One month after they brought Ben Shapiro to Omaha, the Creighton Chapter of Turning Point USA brought founder Charlie Kirk to campus for a debate with theology professor Dr. Thomas Kelly. A couple hundred people came to fill up a lecture hall in the Rigge science building (most of them students). I saw many familiar faces, including Congressman Don Bacon and Kara Eastman, who’s vying for the Democrat nomination to take his seat. The two were cordial when they met each other, but I found Eastman’s presence interesting primarily because at the same time there was a big fundraiser for Bob Krist at Barrett Castle — and Eastman was apparently not invited.
The debate itself was fairly lively. Kirk and Kelly each made a 20 minute opening remark, with Kirk making his case for a capitalist worldview that seemed rooted in an Ayn Rand’s objectivism (referring to exchanging “value for value”). Dr. Kelly made a case for a system where government that was “as big as necessary and as small as possible” could control the markets and make everything fair for everyone. He also claimed that slavery was a valid example of free-market gone too far, which seemed to me a contradiction in terms.
I thought both speakers made their cases fairly well, but when Kirk said that racial inequality was better today than it was fifty years ago, the left-wing row of students in the room all laughed in unison. There were no major disturbances other than one person from this row yelling out in the Q&A, which got her and her compatriots quickly ejected. I actually got roped into asking a question with one other guy who wanted me to give him a “pro-life” question for the Creighton professor. There was a bit of informal meet-and-greet time afterward, so I naturally got a selfie with Charlie Kirk before heading out.
Watch the debate streamed on Facebook.