The Conservative Political Action Conference is having yet another controversy this year. The Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America have decided to boycott. The organizers have invited GOProud to participate and the social conservative groups are none too pleased.
I have my belief systems and I am not ashamed of those beliefs. I believe that I have come about them honestly and with careful thought. That being said I realize that my belief systems is not something that everyone else is going to agree with. One of the things that I really do not have the patience for is people that would rather shut down speech instead of engaging in debate. When we shut down speech nothing will get solved. The only way to bring about awareness is to have the difficult and uncomfortable discussions.
One of the things that I promised myself when I started this blog was that I would stay true to my own voice even when it wasn't popular. So this post will be no exception. I fully understand and respect the religious beliefs of the far right. In fact, I agree with much of it. But, what I don't agree with is when the far right paints itself into a corner that appears like intolerance. It happens over and over again.
The conservative blogosphere has yet to finish its discussion on the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It is not a secret that the right and more specifically the far religious right is appalled that gays will serve in openly in the military. It is looked upon as a slippery slope that will eventually bring about the ruin of the Republic. Of course that is somewhat of an oversimplification in many cases, but it certainly is not in all cases. I have read some things that have blown my mind. I can only imagine what people who are not inclined to agree with the right are thinking when they read the same things.
The country is certainly at a crossroads. We are on the verge of insolvency and in danger of real shift in how we live in this country. If there ever was a time that we need more discussion, that time is now. You hear over and over again from the left that the republican party is a small tent. This is a perfect example of how it simply isn't the case. Although the new meme of the left and the media is that the republican party is making it clear that it no longer has room for moderates in the party. It is one of the many inconsistencies that media never fully answers about its discussions of the Republican Party. But, that is a post for another time.
There are different types of conservatives. There are people who are socially conservative yet will still spend money like water. There are those who are fiscally conservative and more socially liberal. Then we have those that are conservative on both counts. So the party is a bigger tent than the media would like to admit to. But, one of the things that can tear the party apart is this type of stupidity.
I am not saying that any of these groups should change their strongly held beliefs. What I am saying is that they need to stop acting like if the rest of us don't agree with them that it is acceptable to pick up their toys and go home. What we need to do is challenge each other not shut each other out. By walking away they are becoming exactly what the left accuses of them of; intolerance. If they truly believe in what they are preaching, then stand up and say it. Stand up and defend it. Stand up and show me where I am wrong. Talk to me, don't shut down discussion.
I was at CPAC last year and some of this reared its head then as well. GOProud was there and gave some sort of presentation that I did not attend, so I can't attest to what was said. CPAC has gone out of its way to be inclusive as possible to college students. There was an awards program for activists on college campuses across the country. College activists were given a short time to speak about what was happening on their campuses. One activist choose to use his time to state his displeasure of GOProud and was loudly booed by many of the college kids. The moderator asked the audience to respect our right to speech and give the young man his time to speak. Regardless of how I felt about what he saying, I respected his right to say it.
What these social conservatives are saying is that GOProud has no right to speak. To me, that is not a conservative value that I can condone. I don't agree with every speaker at CPAC. The only way that would happen would be if I chose all the speakers and told them what to discuss. That doesn't mean that I should not attend and take part of the experience. Who knows, I may end up learning more from the speaker that I don't agree with than the ones that I do.
The one thing that I am sure of, if we want to put an end to Obamanation, we have to find a way to make room for all republicans. If we continue to tear each other down, we will see another four more years of President Obama. An outcome that is not acceptable. Hold onto your beliefs and stay true to them, but never forget that the answer to bad speech, is more speech.
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