A Young Woman's Education in Politics

To clear the record and counter the misleading media coverage, Sklar and Malhotra have been speaking to groups like the Civitan Club, the Eagle Forum, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, and a local tea party organization.

Sklar’s current political concern is the exportation of the Obama administration’s “bad, bad policies to the local level” -- whether in Fulton County’s northern Republican stronghold or the traditionally Democratic city of Atlanta and south side. Having done “reconnaissance work” at left-wing rallies and events, she concludes that grassroots efforts like the tea parties are a “most impressive display” that sends the message, “You serve because we elected you.”

As a response to the public’s request for information about how to help during their trial, Sklar, now as an alum, is launching an initiative to make her alma mater accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers. The initiative will include a website to provide alternative information, as well as action strategies. Part of the problem lies with the fact that the public’s information comes from official releases from the university’s administration -- an administration unsympathetic, and indeed hostile, to those like Sklar and Malhotra.

As the immense popularity of Obama on college campuses shows, outreach to young people is vital to advancing the cause of conservatism. Sklar is looking to expand the initiative begun by local GOP chairman Shawn Hanley to reach out to Atlanta’s historically black colleges. The College Republicans chapter at Morehouse College began last year with two people, but has grown to 40 in one year. The next stops are Spelman and Clark Atlanta.

Sklar attributes her political awareness in large part to her grandmother, a Romanian emigre (whose brothers attended the same Torah study group Eli Wiesel did). Her grandmother survived the Holocaust by hiding. Another influence is her father, who began his business by washing window shades and blinds in the parking spot of his parents’ Bronx apartment; he built the business to where he could raise his four children. She witnessed the overreach of government when the New York bureaucracy ticketed him for not making the lettering on his trucks big enough. As the youngest child, she saw the change in the public schools. By the time she began school, she was entering through metal detectors. All these experiences, she says, make her aware of the danger of “government control.” “Freeing people from the burden of government is in most people’s hearts and minds,” she asserts, as we talk in her office in the party’s new and larger headquarters in suburban Sandy Springs. Expressing optimism, she says, November 5 was the start of the GOP “comeback.”

Sklar and Malhotra’s experience illustrates the closed-mindedness and viciousness of the academy. But in this case, the administration helped form a political leader. It’s probably not what they had in mind when they called Sklar into their offices and tried to intimidate her. But for those of us who value liberal learning and political freedom, it’s our gain.