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viewpoint

I was the Republican debater at the midterm debate. Here’s what really happened. 

| Wednesday, December 7, 2022

It has now been over a month since the midterm debate, and I regret to inform you that leftists on campus still have not quite recovered.

Just this week, another opinion piece (if a glorified Reddit rant can be categorized as such) appeared in The Observer making laughably insane claims about my debate rhetoric and about the Republican platform in general. Before that, there was the infamous letter to the editor published by the Notre Dame College Democrats that unsuccessfully attempted to smear my reputation on campus. I wanted to take this opportunity to personally respond to both of these unhinged diatribes and set the record straight about the true motivation behind these baseless attacks. 

The first article, published by the College Democrats, accused me of “racist,” “anti-semitic” and “transphobic” rhetoric — doing so while providing no quotes or even a single timestamp of any of the aforementioned transgressions (one wonders why). When pressed directly by me in-person for evidence, the College Democrats, apparently being fully serious, claimed that my concern about record rates of fatherlessness amounted to a “racist dogwhistle” and opposition to sterilizing children construed “transphobia.” Regarding the claim of “anti-semitism,” they falsely accused me of equating “Judaism’s position on abortion to Aztec child sacrifice” during a discussion on the Dobbs decision. This claim was made despite the fact that, verbatim, I said that I “did not know about Judaism,” and “was not making any kind of claim about Judaism,” before explaining that a hypothetical religious exemption to abortion laws would be invalid due to the limitations of moral relativism, which is a position supported by the Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith

Likewise, the most recent Viewpoint piece (which somehow manages to be even more unhinged than the first), oscillates between blatant lies, such as claiming that I said “immigrants are inherently violent,” and legitimately deranged rhetoric, including allegations that Republicans (who the author refers to as “vexed vermin”) “actively seek to advocate for the death of [the author] or [his] friends for the crime of being born.” These allegations do not genuinely merit a serious response, but the parallels between the two articles did beg the question of why the campus left has chosen to respond to this debate in the most psychotic way imaginable. 

And the answer to that question is one word: fear. It is an overbearing trepidation felt by leftists here and across the nation toward a changing Republican Party that is finally willing to stand up to their cultural agenda. For generations, the small-government dogma that dominated the American right meant that progressives never had to answer for their radical distortions of sexual ethics, national identity and even basic ontological concepts like gender. But those days are over. Witnessing firsthand the damage cultural liberalism has inflicted on American society, the Republican Party is growing more reactionary. It’s becoming more open to using the state to promote civic virtue and in many cases, such as through the Dobbs decision, it is winning. This, the Democrats cannot handle. 

When I directly confronted the left’s evil, unconscionable sterilization of children, destruction of national borders and erosion of sexual morality, they short-circuited. They were unable to even fathom, let alone process, the prospect of genuine resistance to their cultural sacraments. The College Democrats alluded to this when they attacked me for not speaking “on a wide range of legitimate policy positions enumerated in the Republican National Committee’s official platform.” What this comment really meant is that they want Republicans to continue to spew right-liberal platitudes about individualism or capital gains taxes while they impose their morally depraved worldview on the rest of society, and that any real opposition will not be tolerated. And this is the real reason the Democrats did what they did. 

But make no mistake: neither I nor the Notre Dame College Republicans will be intimidated, and we will certainly not retreat from fighting this cultural battle. The stakes for the survival of our nation — and the health of our core institutions — are simply too high. The left can write as many hit pieces as they want and smear me with however many buzzwords they please; I apologize for nothing, and for me, America will always be worth it. 

Shri Thakur

first-year

Dec. 6

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