Rick Santorum Defies Rainbow Bandanna Hecklers at Cornell (Video)

Rick Santorum heckled and berated at Cornell for crime of having opposing beliefs

Weather update: A sudden flurry of snowflakes fell in an isolated section of central campus Wednesday evening in anticipation of the Cornell Republican’s fall speaker event featuring former Republican Senator and two-time presidential contender Rick Santorum.

Other chants went along the lines of “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Rick Santorum go away!”

The event consisted of a brief introductory speech about the 2016 election and the future of the U.S. and the European Union, and then transitioned into an extended Q&A with questions from audience members numbering at least 500, with many turned away at the doors. All throughout, Mr. Santorum was a true class act, and handled himself very well despite the consistent barrage of antagonistic jeers, chants, interruptions, and obscenities flung at him by rainbow bandanna-brandishing protesters and, at times, most others in the audience.

Though only numbering about 25, the rainbow protesters did not hesitate to let their presence be known from the onset. Cornell Republican Chairwoman Olivia Corn ’19 was unable to finish her introduction of Mr. Santorum without several nonsensical outcries from the audience — “Extremism is not conservatism!” one screeched — which prompted Ms. Corn to ask for civility and respect from the audience.

As any seasoned campus conservative can guess, the request was not met.

Before Mr. Santorum could finish his first sentence, the rainbow-clad began demanding the opportunity to ask him questions, and when not granted it during the initial part of the event, they proceeded to continue their temper tantrum unabashed. Of particular favor to the rainbow protesters were the raised fist and chant of “Shame!”

At one moment during Mr. Santorum’s introductory remarks, when the protesters’ incessant interruptions grew unbearably disruptive, he addressed them directly and pointed out the hypocrisy of preaching “diversity and tolerance” when not giving him and others the opportunity to express opposing ideas and beliefs. Instead, he said, they shout down opposing beliefs, and, at this very moment, the contrast between Mr. Santorum’s plead for civility and his demeanor was in such stark contrast to the rainbow protesters’ cacophony, the rest of the audience burst into applause.

Legal Insurrection uploaded a video of the exchange (originally filmed by the Young America Foundation, which co-sponsored the event).

Later, Mr. Santorum said the biggest threat to the nation would be (or, perhaps de facto, is) the loss of the “public square” where all are invited to speak their minds and advocate for their beliefs.

The Q&A questions mostly centered on social issues, with audience members acutely aware that this is where Republicans and conservatives, unfortunately, have the hardest time making their case in front of hostile audiences. Questions ranged from his stance on teaching Intelligent Design in public schools, to man-made climate change, to gay marriage. Mr. Santorum, however, did not back down from the challenge, and responded honestly to every question, no matter how loaded or confrontational many of the questions were.

The most interesting exchange came at the very end, when Mr. Santorum addressed a question concerning gay marriage. As one would expect, Mr. Santorum was quick to state his religious beliefs guide him to believe in marriage as being between a man and a woman, but he further expounded on the importance of stable families in the maintenance of healthy, economically robust communities and the country’s overall socio-economic standing. His discussion of this topic led to groans and outcries from many in the audience, who, presumably, were triggered by the patently obvious notion that nuclear families are important to the community and individual well-being.

Cornell Republicans deserve credit for bringing Mr. Santorum to campus, knowing full-well the hostile reaction he and they as an organization would receive. Despite being of lower profile since dropping out of the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Santorum’s ability to articulate his brand of “blue-collar conservatism” and social conservatism is highly admirable and thought-provoking.

16 Comments on Rick Santorum Defies Rainbow Bandanna Hecklers at Cornell (Video)

  1. Those people yelling are deniers. They do not argue in good faith. One does not debate a Holocaust denier, nor a 9/11 Truther. One pepper spays them.

  2. David Breznick // December 1, 2016 at 2:11 am //

    I have yet to read a report of college conservatives disrupting an invited leftwing speaker, BDS speaker, democrat politician speaker, etc.

    • Except, arguably, for the most extreme BDS speakers, left/liberal speakers do not advocate genocide, involuntary electrocution, or the destruction of the planet. The speech response to hateful rhetoric should be in proportion to the threat said rhetoric poses. Santorum literally said gay people are going to burn in hell. That is a shameful line of thinking that is antithetical to the faith of many others, distressing to the LGBT+ members of our community, and that leads to cruel and unjust policies that tear hardworking families apart. The response to such speech must be loud, clear and performed in such a way that those who hold shameful views are unable to ignore the voices of those they would oppress.

      • Although you make these assertions as though they are indisputable facts, you are in fact merely expressing your wholly unsubstantiated personal opinion as to Sanorum’s beliefs and the injustice they supposedly lead to. You can respond to his speech any way you damn well please. However, bear in mind that the vast majority of those on this planet who believe in a Heaven and Hell also share in Santorum’s line of thinking. Moreover, the vast majority of human beings on this planet hold at the very least a negative view of LGBT lifestyles for a myriad of reasons that go far beyond what religion teaches. Most people are distressed by the public exercise of these lifestyles. An LGBT lifestyle is not what the vast majority of parents want for their children in adulthood. Despite this reality, the US is one of the few places where LGBT lifestyles can be practiced publicly because here most people respect the rights of others to do so if they wish. While respecting these rights, people in the the US also reserve the right to shun and publicly disapprove of any lifestyle for any reason or for no reason at all. Unlike your normative statements and opinions, all of my assertions are readily backed up by numerous facts and statistics that can be retrieved from google. I encourage you to research it yourself if you disagree. In this day and age, LGBT individuals must cope with the fact that they will be shunned for openly practicing their lifestyle just like Santorum must cope with being shunned for expressing his views at a place like Cornell University.

      • Invitesoconstocampus // December 20, 2016 at 8:05 am //

        You think he is amoral. He thinks your lifestyle is amoral. I don’t see why his view should be suppressed and I doubt you could ignore his views just as he couldn’t ignore yours, without 25 students screeching and screaming at him. Your views are well known in the public sphere without the usual liberal screeching.

        If he believes gays should burn in hell which plenty of religious folk do along with the view that other groups including other denominations of the same faith will burn in hell, that is his belief and those of millions around the world of all faiths.For e.g. Sunni Muslims believe Shias are heretics and will burn in hell – do you scream at every Sunni Muslim you meet?

      • I reject your premise, as its basis is your own opinion of what the nature and level of the “threat” is. I wager most conservatives, especially religious conservatives—as an agnostic, I’m a secular conservative—believe what you promote through your speech, your rhetoric, constitutes a direct and serious threat to the rule of law, to our constitutional order, to fundamental human rights. They believe many of the beliefs and behavior of the left are shameful. So the left has no special, objective claim to righteousness here. It is quite simply their opinions versus their opponents.

        And yet far more than those on the left, in my experience as a forty-seven-year-old conservative agnostic who’s been disagreeing with both sides of the political spectrum for over thirty years, those on the right are far more willing to engage those who disagree with them. It is far easier for me to discuss my differences of opinion on bedrock beliefs with a fundamentalist Christian than a fundamentalist leftist. (And yes, leftists can be just as dogmatic and evangelistic as the most hardcore Bible-thumper.)

        Those on the right, again, in my experience, are simply far more willing to entertain, to engage civilly and rationally, differences of opinion. They are not afraid—and it does come across as simple fear—to hear contrary opinions. As far as human rights are concerned, they certainly value freedom of expression far more than any devout leftist does. It’s not the right-leaning groups in our culture, in the academy, in our student bodies, in the sciences, who are proscribing speech and bullying their opponents.

        The thinking on the left is just as you say: “The response to such speech must be loud, clear and performed in such a way that those who hold shameful views are unable to ignore the voices of those they would oppress.”

        But to what purpose? What does shutting down someone’s speech actually do? You clearly don’t believe it’s changing the speaker’s mind, so what do you think you’re accomplishing? Keeping his speech from getting to others? I don’t think anyone who engages in this behavior believes that it’s keeping the unwanted ideas from spreading. On the contrary, as history shows repeatedly, suppressed ideas tend to take on more power and significance, often, ultimately, blowing up in their oppressors’ faces. Considering the overwhelming success of conservatives over the past fifteen years at the local, state, and federal levels—under both moderate conservative Bush and anti-conservative Obama—it actually seems that the conservative message thrives under duress. The election of a bully like Trump, but a bully in opposition to much of the left stands for (thus far; the man is a cipher), would especially seem to make the point that such bullying behavior not only isn’t changing anyone’s mind, or keeping the ideas from existing and even spreading, but contributing an equal and opposite reaction *to* the leftist desires. So in fact, it appears that such tactics not only aren’t helping the left, but actively working against its goals.

        In which case, again, why do it? If it not only goes against a basic human right of expression, which it most certainly does—which the left supposedly cares about—but is demonstrably hurting its cause, why does the left keep doing it and justifying it? To me the only answer left is the personal effect it has on the individual. It makes the shouter, the ideological bully, feel better about himself. Feel like he’s done something. Despite the fact that he’s actually done worse than nothing: He’s convinced those who disagree with him, or might simply be uncertain, that he doesn’t have the strength of his own convictions. That he’s afraid of differing opinions. That he’s afraid of free expression. It’s hard not to

        So go on shouting, go on bullying, go on shutting down free expression, and see how far it gets you. It might make you feel better, but it’s neither logical nor mature, it certainly isn’t winning you any followers, and by the look of things, is actually hurting your cause, not helping it. There were a number of serious, civil conservatives in the race this election season. The rise of a character like Trump out of that field is almost exclusively in reaction to the bullying tactics of the left. That part of the right—and it was a minority; non-Trump choices beat Trump in the primaries—wanted its own bully. It’s only because the left’s candidate was so reviled herself that he managed to become president. And now we all have to deal with it.

        So I ask you: Is it worth it? Or perhaps might it be better just to hear others’ opinions and disagree with them?

  3. Argle. I agree with you. I support the beating of all speakers disloyal to our country with baseball bats.

    • David, as I clearly said, the *speech* response must be in proportion to the harm of the speech. Just as freedom of speech gives Sen. Santorum the right to deny the right of ‘undesirable’ individuals to exist and do so without fear for his life or limb, it also gives me the right to vigorously oppose said denial, so long as I do him no bodily harm. If you are truly so beholden to a nation-state structure that you feel my speech against some of its more morally questionable stances is abhorrent, you are free to do the same, but you may not threaten or perform battery in doing so, as that would be illegal. To extend a metaphor that Santorum used, anyone may speak up in the public square of ideas, anyone may attempt to shout down others in the public square of ideas (I’d suggest that this right should be exercised sparingly, only for those perpetuating beliefs that are fundamentally and clearly amoral and/or unjust), but nobody, not even the state, may bring a gun to the public square of ideas.

    • I quote : “Santorum literally said gay people are going to burn in hell.” Now, what if they do ? What would you do then ?

  4. I would hope the disrupters would send the above video to their parents, and keep a copy for their own children to view, as a proud momento of the way to treat a guest speaker who may have an opinion that differs from your own.

  5. People puzzled by or dismayed by the conduct of these student disrupters should understand what it is about. They support big government. This is so government, at the point of a gun, collects tax dollars from hard working, productive people. They hand them over to people who return nothing of value, tax sucking parasites. So any threat to this transfer is a threat to their livelihood, and will be physically resisted. This effect is called rent seeking. It should be criminalized.

  6. But you are a denier. Deniers do not argue in good faith. They have an agenda, often an anti-Semitic one. It is a waste of time to speak to a denier. Because they do not recognize the humanity of their targeted groups, violence against them has full justification and is actually a duty. If one comes close to the halls of power, that one should be killed.

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