Real Change Report: UC Irvine

Another inspiring report from the forming YAL Chapter at UC Irvine. The OC Register has this to say…

Against currents of “Obama-mania,” a fledgling student group at UC Irvine staged an event Tuesday to counter the inauguration.

Young Americans for Liberty, one chapter of many others protesting across the country, handed out leaflets and pocket Constitutions to those who passed a booth set up at the center of campus. President Obama, they argue, doesn’t represent the progression on which he campaigned.

“This is not the change we wanted to see,” said founder Tony Burke, a fourth-year organic chemistry grad student with a ponytail draped over a T-shirt of 2008 presidential contender Ron Paul.

“YAL” perpetuates Paul’s libertarian message. In his campaign for president, the congressman and career physician spoke out against the wars in the Middle East, American’s ballooning debt, and the loss of friendly faces abroad.

When Paul dropped out of the campaign last year, many of his supporters made a big leap into the Obama camp.

“It’s quite simple, I think,” said Burke. “They saw him as the anti-war candidate.”

Now, he said, Obama is cutting against that image, formed in part by his opposition to the war in Iraq. The new president and his cabinet have talked about moving troops to Afghanistan, reviving some sort of civilian draft and exhausting $800 billion on an economic stimulus plan.

And the people surrounding him, well, many are holdovers from the Clinton administration, and others have their feet planted in corporate America.

But on a day in which students were focused on studying and the wider world on the excitement of the inauguration, YAL couldn’t flag every student’s attention, though the group did sign up a couple dozen people on its e-mail list.

It’s nothing new for Burke. As an undergrad at UC Berkeley, he served as treasurer of a libertarian student group on a campus famous for its far-left leanings. Sometimes, at meetings, it’d be just him and two other people – his roommates.

So, for now, he’s focused on finding two other folks to help the upstart at UCI. According to the school’s rules, a group must have three dues-paying members to be granted official status.

Burke said he’s interested not just in enlisting existing converts, but in finding like-minded supporters from across the political spectrum.

Take a look at their table! A+

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