College Republicans hosts annual Pro-America Rally

    Radio personality Roger Hedgecock, along with UCSD students, faculty and staff members, participated in the Second Annual Pro-America Rally at the Price Center on Feb. 6. The event was hosted by the College Republicans.

    Sarah Averbach
    Guardian

    “”I was just delighted to see that the pro-America side — the side of the [president’s] administration — was getting its own champions here, because in the past, I felt the campuses were too often where you would only hear one side of story from the left, and I think now we are seeing more of a diversity of opinion,”” Hedgecock said.

    Organizers Lucas Simmons of the College Republicans and Ryan Darby of the California Review said the idea for the event came following the events of Sept. 11.

    The signs held by the spectators reflected differing opinions, ranging from “”Pro-America,”” to “”Pro-World Peace”” to “”War Monger.””

    Among the speakers were Phil Palisol, a senior at Thurgood Marshall College; Tim Kane, a former student and economics teacher at UCSD; Curtis Williams, a former member of the U.S. Navy Seals; John Baca, a medal of honor recipient for jumping on a hand grenade to save eight lives in his platoon; and Robert Forouzanden, a senior at Marshall and chairman of the UCSD Freedom Alliance.

    In a speech about what it means to be American, Palisol said that the United States needs to be vigilant in protecting its freedoms.

    “”Our responsibility is to defend freedom at any cost, and this obligation cannot be taken lightly,”” Palisol said.

    He also referenced the possibility of war with Iraq, saying the U.S. must exercise responsibility.

    “”As citizens, we ask that our leaders act in a responsible manner and that they choose war as the last option. However, if they do, we must support our friends and family as they fight for our freedom, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness,”” said Palisol, in his speech.

    Palisol’s speech was interrupted by Kim Hansen, a UCSD graduate student who equated being pro-American to being against the possible war with Iraq.

    Hansen referred going to war as being “”sent off on a fool’s errand.””

    “”There’s not only one way to be Pro-American,”” said Hansen.

    The opinions of spectators in the Price Center about the message of the rally was varied.

    “”It was too biased,”” said Earl Warren College senior Mostafa Azizi. “”They don’t show both sides. They haven’t showed us any evidence. I was neutral at first, but after seeing this, I am against war.””

    Some students, like John Muir College junior Bryan Barton, found what was said informative.

    “”It’s interesting to hear someone speak about current issues that have more different … more diverse opinions than my professor,”” he said.

    James Cowling, an international student from Australia, said he appreciated the forum.

    “”I don’t agree with the pro-war argument, but I think that it is good for them to voice their opinions in a public forum,”” he said. “”Perhaps if we could be respecting other people’s opinions, we wouldn’t be going to war.””

    Al Canata, treasurer of the College Republicans, felt the rally met the group’s expectations.

    “”I think it is about the same quality in terms of what we were trying to put out to the crowd and to the UCSD campus, which was to love Americans and to love our country,”” he said. “”Remember, this is the best country on earth.””

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