Once again I am appalled to see whom the Spokane County Republican Party has invited as the keynote speaker for their Lincoln Day Dinner on April 13. This time it is Charlie Kirk, a 24-year-old right-wing conservative, founder and president of “Turning Point USA.”
While the mission of Turning Point is murky, one of its activities is “The Professor Watchlist,” the purpose of which is to expose university professors “who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom,” a tactic disturbingly reminiscent of the McCarthy Era. But, much more disturbing, during his recent speech at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Committee, where Trump droned on for two hours), Kirk declared that conservatives must stop pretending that liberals “mean well” and instead realize that liberals “have always hated this country” and want to “destroy it from within.”
The supreme irony about inviting such a speaker is that the namesake of the annual dinner, Abraham Lincoln (proudly claimed by Republicans as a forebear), was the outstanding “liberal” of his time – the author of the Emancipation Proclamation – who was viciously criticized by “conservatives” for his actions and ultimately assassinated due to their hate speech. Does Mr. Kirk really believe that Lincoln hated his country, didn’t “mean well,” and wanted to destroy it from within? And is this what the Spokane County Republican Party stands for?