Guest Column | Standing up for what’s “Right”

The University of Iowa College Republicans respond to claims that we are part of a “semi-fascist” movement.


Kyle Clare, University of Iowa College Republicans

A student slammed his skateboard on a Turning Point USA at Iowa tabling on the University of Iowa Pentacrest on Aug. 23 and refused to leave. A week later, a student flipped the College Republicans table at the Student Engagement Fair and struck a Students for Life member’s hand with a bike helmet while yelling “fascists” on Aug. 31. 

Most recently, a student entered a Turning Point event with Benny Johnson and kicked a table, leading to an arrest for disorderly conduct and disturbing lawful assembly on Sept. 20. 

Following these incidents, a Daily Iowan opinions column by opinions columnist Shahab Khan wrote that conservative students are playing the victim and are fascists. 

The one thing Khan, the writer, got right is that these attacks do in fact make us stronger in our beliefs and values. While we continue to be attacked and targeted, we will not stop calling out unacceptable behavior and demand justice. We will remain resilient and rise above. 

We do not care that conservatives are the political minority on campus. This is not about politics; this boils down to upholding the law and prosecuting violators. If any other club on this campus received similar attacks, we would want the same standards to be held regardless of any affiliations. 

We are unsettled by Khan’s claims that his college-aged classmates are part of a “semi-fascist” movement. 

“Semi-fascism” is a term was popularized by President Joe Biden in a speech he gave Aug. 25 in Maryland. Khan justified using that term against us because of Trump’s immigration policy. 

“And what we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just — it’s not just Trump,” Biden said at an Aug. 25 Reception for the Democratic National Committee. “It’s the –it’s the entire philosophy that underpins — it’s — I’m going say something — it’s almost like semi-fascism, the way in which it deals.”

It is inhumane to label a group of college students, political group or not, comparable to a man who carried out genocide and slaughtered millions of people. It is precisely that kind of rhetoric, which tries to smear one’s political opponents as evil, that leads to political violence and division among students. 

We are not fascists, we are your classmates, we are the people who sit next to you in your lectures. We are the people who you do group projects with on the weekends. We are the people who cheer in the stands at the football games when we manage to score a touchdown. We are the people who drive the Cambuses, serve you food in the dining hall, and give you your packages at the front desk with a smile. 

In fact, if we did not tell you we were Republicans, you might never figure it out. 

We are students who share conservative values of freedom, liberty, and prosperity. We challenge anyone who wants to draw comparisons to Hitler to get to know us and find out who we truly are. 

The conservative movement seeks more freedom of speech. We call out censorship by large corporations and demand that free expression, guaranteed by the first amendment, be protected. We fought to end the endless COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates across the country; we believe in protecting American’s constitutional rights, especially our fundamental rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. We believe in equality and that every American deserves equal rights and responsibilities toward maintaining this prosperous country we call the United States of America. 

You’re allowed to call us what you want, we have heard it all before, but the uptick in political violence on this campus is frightening for our members and the safety of all students on campus. We want our classmates to know that we are not the enemy, we are your fellow Americans, your fellow Hawkeyes. 

Instead of resorting to name-calling, let us try and build a positive and constructive discourse on campus that benefits all students, not just a select few. 

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.