Student Spotlight - Emily Salisbury
Emily Salisbury has experienced all the trials of being a conservative on a college campus: "angry professors, sarcastic administration, grade bias, and loud opposition." For others who face situations where "liberal is the norm," Emily warns that "hate is an easy trap to fall into," and advises that young conservatives "keep a love in your heart and keep your spirit centered."
Her advice is born of experience. A recent graduate from the University of Connecticut, Emily served as the advertising director, chairman, and finally, executive director of the UConn's conservative club. She also founded UConn Pro-Life her junior year, naming as one of her greatest concerns the fact that "we, as Americans, deny one quarter of our population the right to live." This group found strong support among UConn students.
Emily began taking an interest in politics during her sophomore year of college, when she "began having discussions with people and forming ideas about important issues." Some of her formative resources include conversations with her father, and introductions to the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Young America's Foundation and the Media Research Center. In addition to her political activism, Emily was also involved in activities such as the concert band and choir, and Campus Crusade for Christ.
One memorable moment of her conservative career occurred when she led a group of students in a counter-protest against the anti-Coke group on campus. While Emily was handing out Coke products and flyers and explaining her position in support of capitalism, the professor working with the anti-Coke group confronted her and began arguing with her, without allowing her to respond to his assertions. After yelling at her and her group, attacking both their political stance and the fact that they were unwilling to accept his point of view on the basis that he possessed a PhD, he eventually walked out of the building, leaving stunned students on both sides in his wake. It is in situations like these that Emily's advice not to "stoop to their level."
She helped host several conservative speakers, some of whom were well received, while others were not. In many cases, she found that liberals on campus did a great deal of advertising for them. This was especially true when, with the help of the Luce Policy Institute, she brought Ann Coulter to speak at her school.
In a moment of sweet irony, when Ann Coulter came to speak "the left showed their true colors and basically proved everything she was saying about the left not being able to form a coherent argument." The left's outrageous response to Coulter's speech even landed Emily in the national press, on shows like Fox News's Hannity & Colmes.
When asked which conservative leaders she admires, Emily says that while in the past she might have responded with a name like Barry Goldwater or Thomas Sowell, or her father, she now looks further to the past for her heroes. "I really admire the disciples and early Christians," she explains, citing "their ability to stand in God and not of their own accord," and their efforts "to make sure their hearts are in the right places when they take action." Following their example, she tries to live by the motto "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:28-30).
In an environment where "conservatives are widely misunderstood and marginalized," it is easy to fall into a trap of cynicism and hate, but Emily has proven that "you can get the job done without thinking of your opponents as pure evil." Her positive attitude towards political controversy is a welcome addition to a world that prefers complete conformity or silent dissent over thoughtful discourse.
In a moment of sweet irony, when Ann Coulter came to speak "the left showed their true colors and basically proved everything she was saying about the left not being able to form a coherent argument."