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The fight for America’s soul took Todd Starnes to Santa Barbara, California where he spoke to a crowd of high school students at annual high school summit hosted by Young America’s Foundation.
Fox Nation broadcast a special edition of Starnes Country at the conference, featuring clips of Starnes’ keynote address as well as interviews with a number of the teens. Watch the entire show by clicking here.
“I believe that if we’re going to restore traditional American values it’s going to be through conservative American young people like yourselves and Young America’s Foundation,” Starnes said in his speech.
Conservative Teens Find Common Ground
The event drew a number of young attendees from all over the country, including Jonathan Short from Arlington, Virginia, who said that the event provided him an opportunity to make friends with like-minded people and take a breather from his town which voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Short’s comments were echoed by other attendees, including attendee Hadley Pinkerton who said that she appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas with people her age.
Pinkerton expressed admiration for Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro who she said was her favorite speaker of the event.
“Every question he is asked he just yells out an answer, knows his stuff,” she said.
In his speech Starnes promised the young attendees that they could count on him as an ally and a friend in their shared fight to restore traditional American values.
“You have somebody who is standing proudly alongside you in your fight to restore traditional American values,” Starnes said. “When those leftist thugs try to shut down your free speech, when they try to shut down your organizations, you’d better believe that we’re going to be there telling those stories and shining a very large bright light on the darkness that is infecting many of our public school campuses.”
Conservative Teens Face Hostility on Campus
Jack Duffy, of Wisconsin, said the YAF conference gave him an opportunity to be near students who are like-minded and share the same value system.
He said that many times conservative teenagers are given the cold shoulder. He said he experienced hostility when they tried to set up a flag memorial for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“The pushback was insane. We had posters torn down,” he said. “I wasn’t allowed to speak at the event. They had to move it to the back of the school. The whole thing was oppressed by the school.”
Starnes encouraged the students to stand firm no matter the cost.
“We are freedom’s last line of defense,” Starnes said. “Let the flame of freedom burn bright for all the world to see.”
Citing President Ronald Reagan’s famous quote that freedom is only one generation away from being lost, Starnes wrapped up his trip to the conference with an expression of hope for the future.
“The good news is after what we’ve seen today in Santa Barbara, I believe that this generation and future generations of Americans are dedicated to preserving freedom and religious liberty.”
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