“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” – William F. Buckley
The above quote has served as boiler plate material for the conservative movement since one of its cornerstones, William F. Buckley, breathed it into being. This past weekend, I attended the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), the premier conference for the conservative movement in the United States. Attending CPAC is considered to be a rite of passage and something you need to do before you graduate from college and enter the world of real, adult politics. The conference, like many others, offered speakers, panels, networking opportunities and job fairs. The conference had speakers ranging from expected to controversial. The names ranged from Ben Shapiro to Vice President Mike Pence to President Donald Trump to Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s niece. Marion Maréchal-Le Pen’s inclusion was very controversial. She is a member of the Le Pen family in charge of the National Front party in France, which is known for occasionally denying the Holocaust, not exactly a stalwart conservative party in the international sense. It advocates for positions that are blatantly not fiscally conservative such as nationalized health care systems. I walked out and didn’t attend her lecture. To pretend that the National Front is a conservative party and worthy of inclusion at CPAC is to pretend that a dog is a cat.
Le Pen’s inclusion was a controversy when the conference started, and when the conference ended that limelight was focused on Mona Charen. Mona Charen is a writer for the National Review, a magazine founded by William F. Buckley and considered to be the conscience of the conservative movement since its founding. The controversy arose during a panel about #UsToo: Left Out by the Left. I was expecting the panel to be the typical conservative complaints pertaining to leftist’s hypocrisy on feminism where a woman is only a woman if she is a “lefty.” A debate on this matter normally revolves around a few core subjects. First to be discussed is the hypocrisy on the left when it pertains to women being attacked. Oftentimes, the left will complain that legitimate criticism of a left leaning female politician boils down to sexism instead of a difference in policy positions and opinions. For example, Elizabeth Warren and the “nevertheless she persisted” situation. After proper denouncement of the hypocrisy is finished, the debate will move onto whether or not feminism can be salvaged or if it is forever lost to the left’s domain as a word. I don’t think the word can be saved. But that’s another column.
She received the limelight when the debate turned from a generic feminism discussion to “feminist hypocrisy.” Instead of going for the low-hanging fruit and addressing the Democratic Party’s issues with sexual assault and predatory men, she chose to boldly address the issue of the Republican Party’s refusal to expose serial predators in its own tent. The biggest example of this was Roy Moore and the refusal of the Republican Party of Alabama to somehow replace him on the ballot.
When she began her monologue on the issue, the room split. Some people in the room began to boo, hissing that the accusations were unproven in the court of law and that the Roy Moore situation had been nothing more than Democrats stealing a Senate seat via subterfuge. On the other side was the Trinity delegation. We were the only people to stand up and applaud her for her boldness to stand athwart history yelling stop when few were inclined to listen. Of all the people in that convention hall, probably of over 1,000 people, Trinity students were the only ones willing to stand and be counted. I am not saying that other people weren’t applauding, there most certainly were many others who were not standing.
I stood up and applauded because I was glad to hear someone speak truth to power. Political history is filled with examples of people who are terrible human beings who achieve elected office in spite of everyone knowing they are terrible human beings simply because they are in positions of power and they are on your side. Maybe, just maybe, the positive ramification of the #MeToo movement will be the willingness of the people and political parties to opt to lose elections — or maybe nominate non sexual predators — instead of selling your soul or denying clear factual evidence because the predator is on your side representing your party’s colors and animal. There are over 300 million people in the United States, there are plenty of people who are qualified for political office who have not committed sexual assault and aren’t sexual predators.
Mona Charen was brave enough to put her foot on the ground and stand for the truth, she was booed for it and had to be taken by security from the premise. My group and I were disappointed in this because we moved as quickly as socially allowable in a conference setting to the area where all the speakers would go to take photos afterwards to try and get a picture with her. I am glad she spoke and stood for the truth, I hope when I encounter a similar situation in life that I have her strength.
Also, don’t vote for sexual predators.