I wasn’t intending to attend CPAC this year, because I’m too busy with writing projects. But even if I were, I would have to reconsider, considering the treatment being given GOProud by the organization’s leaders.
No matter how you stand on same-sex marriage, the exclusion of GOProud from CPAC is perilously close to a suicide pill for the conservative movement and ultimately for the Republican Party.
For young people especially (and I’m almost talking under age forty here) gay marriage is a fait accompli – and this is true for many of those same youths who are completely simpatico with conservatives on fiscal and foreign policy issues.
CPAC is quite simply turning off a large portion of the coming generation while handing their opponents a club to bash them with. They are marginalizing themselves.
The GOP will be forever the party of homophobic rubes who deny people condoms and justify rape.
All of this is nonsense, of course. But CPAC, by deflating the big tent and keeping GOProud out, has given liberal propagandists just what they need to keep the smear campaign going.
To make matters worse, this dispute has been going on for several years now. I was involved in it some time ago, allied with the late Andrew Breitbart. I am stunned that the CPAC leadership is still so obstinate they cannot contain, in the psychological sense, this diversity of opinion.
Indeed, social conservatives, of all people, should understand how most of us form opinions about our personal and emotional lives. Do we want these things to be legislated by Congress at all? Are these private religious and social values properly the realm of the state? Or are they more properly and efficaciously dealt with on a more intimate level by family, friends, clergy and doctors?
They are for me. And I suspect I am not exceptional in that regard. Most of us prefer a realm of privacy in our personal lives without the intrusion of Big Brother.
This would seem to be ground zero for conservatives and libertarians of all strains, united as we are in keeping government out of our fiscal lives to the greatest degree possible.
That is where the “big tent” can and should begin on the right and GOProud has long been a stellar part of that from its inception.
Although I have no particular status in this argument, I would urge the CPAC leadership to reconsider their decision. They are putting more at jeopardy than they seem to realize.
Politics is largely about perception. Once you are perceived to be bigoted, you are, even if that perception is untrue. In a case like this, where there is an arguable truth, the situation becomes yet more troublesome.
It tarnishes all of us who wish to effectuate genuine change in our country and makes it even more difficult to make that change.
Remember: if you grow up in a society where being gay is socially acceptable, as it demonstrably is in today’s America, and you are a young person who senses that his friends are being discriminated against, being denied that happiness that you can have, fairly or not, you will think the people who practice that discrimination to be loathsome. You will disregard everything they have to say.