Roland Egenolf isn’t your typical Republican National Convention volunteer.
The 22-year-old student came all the way from Germany to lend a hand in Tampa, FL, this week. But aside from the unmistakeable accent in his voice, Egenolf’s politics are right in line with thousands of others gathered at the RNC.
“The only party who still really stands for America and is willing to preserve it and the values for which the country stands is the Republican Party and that’s why I’m here,” Egenolf told TheBlaze. “I want to support the conservative cause because I think the conservative cause is the American cause.”
As a student studying business in Nuremberg, he was required to spend a semester abroad. There was no question he wanted to go to America, and chose the University of Tampa specifically so he could help at the RNC.
But just how did he come to espouse such views? He said it started during the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, under a steady wave of Bush bashing by his teachers.
“I always loved America,” Egenolf said. “I read up on the presidency of President Bush, I think he made it possible that two countries were liberated, and the Europeans didn’t like that at all. It was never an issue that the people there are suppressed and they have no human rights…the Germans just don’t talk about that, they say it’s all about oil.”
But he didn’t stop there; he started streaming Fox News online (“illegally,” he admits) to get access to different points of view. And that’s where he came across Glenn Beck.
“Some day he appeared on Fox — I never heard of him,” Egenolf said. “He taught a lot about George Soros and all that stuff, how the left is organized, nobody really knows about it, it’s shocking and how radical they are.”
Since then he’s become a regular reader of TheBlaze and a subscriber to TheBlaze TV. He pours over conservative blogs including Gateway Pundit and Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs.
He said they all carry a different message from the one that’s pervasive throughout Europe.
“I think it’s freedom, I think you can put it in that word,” Egenolf said. “In Europe we lost that and the people don’t care about freedom, they care about…social security and all that kind of stuff, but not really to be free and I think the American people still has that spirit.”
Needless to say, he’s no fan of President Barack Obama.
“I think he’s a terrible president,” he said. “I’m mostly concerned about foreign policy and what we see in the Middle East…he shows at least a lack of support for Israel.”
So far, Egenolf has spent his week as a greeter and helped wave cars into parking lots. He said his ultimate dream is to immigrate to America and join the U.S. military. He hoped he might connect with a lawmaker at the RNC who could help facilitate the process.
“I just met [Sen.] John McCain and he said I should write him a letter, but let’s see what happens,” he said.
He said there aren’t too many people who share his political views back home.
“Honestly my family is not at all [interested] in politics,” he said. “I couldn’t give you the name of one person who has the same beliefs as I have.”
But while people in Germany might have a knee-jerk reaction to conservative American politics and politicians — he singled out Sarah Palin as one who provokes a particularly strong reaction — he said they can actually be receptive when you talk about the ideas, without the labels of “liberal” or “conservative.”
“In Germany, a lot of people when you ask them or continue to ask or know them a little bit better, they actually share your opinion,” he said. “But in Europe they are so afraid to be conservative because you are labeled a fascist, a right-wing extremist.”
He said it’s hard to sum up exactly what makes him feel so strongly about America.
“A lot of people ask me that, why I love America so much and it’s honestly hard for me to express that,” he said. “I think it’s just in the people somehow, who understand the American way. I don’t know, I always just put it in one word which is freedom.”