As I parked my car at the St. George parking lot, I gave one more call to my wife to let her know I arrived safely at the Gaylord National Resort. She was currently on active duty in Philadelphia for the week, and with joy in her voice she said, “Wonderful, I hope you get to see Ben Shapiro.” With a smile I responded, “I hope so too, take care and God Bless.” Finally, I arrived at the resort dressed to the nines as though preparing for a job interview. Yet I wasn’t applying for anything…well not until Saturday.
I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the Potomac Ballroom. At that moment I realized I wasn’t alone. Men and women also dressed elegantly, some wearing MAGA hats, and to my surprise, people of diverse backgrounds. Finding the first seat I could, I marveled at the entire room from the back all the way to the enormous stage. I thought to myself, “Yes, this place is for me. I belong here. I know I’m on the right side of history for coming here today.” A man sat next to me wearing a MAGA hat and stretched out his hand saying, “Welcome to CPAC! Is this your first time?” I responded affirmatively and, while shaking hands, he added “You’re going to have a helluva week. Glad you’re here!” Towards the end of the week, I couldn’t have agreed more. It was certainly one helluva experience.
CPAC to me, wasn’t just a place for conservatives and libertarians to freely exchange ideas. It felt like a comic convention where everyone shared similar views on politics, values and government, etc. It wasn’t a place to idolize our comic heroes, but to honor the preservation of the good ideas and values that have shaped our incredible country. In addition, participants are encouraged to engage in discussion, regardless of whether their ideas are in the early stages of formation, or they are seasoned experts; everyone’s perspectives were challenged and made sharper, smarter, and all with a good dose of humor thrown in.
However, what drew me closer to CPAC, and the conservative movement in general, was that many attendees held strong Christian values regardless of denomination. During one lunch talk, I sat with a father from Philadelphia who shared about his former life as a student of Islam. During his college years, he researched and discovered that his conservative values don’t align with the principals in the Koran. Yet when he compared them to the Bible, both his principals and the scriptures were symmetrical, which led him to follow the conservative movement.
I encountered many Christians at CPAC that have had the same life experiences as me: being slandered by professors, other students, and sometimes even members of their own family. One attendee told me that his in-laws hold strong leftist views to the point that every aspect of their behavior is marked by it, everything they say, how they carry themselves, and how they treat other family members. “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s difficult to make conversation with them since they clearly are anti-Christian and prefer a ‘live and let live’ mentality.” But he ended with a smile saying “Thank God my wife’s a strong conservative …!”
Even though I was a bit sad on the last day of CPAC, I was also enthusiastic about the Leadership Institute job fair. Although I’m currently employed full time, I was moved by my experience at CPAC to want to branch out and explore opportunities for educators like myself to train future leaders and grow the conservative movement. I was successful in getting a few leads here and there by the end of the fair. All I could think of was “Wow, imagine me, working for so and so to push my love for conservative ideologies!” My excitement reached its zenith when I encountered Lone Conservative.
A young woman with a bright smile and a slight South African accent approached me, shook my hand warmly and began sharing about Lone Conservative. Everything she said was exactly what their website proclaims:
“A platform for students, by students, to share their thoughts on politics, current events, and conservative campus culture…In an academic world in which liberalism abounds and insanity is a daily occurrence, it can be hard to be a campus conservative. If you’ve encountered something on campus that you find illogical, nonsensical, or just plain weird, we want to hear about it.”
Everything she said was right up my alley. But there was just one problem I said, “I’m not a student, I’m a teacher.” With kindness she responded, “Not to worry, we’ve already got a teacher in our organization, and we’d love to have you join our cause.” Without hesitation I signed up, gave them my sincerest thanks for their time and told them I’ll start working on my first piece. And so, this is my very first article and contribution to Lone Conservative.
Overall, I make this call to all conservatives; come to CPAC when you can. Yes I know it’s a tad pricey, but start saving money now and register for 2019. I promise you, you will feel so at home with like minded individuals. You’ll grow, you’ll be challenged, you’ll change your mind on issues, and you may even change the minds of others, but most of all you’ll feel at home. Lastly, come to the Lone Conservative booth, where you’ll be greeted with genuine kindness and an opportunity to make your voice heard everywhere on the net.
You’re not alone; there are others out there who can relate to what you’re going through. Come to CPAC and meet the wonderful people at Lone Conservative and be part of their team!