Monday, January 24, 2011
GOProud at CPAC: Much Ado About Nothing
This year's CPAC Conference has already drummed up a bit of controversy with less than a month to go before conservatives from across the country gather to meet and hear from a variety of conservative leaders. Big-name speakers like Michele Bachman, Andrew Breitbart, Marco Rubio, Ann Coulter and other conservative greats are scheduled to address convention goers, but one conservative leader will be absent from the scheduled list of speakers. Senator Jim DeMint, a well-known conservative Republican and leader, has decided to for-go the this year's conference. His spokesperson did not give a specific reason, but instead left more to the debate of whether his reason for not attending has something to do with the fact that CPAC decided to invite GOProud, a gay Republican organization, to be among the list of this year's participating organizations. If this is DeMint's motive for deciding not to attend this year's conference, he is not alone. Popular conservative groups like The Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation and Media Research Center have pulled out their scheduled appearances.
If the GOProud's participation in this year's conference is the reason for his decision not to attend, what does this mean for conservatives? Furthermore, what does this mean for the Republican Party? While CPAC is not affiliated with the Republican Party, it is no secret that the vast majority of those who attend are Republicans. I, for one, do not see what all the hoopla is about. I mean, come on, if a gay conservative group wants to participate in CPAC, why not let them participate? This is America after all. You may be surprised by my reaction; after all, I am a strong believer in social conservative values and principles. I am also a big believer in traditional marriage, believing marriage should only be defined as between one man and one woman. But with this aside, I do not believe boycotting this year's CPAC is doing anyone any good. With this boycott comes unneeded controversy. Whether you like it or not, gays are apart of the conservative movement too. They go to work each day and pay their taxes just like you and I. They are active in their communities, and many believe in common-sense conservative values and the constitution. Now, I must make a very important point that I highly respect Senator DeMint and look up to him as a great leader in the Conservative Republican movement. With this said, I do not feel it does any good for groups to make a big hissy fit because a certain group has been invited to participate. CPAC is an event in which people come together for the purpose of sharing their conservative interests and brainstorming for ways in which to spread their message. CPAC is an event in which like-minded people gather to hear ways to make conservatism a more powerful force. People who identify themselves as conservatives need to look for common goals and the common ground to which they stand. By turning on one another, this does nothing, but hurt those who identify themselves as conservatives and everything to help the attempts by those like President Obama and the liberal left in their attempts to tear our side apart seam by seam, piece by piece. There is no doubt that many reading this will disagree with this argument, and that is your right. I am just stating observations and an opinion, but I know there are many individuals out there who will agree with my assessment.
Unfortunately, there is no black-and-white definition of "conservatism." It is not that simple, for we are not robotic beings. Even those who agree with each other 99 percent of the time will find that one percent of time when they are in disagreement. This is what makes America, America. Our country is based upon beliefs and ideas- it is these very beliefs that make our country the wonderful, authentic country that it is. When I attend various political events in which my fellow conservatives attend, I meet and speak with a variety of amazing people who identify themselves as conservative. I speak with men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, straights and gays. Just as the color of one's skin color does not bother me or make me think differently or like them any less, the same can be said about sexual orientation. In the end, it all comes down to one central point. When conservatives turn on one another, the left jumps up and down, doing back flips in between. Those on the left are foaming at the mouth right now because they are witnessing the friction that is occurring. Do we really want the left to win? Do we really want to hand them this victory? As a Christian conservative, God has called me love my neighbor. This does not mean I have to believe in gay marriage or support the gay lifestyle, but it does mean that I have no place to judge. I have gay friends, many of whom are the kindest, most trusting individuals, and yes, many of whom identify themselves as conservatives. Instead of bickering back and forth, begin a dialog. After all, those who bicker and argue back and forth usually do little, if anything, to strengthen the conservative voice and spread the conservative message.
Just a little food for thought....
(Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)