As a biomedical sciences student, Isabel Brown never anticipated finding herself immersed in a world of leftism, silenced by the thought police, and afraid to speak up for conservative values–but hers is the reality that defined her college experience. Her new book, Frontlines: Finding My Voice on an American College Campus, is a shocking and honest account of the culture war at American universities, giving you a front-row seat to campus indoctrination.
Her story is a reminder of the need for true ideological diversity on America’s college campuses and is a call to action for us all to boldly fight for the future of American culture on and off-campus.
Drew Appelbaum: Hey listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Isabel Brown, author of Frontlines: Finding My Voice on an American College Campus. Isabel, thank you for joining, welcome to The Author Hour Podcast.
Isabel Brown: Drew, thanks so much for having me, I’m excited to be here.
Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off. Can you give us a rundown of your background and tell us a little bit about yourself?
Isabel Brown: Absolutely. I am a 23-year-old who is currently working in the realm of social media and where that intersects with conservative politics. Had you asked me a few years ago if I ever would have worked in this space, I would have thought you were crazy. I started my college journey in 2015 with the intention of becoming a doctor. I was premed, studying biomedical sciences at Colorado State University, and never intended on working as a spokesperson for a large political organization, becoming somewhat of a social media influencer, or writing a book about what my experience was like on my college campus facing very extreme political adversity and hatred for the things that I believed in.
Along the way, through my college experience, at a big agricultural, traditionally pretty conservative school, I found that indoctrination was so powerful, in my experience, even studying things like anatomy, physics, and biochemistry. We were spending most of our time arguing about the politics of the day instead of learning about the pursuit of objective truth, which is why I decided to pursue science to begin with.
My journey had a lot of ups and downs, but I ultimately ended up taking a little bit of a different turn than my original anticipation of what I wanted to do for a career path. Today, I work as a spokesperson for Turning Point USA, which is America’s largest and fastest-growing conservative youth organization.
Turning Point USA
Drew Appelbaum: Why was now the time to share these stories and to write this book?
Isabel Brown: Doing what I do with Turning Point USA, I’m very fortunate to travel to so many college campuses across the country and interact with thousands of college students every day.
I’ve noticed a prevailing theme when it comes to talking about the political division on our campuses, you sometimes hear about it on the news when there is a controversial speaker that comes to campus or a big protest takes place, but you don’t hear the untold stories from the student perspective of how that impacts your academics or relationships with your friends on campus, maybe mentors that you may have had, when you decide to come out as conservative, so to speak, to your community in your academic setting.
I experienced that firsthand when I was a student at CSU, we would bring quasi-famous speakers to campus, but nobody knew that six months later, my professor would try to give me an F on my paper or my peers tried to kick me out of student government because I had decided to take on a role of bringing conservative ideas to my college campus.
Now, doing what I do after graduation, I’m learning that there are quite literally thousands of stories exactly like mine that you’ve probably never heard about before because it’s never made headline national news.
There are students who are losing all of their friends, they’re being ostracized in their student government or sorority communities on campus, they’re losing mentors and professional opportunities during their college experience, simply because of how they voted on a ballot for president of the United States or a club that they may belong to because of their most personal beliefs.
I decided it was time that that student perspective be brought to light and give people a unique opportunity to see what it was like to impact the day-to-day life of a college student being so outwardly conservative in a time that cancel culture essentially dictates you can’t be an outspoken conservative.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, a lot of authors have the idea of the book rattling around in their head and they’ll outline that idea and start with it but during the writing process, sometimes by digging deeper into some of the subjects, you’ll come up with some major breakthroughs in learnings. Did you have any of these along your writing journey?
Isabel Brown: I certainly did. My book, like many, probably took many twists and turns throughout the process. When I was approaching the end of my senior year of college in 2019, that’s when I first had this gut feeling that I wanted to tell my story through a book–through long-form content, where people could read about my personal reaction to everything that happened during my college experience, being labeled “that Turning Point girl” and “that conservative girl” at Colorado State University, also highlighting some of the behind-the-scenes things that never got brought to the light when I was a student. Perhaps through student government meetings that I had with the university administration and individual class settings.
I knew a while back that a book was the right medium I wanted to take, but I was so excited, as the process of writing the book continued, to be able to explore and exposing stories of students beyond myself and hand the microphone off, so to speak, to highlight this reality that’s happening all across our country, not just at Colorado State University, which was a pretty unsuspecting place, to begin with, but in many places across the country that you would never expect.
I certainly had lots of breakthroughs through the writing process. Ultimately, I tried to tie the story to this moment that we’re experiencing culturally as a country. We’ve perhaps never been so politically divided, and I think there’s a lot more that unites us than separates us, but unfortunately, especially on college campuses, we are so hyper-focused on this extreme division between one another that we’re forbidden from even having a conversation about those commonalities, to begin with. My hope with this book is that that conversation gets started.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, in your mind, while you were writing this book, who were you writing it for? Is it only for conservatives or younger folks, or can readers on both sides of the aisle and in all age groups have takeaways from the book?
Isabel Brown: I very intentionally wrote this book for a wide variety of demographics and audiences. Mainly because we need that so desperately in our country right now. Just echoing what I previously said, we need an opportunity for us to come together and recognize the humanity in one another, spanning age groups, races, genders, and political backgrounds especially.
My hope is that there is an opportunity for us to start really meaningful conversations through reading Frontlines, that people are feeling ostracized like never before, especially as young adults, Gen Z Americans in particular, like myself born in the year 1997 and later.
I initially really tried to target this book towards people my own age to help them realize that they’re not alone. It can feel so isolating and difficult when you decide to take on the burden of becoming an outspoken conservative in your community and you don’t see other people doing that first.
I certainly experienced that, I lost a lot of friendships and relationships along the way, but I want other kids to know who go through this experience, that they’re not alone. There’s a huge community of people who resonate with them, who share their values, and who will back them up. Similarly, people on the left side of the aisle deserve to have the opportunity to hear conservative voices on their college campus.
College used to be this place all about exploring the wide diversity of ideas out there in the world, challenging every perspective that you have, and sharply questioning everything you know. Sadly, we’re starting to see that dwindle with my generation faster than any before mine.
My hope is that those meaningful conversations to find out what the other side of the aisle believes can start to take place.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, are there similar books like this out there, or is this the first really diving into the conservative experience on a college campus?
Isabel Brown: There are many books that highlight just how divided college campuses have become but this truly is the first book that highlights it from the student perspective. Most people who are outspoken, so to speak, influencers in the conservative movement, either never went to college, or it’s been so long since they’ve been on a college campus that things have so dramatically changed, they probably wouldn’t recognize their own college experience from even just a few years ago.
Today, college students face extreme indoctrination in their classrooms. They’re unable to advocate for their own personal beliefs, and if someone becomes an outspoken individual for the conservative side of thinking on their campus, they are often completely ridiculed by their peers, they face failing grades in their classes, they’re ostracized from other clubs or organizations on campus. Now we’re starting to see that escalate to new levels that I didn’t even experience when I graduated in 2019.
Many of the conservative students I work with at Turning Point USA are beat up. They’re punched in the face on campus when they’re tabling, which is essentially setting up a table in the middle of campus to educate their peers about conservative ideas.
It’s just continuing to escalate further and further into this idea of a cultural war between what we want the United States of America to look like in the future, and what it has looked like in the past.
Political Spin on Campus
Drew Appelbaum: Now, had you had this book right before you started college, do you think your college experience might have looked a little different?
Isabel Brown: It absolutely would have and that mainly centers around this reality that I started college completely blind to the reality that indoctrination or any sort of political spin on what I would expect to be objective truth in my science classes, in particular, existed.
I was the oldest child in my family, I was the first to go to college, I didn’t really have a lot of older friends that I could ask about what current college campuses looked like. My family really navigated this process alongside me for the first time. It blindsided me, my parents, my younger siblings.
I love what I get to do now as a spokesperson for a college-based political activism organization because I get to speak to high school students and their families about what they can expect on a college campus.
I very intentionally chose the school that I did because it was a traditionally conservative school. I expected to be able to find people that shared my values that I could build a community with, that I could feel comfortable being myself around, and I instead found the dramatic exact opposite.
Drew Appelbaum: I have to ask you this question. I’m so interested. You were actually an intern at the Whitehouse in 2018? How was that? Is there anything top of mind that you think people should know about the inner workings of the Whitehouse?
Isabel Brown: I was an intern for the Trump Whitehouse, which is especially special because it was such a short period of time with the Trump administration for one term, which is pretty rare within my lifetime at least, for a United States president.
I signed up for the Whitehouse internship program and submitted my application after I became a very outspoken conservative on my college campus and was looking for more opportunities to give back to my community and learn more about what it truly means to be a conservative public servant.
I was very fortunate to intern in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the summer of 2018 and for those that don’t know, that was an office started in the Reagan administration that very intentionally works with state and local government officials across the country, to show those individuals what the federal government can do to serve them, not the other way around.
It’s an incredibly interesting office that many people don’t know about because it’s not at the top of headlines all the time. My job as an intern was essentially to work with state legislators, mayors, county commissioners and invite them to the Whitehouse so that they could see the numerous resources that were available to help them succeed, rather than asking what they can do for the federal government.
It was an incredibly rewarding experience, many of the individuals I talked to on the phone and eventually met at the Whitehouse had never even received a phone call from the Whitehouse of the United States, let alone an invitation to come and meet cabinet officials and the vice-president and such.
I had a really wonderful experience and I wish more people, particularly now, who don’t have access to that behind-the-scenes experience with the Trump administration, understood, just how service-focused that administration was.
There’s a lot of negative headlines from pretty much every media outlet out there about this administration, but the people I was fortunate enough to work with showed up every day at the crack of dawn, doing everything they could until about 11:30 at night, every day to serve the American people the best way that they could.
While you don’t hear about that in the media, that’s something I’m very grateful for.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you call yourself in the book a conservative warrior, can you define that for us?
Isabel Brown: I absolutely can. We like to say at Turning Point USA that America is in the midst of a culture war that we’re trying to determine between conservatives who are outspoken in our country and the left, which has really culturally dominated our political sphere in the last few decades, what the culture of the United States is going to look like moving forward.
Today, in 2021, the left is very dominant in pretty much every cultural sphere of influence in our country. Hollywood, music, entertainment, academia. You’re seeing this in the political sphere now obviously with President Biden and a democrat-controlled house and senate within the United States Congress. So, across the board, you’re seeing the influence of the political left start to dominate American culture much more so than the political right.
That’s been a reality in academia for several decades, even if most Americans were not aware of it. I think we’ve reached a very unique tipping point within my college experience and the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 where the left and the right became equally vocal and you started to see that tension continue to grow in academia.
Now, that tension is obviously seeping into the rest of what American culture might look like. When I say that I’m a conservative warrior, it means I show up every day to fight for the things that I believe in, in the cultural spheres of influence that I am very lucky to work in.
I host an IGTV show for example on Instagram TV that’s posted across social media platforms with Turning Point USA where I give people one minute of a fact a day from a conservative point of view, just trying to educate people on a reality that they may not be hearing on their social media feed, in traditional media, in their college classroom, et cetera.
Obviously, I wrote this book, which is definitely a cultural opportunity for students to experience what it was like to be a conservative student on my college campus, and they can personally resonate with that.
I do a fair amount of public speaking as well, trying to educate my peers from both sides of the aisle about this cultural reality we’re living in now and why I believe conservative ideas are the answer to many of the problems our society faces.
Drew Appelbaum: You actually start the book in an interesting way and the intro, the first line is, “I’m not supposed to be writing this book.” Why is that?
Isabel Brown: I felt in my college experience that I loved college. Just like everyone else. I mean, there’s the football games and eating pizza with your friends on Friday night in the dining hall. You get to be involved in so many amazing organizations and opportunities on campus. I loved my classes and I loved what I was studying.
But the reality is, my college experience looked dramatically different from what I anticipated or what I had hoped. Instead of making lifelong friends, I made a lot of lifelong enemies because I decided to be vocal about the things that I believe in. Even if those people decided to walk away from a friendship on unfounded beliefs about who I was or what my character was, I was often attacked by my peers with death threats, harassment, threats of violence.
I had the one-bedroom apartment address that I lived in posted online without my consent, which is called doxing and is becoming very popular against conservative students on college campuses. I was literally afraid for my life at many points in my college experience, simply because I wanted people to start asking questions. I wanted to return to what college was supposed to be all about and that’s healthy discussion and debate and expanding your worldview.
I got plenty of that as a conservative, being exposed to the left ways of thinking, but my peers really never were exposed to conservative thinking until I decided to do something about it, and start bringing speakers to campus, hosting events about conservative ideas, handing out “socialism sucks” buttons on my campus to students walking by.
Unfortunately, that made a lot of people very angry and they deciding to alienate me, but I think it also started a very important cultural moment and conversation at Colorado State University that desperately needed to be had. Unfortunately, because I was the first person to make that decision and willingly so, I faced all of the backlash associated with that initial effort to bring conservative ideas back to campus.
As I said, I lost a lot of friendships along the way, many professors that I considered mentors decided to end personal relationships with me. I often had TA’s or graduate students try to give me failing grades on assignments, not because they were wrong, or they didn’t follow the rubric but because I was a girl who invited a prominent conservative speaker to campus a few months before.
I wasn’t supposed to have that experience, especially because I wasn’t intending on working in politics as a premed student. At the same time, that experience made me who I am today, and given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.
An Outspoken Conservative
Drew Appelbaum: Now, do you think your experience is the same at all college campuses? Was your experience different at Georgetown where you did your graduate work versus at Colorado State University?
Isabel Brown: I’ll start with your first question. I don’t necessarily think every student experiences what I do as a current spokesperson for Turning Point USA or what I experienced as an outspoken conservative on my campus, but I do think this is a common experience that thousands of students have at virtually every college campus across the country. There’s a very small handful, which I would say take exception, namely Liberty University and Heritage Foundation programs that are run through a few different college campuses across the country, particularly Hillsdale College. Virtually every other college campus in America has at least one story like mine.
That should be alarming to everyone regardless of what political background people are from because this is so much bigger than conservative ideas or disagreeing politically. This is about shutting down free speech and one’s ability to speak their mind, assuming anybody disagrees with you. If you can do that to a conservative student, you can do that to anybody in time depending on who’s in power.
Every college student should be aware of this. Every parent should be aware of this before they send their student to college–everybody needs to have their eyes open to this reality. My experience at Georgetown in graduate school was dramatically different and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that it was a master’s degree program rather than undergraduate education. I think most students in undergrad programs are still figuring out what they want to do with their life. You have a lot of general education classes and there is a lot more opportunity for universities to influence you at age 18 versus age 22 or older when you are in a master’s degree program.
My program at Georgetown was also hyper-focused on science policy in the government. It had a slightly political aspect to it but it mostly was about the process of what specific departments did in the federal government, how the FDA works, what’s the NIH and how can we help support that. It was a much more hyper-focused program on one subject and therefore didn’t have as much opportunity for indoctrination.
Drew Appelbaum: Do you think the higher-level faculty at these learning institutions actually have an agenda to block out conservative voices?
Isabel Brown: I know for a fact many higher-level faculty members, particularly in college administrations, do have a very specific agenda to not only block out conservative voices but essentially elevate the farthest left voices they can find on college campuses.
A lot of that is included in Frontlines, my book, but working in student government at a very high level, I had a unique opportunity about once a week as a college student to sit down behind closed doors in private meetings with the university president and many members of the administration.
I was frequently told that there was no place for conservative voices like mine on our college campus. My school’s primary goal from the department of diversity was to make Colorado State University the next Mizzou, and if you’re listening to this and you don’t understand what that means, the Black Lives Matter Movement as an organization started on the Mizzou campus. They wanted social justice and racial justice to be at the forefront of everything that Colorado State University stood for.
You saw that progression intentionally take place from my freshman year to my senior year where for example, my younger sister started as a freshman when I was a senior at CSU and she was forced to introduce herself with her pronouns, talk about her racial identity, and experienced a much different reality in her orientation starting college than I ever did just a few years prior. That came from very intentional marketing and programming from the administration at the top down.
Drew Appelbaum: Now you say, “We are quite literally fighting an intellectual war for the future of our nation and world and in this war, our college campuses are the frontline.” Why are college campuses the frontline over media outlets or other sources?
Isabel Brown: That is a fantastic question. I think we are starting to see those lines be more and more blurred as things have gone digital with the COVID-19 pandemic, and school has moved largely to a screen on our computer or our iPad, rather than in the classroom. The reality is, historically in our country, college campuses have been where the next generation of ideas are born. Where the next generation of adults come into adulthood and start to influence the world around them once they graduate from their college campus and enter their chosen workplace.
Today, we’re starting to see college campuses become hyper-focused on one side of political thinking, period, and that is of leftism, which is why you see such a staggering amount of young people, both millennials and Gen Z Americans believing so strongly in socialism. The vast majority of them say they would vote for a socialist candidate, and want programs like are offered in countries like Cuba and Venezuela here in the United States.
They don’t necessarily understand what socialism looks like in real life but that’s what they have been taught so strongly to believe in all of their college classrooms. I say very frequently while I’m public speaking on behalf of many of my jobs, that socialism has become a euphemism for equality for young Americans today and on college campuses, we are being taught that the only way to achieve racial equality or gender equality or income inequality is through socialism. That’s the only way to solve the problem of inequality in our country.
When you see that constantly talked about in every possible opportunity on college campuses, in the classroom, in your student government meeting, in your dorm, with the posters lining the hallways on all of the buildings on campus, in the athletics department, all of the emails that you get from the admissions office and the administration, when that is the drumbeat narrative that’s consistent throughout your four years of college, you start to believe that. Especially if you have never been exposed to political thinking before you go to your college campus when you’re 18 years old.
Then you graduate and take those ideas with you, which is why we’re starting to see so many of these ideas permeate the halls of congress, American cities, the corporate boardrooms that we are seeing across our country, and why this political division is only continuing to grow.
Drew Appelbaum: One of the more interesting topics you talk about was the liberal case for a conservative presence on campus, and you briefly touched on it earlier, but I’d love for you to dig a little deeper. What’s that about?
Isabel Brown: Many of my friends who I met along the way in my journey deciding to become more outspoken about my beliefs were actually people who vehemently politically disagreed with me and shockingly, most of my friends who I thought agreed with me along the way, distanced themselves because they didn’t want to associate with someone who was so outspoken and had become that number one target on our campus.
Many of my friends that I met, as I mentioned, were very far on the political left. They were individuals that supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. They called themselves democratic socialists or even communists. They wanted complete government control of everything, but we got to know each other particularly through student government, and after many, many conversations and getting to know one another more personally, we realized that our end goal for the United States of America was almost always exactly the same. We just disagreed on the pathway that we should take to get to that point.
We wanted to end poverty. We wanted to end inequality. We wanted more opportunity for all Americans regardless of their background. We wanted everyone to be able to build their own American dream regardless of circumstances and the obstacles that may get in their way. They had only ever been taught that complete government control was the only solution to get there.
I was able to change a few minds along the way, but we also gained a mutual respect for one another in understanding that we wanted to end up at the same place and there was an opportunity for us to work together to get there. You don’t understand that until you have conversations with people that you disagree with and unfortunately, especially on college campuses, you are taught very early on to never talk about politics with the people around you unless it is coming from an authority figure. So, your professor or the administration or someone who is in charge of student government for example, but the only way you can end friendships is by talking about politics.
I posit in my book to the contrary. When you break that divide, when you decide to build a bridge across the things that society says will always divide you, you realize that that divide isn’t as big as you thought. There is a lot more that you have in common than you have apart and when we are able to reconcile those differences and come together as one, that is when we become a stronger society in the United States and around the world.
But ultimately, like I’ve said a few times, college is supposed to be this place where you question everything you know. You are supposed to question your own preconceived notions. You are supposed to change your mind about things. You are supposed to ask all the right questions to end up at a place of objective truth.
Unfortunately, now, you are only taught one way of thinking in almost all of your classes, even in the hard sciences, as I experienced as a biomedical sciences student. You are not supposed to question anything anymore. That makes you a bigot or that makes you a white supremacist now, unfortunately, and so I think those meaningful conversations that you have with people who you do disagree with getting lost along the way, and we do a huge disservice to all college students regardless of what political background they’re from.
Speak to People with Respect
Drew Appelbaum: I’m actually glad you just mentioned those labels because you had some pretty harrowing experiences and you mentioned violence towards conservative groups earlier on campus, and it’s because a lot of times these groups are automatically equated to racists. Why do you think these labels are created and slapped on these groups like this?
Isabel Brown: You are starting to see the hyperbole in our political sphere continue to escalate more and more. When I wrote this book, I think the worst thing you could possibly be called as a conservative was a white supremacist. That was just about as bad as it got and unfortunately, I am called that label all of the time without any foundation for who I am or what my values are whatsoever because of what I do now and when I was a college student at CSU.
Now, you are even starting to see terms like domestic terrorist be slapped on to conservatives because of some unrest that many, many people have overwhelmingly denounced on January 6th at the United States Capitol. Obviously, I wrote my book before that event happened, but I think you are starting to see this assumption of a group of people all believing these very extreme ideas because of a handful of extreme individuals who are repeatedly denounced by the loudest voices over and over again.
In 2016, that word was deplorable then it escalated to racists, then white supremacists, and now conservatives are being referred to as domestic terrorists or radical extremists. I believe that the political left takes on this game of calling you the worst thing that they possibly can because they are effective at it and it works. No one in their right mind wants to be called homophobic or transphobic or racist or a white supremacist or a member of the National Socialist Workers Party, if you know what I am referring to in political history in Germany in particular, because it is scary and it destroys your reputation.
When you are called those things, what do most people do? They stay silent, they stop advocating for what they believe in. They stop fighting for conservative values on campus or in their community or online, as we are starting to see a rise of that behavior happening digitally as well. The left has learned that if they can call you the worst possible name in the book, you will probably back down and be silent and stop asking questions and stop fighting for what you believe in.
I learned as a college student that when you keep pushing through that, you realize these people have no idea who you truly are or what your values are, or how you feel about the people around you. They are just very targeted in trying to get you to stay silent. When you make the intentional effort to speak to people with respect and with kindness and love, even those that disagree with you, it is pretty hard for people to continue calling you those names over and over again. This is frankly how I made so many friends who I politically disagreed with as a student.
Respect comes both ways and I think if you refuse to play the same game as a conservative, if you refuse to participate in the name-calling and the labeling and the hyperbolic language, people start to realize that you’re none of those things. You are not a racist or white supremacist or domestic terrorist. You are just a person who happens to have a different opinion. I believe it is very important that we start to get past this labeling and name-calling.
Drew Appelbaum: Even diving deeper into the more recent labeling, recently the media has been putting conservative political views on folks who refuse to follow COVID-19 protocols. Have you seen this to be true?
Isabel Brown: To a degree, yes. I think COVID-19 has been a unique experience in humanity and in my graduate program, I studied biomedical sciences policy and advocacy, so a lot of what we are seeing right now was part of my curriculum at Georgetown University in how do we respond to pandemics? What does international health law look like in a time of crisis? How does private health programming work when we are trying to keep people from being sick?
It was very unique learning about all of these protocols and processes in the midst of an actual pandemic, and I am grateful to have that experience, but sadly, I think this response to this pandemic has become so politicized on both sides of the aisle. You are seeing politicians take advantage of walk-downs so that they can provide specific benefits to only a handful of businesses rather than letting small businesses or mom-and-pop shops continue to stay open.
You are seeing schools continue to be shut down and closed and that’s taking such a toll on the mental health of young Americans and children in particular. We are seeing record highs in anxiety and depression and suicide in our country right now with young people, and all of that centers around political ideology, which is so unfortunate because science never used to be about a difference of opinion or political beliefs in that realm. It used to be about challenging everything we know in this straight line walk towards objective truth and now, you can’t even question things in the scientific reality because you’re being political if you’re doing so.
Drew Appelbaum: Now what’s next for you? You’ve been really successful so far, you’re out of graduate school, your book is out, you have a great Instagram following, what are you going to do with your time?
Isabel Brown: I always love to answer this question in a pretty unique way. When you are a premed student, you have every year of your life for the next 25 years perfectly planned out. You have this many years in med school, and this many years of a residency, and then a fellowship, and then maybe you’ll practice. That is how I really operated my entire collegiate experience knowing that the next 20 to 30 years were perfectly planned out for me.
Now I could not tell you necessarily what I am doing six months from now and I am actually very much enjoying that. God’s thrown a lot of really wonderful opportunities in my path in the last year and a half or so, and I never could have anticipated doing what I’m doing right now, having a book published, operating a social media video series, growing such a big following on Instagram, and traveling the country everywhere to speak on college campuses and encourage more students like me who didn’t have somebody to look up to like I did when I was a college student.
It’s been such a rewarding experience and I am very excited to see what may lie just around the corner that I can’t even imagine yet like I didn’t just a few months ago. I do plan on attending law school in the fall, so I’ll be making that decision here in the next couple of months and I am excited to pursue that next adventure in my life and learn more about public policy and the law and how we can effectively create programming that helps people from all backgrounds in the United States. That’s really my ultimate goal, but in terms of a specific career path, I think we will just have to see.
Drew Appelbaum: Well Isabel, we just touched on the surface of the book here, but I want to say that writing a book, which is going to help people find comfort and find a voice in their political leanings and you really exposed your thoughts and feelings to the world is no small feat. Congratulations on being published.
Isabel Brown: Thank you. I am so excited for people to read my story and it’s been such a long time coming that I finally get to just lay it all out on the paper in front of you, how I felt about certain things, what it was like to go through those experiences and how it impacted my own life. My hope and my prayer is that it can help provide support to other students experiencing that same backlash that I went through as a student and ideally, inspire some people to continue speaking up.
One Individual Can Make a Difference
Drew Appelbaum: That does lead to my last question, which is the hot seat question. If readers could take away only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?
Isabel Brown: I want people to know that one individual really can make a massive difference, when you are rooted in truth and what you believe in, standing against seemingly a mob of people who disagree with you. That is such a cliché and I think it’s how many books and movies are written from this idea that one individual really can change the world and that may or may not be true. You may not change the world for everyone, but you can change the world for one person at a time.
Seeing someone in your community speak up and stand up for the things that they believe in no matter what hatred or backlash or vile language gets thrown at them can be so inspiring. I learned that through going through it myself after seeing nobody that I agreed with doing that in my community. I decided if no one else was going to, it was going to have to be me, so I did.
I experienced a lot of hatred because of that but it was so rewarding being able to look back as I was graduating from school at Colorado State and seeing hundreds of new freshman students walking around in “socialism sucks” t-shirts and stickers on their water bottles that indicated that they were conservative and feeling emboldened to share who they were with the world.
My hope is that people take away this idea that it all starts with one person being brave enough to continue getting up over and over again no matter what. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it is alienating and isolating sometimes. Yes, you may be called the worst names in the book but there is a strength in you that you might not even recognize right now that’s lying just under the surface, if only you’re willing to take that first 10 seconds of courage.
Drew Appelbaum: This has been a pleasure and I’m really excited for people to check out this book. Everyone, the book is called Frontlines and you can find it on Amazon. Isabel, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?
Isabel Brown: The best way to connect with me is on social media, namely Instagram. That is my most user-friendly platform. You can find me @theisabelbrown. I am very responsive to comments and direct messages. I would love to hear from any of you guys directly.
Drew Appelbaum: Well Isabel, thank you so much for coming on the show today, and best of luck with your new book.
Isabel Brown: Thank you so much, Drew.
Leadering: Nancy Giordano