Jaimes: Conflict continues to surround Turning Point USA

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Jaimes: Conflict continues to surround Turning Point USA

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Last week, conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA made headlines again after Communications Director Candace Owens came under fire for insensitive comments on suicide and the #MeToo movement. And although many fellow conservative leaders have begun to speak out against Owens’ comments, fellow conservative organizations should have been doing more to warn young conservatives of Turning Point’s controversial existence.

Owens’ remarks on suicide caused many conservative activists who were once part of the organization to denounce her claims, showing a divide in the group.

Owens’ #MeToo statement, “The entire premise of #metoo is that women are stupid, weak, & inconsequential. Too stupid to know what men might want if you come to their hotel room late at night. Too weak to turn around and tell someone not to touch your ass again. Too inconsequential to realize this.”

In response, Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor and featured speaker of Turning Point’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit, released a statement on her reconsideration of attending the conference after such hurtful remarks were made by such a prominent figure and face of the group.

In her joint press release with Krista Rinehart, the two women made it clear that they do not condone the victim-blaming rhetoric spewed by Owens. The two also decided that now more than ever, they would need to attend the summit in order to educate those who need it most.

Another conservative organization, American Conservative Coalition, released a statement on comments from Owens. As a previously featured sponsor of the summit, the coalition decided to revoke its sponsorship and encouraged young women to focus their attention toward figures such as Kimberly Corban and Allie Stuckey.

All of the controversy thus caused Young America’s Foundation to release an internal memo, which was then leaked, on warning students about Turning Point. The memo included concerns over how fast Charlie Kirk, the founder of of the group, expanded it using social media and accused Kirk of making false claims over the number of members in the organization and the ever-famous “diaper event.” Also mentioned in the memo was the question on how to prevent Turning Point from discrediting other conservative organizations.

The conclusion of the memo is what is most significant in the controversy surrounding Turning Point. It stated, “The conservative movement has historically had a healthy understanding of competition among the separate organizations. As a general rule, organizations recruited support for their programs by focusing on their own strengths — not by undermining the work of other organizations.”

Although maintaining a friendly and civil relationship was the goal, Young America’s and other organizations’ refusal to speak poorly of others that share similar interests is what allowed Turning Point to turn into a negative organization that focuses all attention on publicity gained by leaders in the organization, such as Owens, instead of thoroughly educating its members on conservative principles.

The idea, known as “Reagan’s 11th Commandment,” was to not speak ill of fellow Republicans.

As conservatives, we would expect liberal organizations that promote Democratic values to speak out against far-left organizations that promote ideas, such as communism, that should not be allowed to prosper. Although that severity of Turning Point’s controversial ideas are not the same as a leftist group supporting communism, Young America and similar conservative organizations should have publicly announced their constructive criticism of Kirk and Turning Point a long time ago. A tolerance of everything is tolerance of nothing, even if it is against allies in the fight for conservative values. In the future, it is necessary for organizations such as Young America to old others to the same standards it holds itself to.

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