CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Former Vice President Mike Pence addressed students at the University of Virginia on Tuesday night, laying out his vision for the future of the conservative movement.
The address came after the University’s left-leaning student newspaper tried to ban Pence from speaking on Grounds. Despite this, the event, which took place in the academic village of Thomas Jefferson, was packed with students who seemed to be getting his message very well.
Introducing Pence and referencing the controversy that preceded the speech, Young Americans for Freedom at UVA President Nick Cabrera said, “Let’s be thankful for our freedoms” and encouraged would-be Pence nullifiers to “take a Constitution out of pocket. ”
Pence referenced Thomas Jefferson — the University’s founder — and Virginia’s significant contributions to the founding of our country several times during his historic pitch speech.
“The antidote to undo culture is freedom, the antidote to waking up America is freedom,” he told the audience before quoting the First Amendment.
“As long as we think as we want and speak as we think,” he said, quoting Jefferson and referring to his ideal of an “institution based on the unlimited freedom of the human mind,” this generation of students may be the “generation of freedom”. necessary to ensure the stewardship of the nation and its founding principles into the future.
But, ‘the Biden-Harris administration has unleashed a tidal wave’ of bad policies, he claimed, referring to a border crisis that ‘is about to get worse’ and inflation 8.4% that “hurts American families”.
“The left hand doesn’t know what the leftmost hand is doing,” he said.
Pence also said the left has launched a “global assault on culture and values” and “wokeism is unleashed in universities and schools.”
Mentioning critical race theory, he pointed to the 1776 Commission, launched by the Trump administration as an academic counterforce to the New York Times‘”Project 1619″ and racial-essentialist ideology and terminated by the Biden administration.
“Critical race theory is nothing more than state-sanctioned racism and it should be rejected by every city and every state in this country,” he said.
However, Pence said, citing new Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R), “parents are starting to take over our schools” – foreshadowing a massive cultural shift in America. “Many on the left have spent years campaigning for a culture war and it looks like they got it.”
Turning to the issue of free speech, which was at the heart of the drama surrounding his visit, Pence joked, “I heard there was a bit of controversy” before visiting Jefferson University.
Despite what he described as an “attack on free speech,” Pence noted that “free speech is the God-given birthright of every American, and we can never let the left awake prevail”.
Pence told UVA students that for the republic to be sustained, they must remain strong in the face of adversity.
“To secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves and our posterity, you must be prepared … to uphold the ideals of the Bill of Rights,” he said. “Learn about what made this country special and unique.”
“Adversity doesn’t create character, adversity reveals character,” he said, challenging the idea that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
When conservatives are faced with character attacks that are all too common from the left, Pence said, the only response was to “talk and smile.”
“For democracy to thrive,” he concluded, “you must apply heavy doses of civility.”
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.