Speakers at Turning Point USA ‘AmericaFest’ also talk COVID, election, free speech
PHOENIX — Many of the high-profile speakers at one of the largest annual gatherings of conservative high school and college students in the nation called on young people to embrace and advance traditional family values and gender roles.
“If we as conservatives stand for anything, it should be to tell our young people that one of the most beautiful things you can do is get married and have kids,” said Charlie Kirk, host of Turning Point USA’s “AmericaFest,” to the audience of thousands of students from across the nation.
“Be fruitful and multiply,” Kirk said to more than 10,000 attendees during the three-day event that launched Saturday and concluded Tuesday at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Speaker Candace Owens, who has previously argued that single-parent households are a major inhibitor to a child’s ability to achieve success, told the crowd society has discouraged men from being strong fathers.
“It is important for men to remember that our society needs you,” Owens said. “There is nothing wrong with masculinity, but there is a problem when there is a deficit of masculinity.”
Owens and other conservative speakers advocated for dual-parent households with complementary gender roles and pushed back against attempts to blur gender differences.
“There’s nothing wrong with the incredible symbiotic way in which men and women come together. Our personalities are different,” said Owens, encouraging men to “be strong” and women to “be caretakers.”
“Be the thing that God ordained upon us,” she said.
Turning Point USA, a nonprofit that advocates for conservative politics on high school and college campuses, sold over 10,000 tickets to the event, billing it as the largest in TPUSA history.
Famous conservative speakers such as Tucker Carlson, Kari Lake, Matt Walsh, Benny Johnson, Donald Trump Jr. and many others were featured during the gathering, which provided a festive atmosphere and cheering crowds. As speakers took the stage, fog machines blasted, spotlights swung wildly and music blared.
Walsh, a columnist for the Daily Wire and star of “What is a Woman?” documentary, said “there is a war being waged on reality,” referring to left-wing political movements that seek to redefine biological sex and gender.
“The left doesn’t merely ban free speech, it bans the truth,” Walsh said.
He argued defending truth is paramount, because “if we will not defend the hill of basic truth, then what other hill is there?”
Daily Wire contributor Michael Knowles, in his speech, argued against mob rule. He said the framers understood that for people to enjoy the blessings of liberty the government’s powers must be checked.
Additional topics speakers touched on included the need to secure elections, protect life in the womb, defend free speech in the age of Big Tech, and battle “fascist” COVID mandates.
Owens attributed “wokeism” to a “mind virus” intended to “break down your psychological immune system.” She said the aim of the public education system is to “program kids.”
“The goal is to program students, the goal is to program minds because the mind is susceptible to propaganda,” she said. The ultimate goal of this programming, Owens added, is for the government to replace God and be the “light in your life.”
Similarly, Tucker Carlson said that “leaders who don’t believe in God think they are God.” He also spoke at length about how people tend to learn their greatest lessons and gain wisdom during difficult seasons in their life.
“Suffering causes growth,” he said.
Other speakers discussed their own perspectives on the biggest problems facing Americans, as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said that “we need free and fair elections … it is the bedrock on which everything that matters to us rests.”
Kirk, in his speech, said TPUSA would continue to “unapologetically [educate] the next generation around truth. … We want a country where our kids love America.”
Some demonstrators gathered outside the event to protest what they called “harmful misinformation.”
The group asked student attendees to appear in a recorded interview while they carried a sign that labeled right-leaning media organizations such as Fox News, InfoWars, Project Veritas and the Daily Wire as “Fake News.”
Editor’s note: The author of this piece is a member of TPUSA.
IMAGE: Finn McCole / For The College Fix