on the bottom of a pamphlet is just that: an idiot,” Kirk said. “It incites suicide, it incites self-harm so it crosses the line.”

His statement met almost unanimous applause and cheers despite the crowd containing a number of lively antagonists and protestors who seemed to yell out against every other statement Kirk made.

Titled “Melting Snowflakes and Smashing Socialism with Charlie Kirk,” the talk was the feature event of Turning Point USA’s free speech week on Cleveland State’s campus.

Somewhat of a controversial figure for his firmly conservative views on topics such as free speech, free markets and healthcare reform, Kirk is a 24-year-old activist, author and political speaker who has made many appearances on Fox News.

Kirk’s appearance was preceded with protests sponsored by Refusefascism.org, an organization which demands that “the Trump/Pence regime must go” on their website.

Kirk’s talk began with a bang when he declared the United States of America as the “greatest country in the history of the world.” This incited a wave of cheers from the audience and ignited an extremely contentious dialog between Kirk and many audience members who seemed to passionately disagree.

In one heated back-and-forth, Kirk argued with several self-identified socialists who said rich people, like Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, were the problem as they exploit and profit off of their workers.

“Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth 80 billion, employs 20,000 people, who gives his supply away for free, who is he exploiting?” Kirk asserted in response.

In another dispute between Kirk and socialist audience members about the aspects of capitalism, Kirk started a rant dismissing the socialist countries that audience members claimed were examples of better systems of government.

“If socialism is so great, why are people fleeing Venezuela for America and not America for Venezuela,” said Kirk in the rant which induced another wave of cheering.

Kirk also debated the legitimacy of Social Security and single-payer health care with several audience members. “Those of us who have preexisting conditions would have to pay a whole lot more than those of us who don’t,” argued an elderly African-American woman.

Kirk responded by simply arguing that people who don’t take care of their health should have to pay more for their health care.

When brought up again by a disabled person in a wheel chair, Kirk explained that he actually agrees that people with legitimate pre-existing health care conditions shouldn’t pay more if conditions are outside of their control.

The college educational system and teacher unions were also targets of Kirk's criticism.

Kirk expressed his disdain for the liberal educational system, which he said wastes students’ time and money with classes that are not needed for the careers students are pursing.

“College should be about career preparation not an ideological exploration,” Kirk said, causing mass applause. Kirk later explained his issue with teacher unions.

“The problem is, under current teacher tenure laws in most states, they are protected by contracts designed by teacher unions that make it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers,” Kirk said. “So I’m very pro-teacher, very anti-teacher union.”

Tiffany Roberts, head of Cleveland State’s chapter of Turning Point USA, organized the event.



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