Chett and I attended our first CPAC. If you are not familiar with CPAC it has been compared to Comic-con for conservative politics. I was not familiar with CPAC. Despite my currently political leanings, I have always been on the bluer side of things until 2016. This fact may surprise some, but those who know me well know while I have changed, some of my core beliefs are still intact; however, I feel that the blue I once voted for no longer exists and I no longer find a home as a conservative-leaning moderate in the Democratic party.
So here I am, a former Obama supporter sitting among the ranks of the reddest voters in a political gathering in the bluest corner of Tennessee, where our representative is known for eating fried chicken at the House Judiciary Hearing to insult William Barr.
As expected the turnout was not wonderful because, well, this is Memphis. Steve Cohen doesn’t even have to campaign to win. Chett and I walk in and are quickly ushered back to the media table, where I am sitting by my local news and newspaper outlets. We are the only radio show there. As we get settled, we turn to the stage, and there is a fireside chat with Deneen and Tom Borelli going, and they are discussing the Green New Deal. Well, after about 5 minutes, I am wondering if I will make it through the morning because I love politics, and even this was killing me. It felt scripted and repetitive and well just painful. I am sure they are lovely people, but when the applause erupted I am not sure if it was because they liked what was said or they were just happy it was over.
The next speaker was the one that drew me to the event because of my experience with Eric Trump. If you recall, twitter hates it when you thank a Trump. Don’t believe me? Google my name, and Eric Trump……I’ll wait.
Great you are back. Now, I posted that on the #Walkaway page. There were only a couple thousand when I found the page, and here is Brandon Straka at CPAC Memphis. Brandon is, by definition expected to be a card-carrying liberal. However, after receiving a video from a friend he trusted, he began to research the right and came to the same revelation I had, maybe I have had this all wrong. Maybe, I am not the free thinker I thought I was. Brandon started a fire in this country, and pretty much he joined CPAC to throw gasoline on it.
He is not your typical conservative, not at all, and I LOVE it! Yet, this unconventional conservative wakes the crowd up and brings them to their feet in applause. He is so popular that they even open up a question and answer time. He is inspiring and gutsy. Brandon has been ostracized by his social community for motivating the conservative community to rise and be silent no more. Mind you; this was a community he believed hated him and yet they love him. They are eating up every word he utters, and I love it!
How have I never heard of this woman? Have you
Maj Toure is a rapper who also works on gun education and founder of Black Guns Matter. Hmmm….never heard of this guy. He is a conflict resolution coach, in a sense. He is at CPAC to convince conservatives to rally together to help the inner city. He lets the room know that conservative America needs to stop ignoring the inner city because the inner city is conservative; they don’t know it. This guy is fascinating, and again this guy is working diligently in violent cities teaching conflict resolution, and it is working. Why am I just hearing of this man?
Media…..not paying attention. They are probably playing Toon Blast.
Next up is Candace Owens, the architect of Blexit. She has fascinated me from the first moment I saw one of her videos. She is a powerhouse. She is has taken on journalists, politicians, and even congress as a whole. She is a powerful black woman speaking up for her community, and yet again, the media is absent.
I felt out of place in my new political home until the newbies came to speak. I can tell that many do not know what to do with us. While I was waiting at the table to meet Brandon, the volunteer was chit-chatting with me about how she knew liberal people, and she was a “Walk with me.” She said I don’t understand these people, but I try, not realizing she was talking to one of “those people.” Trump was my first Red vote. There are many reasons for it. He was not my first choice, but he was the choice I was given, and now my eyes have been opened. I find myself like Brandon, wanting to know more.
I graduated with two political science degrees, and I have to tell you, diving into conservative reading is something I never did in college in all of the political classes. I left, with a very liberal view of the world, but here is the kicker, I had no idea there was anything else. I was taught the left side and nothing else, so I find all of this fascinating and I devour it. Do I buy all of it? Well of course not. But, the more I read, and the more I compare it to the emerging AOC party, it looks better and better. In 2008, I campaigned for President Obama, and in 2016 I cast my first Republican vote, and it appears as of today, I won’t be looking back.
Do I feel completely at home on the red side? Not yet. I am still pro-union because I have seen what employers can do to their employees. Hello? Police and fire benefits? I do believe in safety nets, to an extent. I do not believe that private citizens will do their part in charity as time goes on. Our society is forgetting how to love one another. I do believe there are socioeconomic conditions that can cause people to do bad things, and I believe in second chances.
I hope that the voices like Brandon, Maj, and Candace will be a breath of fresh air the “Grand Ole Party” needs. We need young voices, fresh faces, to present old ideas as new again.
See the full CPAC Memphis below.