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Here is a link to an entirely un-funny response to our recent press in The Nation. Read
In honor of Black History Month, I'd like to share the vision of a progressive leader born at the end of the 18th Century. And I want to thank Melinda, YP4 Fellow at Bryn Mawr College for reminding us that "Black History Month is not just about honoring the past and our history, but it is about moving forward as well." Read Story
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Aint I a Woman?
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.
In closing out my CPAC experience, I'll tell you this much: I wasn't scared before, but yesterday I stocked up on duct tape, buried my money, bought a compound in Montana and I am cranking out tinfoil hats for all my friends and relatives like there's no tomorrow. CPAC scared the bejeezus out of me to be honest and what was more terrifying was that there were people there reveling in that fear, and almost celebrating it. The whole thing ought to have been titled: "Conservatism New and Improved! Now with Fear and Guns." I think what was instrumental in the whole thing effectively making me want to pull a disappearing act and retire to an undisclosed location, was that the people there seemed to have one thing in common, besides all being absolutely crackers, and that was that they all didn't care. They categorically did not care about people--not mothers, sons, the poor, women, children, dogs, cats, cheese fries...nothing. "Compassionate conservative" is about as wildly inaccurate as a certain Vice President's aim. They really just seemed like they wanted to be the thorn in the side of, well, everyone. What I gathered was that to be conservative really is not to stand for anything, but merely to piss off anyone who does.
The War on Wussification
There was also a running theme throughout the conference that purported that if you didn't support the conservative agenda you were somehow a wuss. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I saw at least 30 guys at that thing with bowties on, and it is general knowledge that anyone with a bowtie is unequivocally a wuss. Many people even went so far as to say that there was an epidemic facing this country. No no, not bird flu or herpes, but "wussification." Yes folks, we're being wussified. Now what that means I'm not exactly sure, but it's just one more thing for us to wage war against. Next thing you know, we will be appointing a "Wuss Czar" to fight the War on Wussification. (I always thought the fact that we had a `Drug Czar' a little misleading. I always pictured a guy with a throne made out of bongs sitting on top of a mountain of cocaine somewhere.)
If You Can't Take the Heat...
Also, Conservatives would have us believe that they are the victims. I sat through a rather self-congratulatory session in which four students championed their efforts to run progressive professors out of town on a rail for their bullying of poor defenseless college students. Mark Twain once said, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." Why don't you all think for yourselves? As these people would have it, everyone's education would be exactly the same, and all viewpoints the same and all assignments the same. Hey, this is beginning to sound a lot like the educational system in France. Why don't we also start drinking coffee right out of the womb and develop a strange affinity for Edith Piaf and films I don't understand? Why don't we have a progressive tax, free universal healthcare, and tiny little cars while we're at it too?
Sweater-vests and Hellfire
The higher-ups in the conservative campus movement who drive these students are just downright spiteful. Now, as you may have noticed, John Zmirak responded to a particular post on this blog, and we thank him for that. John went to Yale and I'm certain if he saw fit he could have us carried away by his sweater-vested cohorts with the flick of his Mont-Blanc pen or the lash of his silver tongue, so I choose my words very carefully. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute sucks. Now, I don't mean that in the pejorative sense, I mean it in the active sense, as in "the ISI sucks the life out of learning," along with the Young America's Foundation, and Students for Academic Freedom. Zmirak himself states that it is his mission to make the lives of "snickering Yankee professors...a living hell." Now Mr. Zmirak, while you're raining hellfire down on these teachers, they're also trying to teach, and it's the other students in the class who will suffer. I don't see why you can't all just be satisfied with John Daly's head on a platter and go on your merry way?
Spinning the Future
All tolled, my experience at CPAC left me with the impression that conservatives are out of touch with reality. I heard people saying that conservatives have been the driving force for civil rights, that being gay is a curable disease not unlike dyslexia, that "immigration reform" can be achieved by building a wall, that the right to own guns are civil rights like voting and equal rights to employment, that discrimination against people for their sexual orientation should be protected by law, that the constitution should be interpreted through the eyes of a citizen of average education from the 18th century, and that the great people of the United States of America are dumb enough to buy this deluded revisionism hook, line and sinker.
Friends, we are not.
I ask you all: what is your response? What is your vision?
Well, it appears as our tenure here at CPAC is coming to a close. After last nights ride on the gravy train, and this mornings descent into the conservative alarmist rhetoric, I finished the day with a jaunt through the forest of conservative political activism on campus. Now, I think, and this is juts my opinion here, but what gets conservatives non union-made panties all in a bunch about academia is that most college professors are regarded as the most intelligent people around, yet in large part do not agree with the conservative message.
Though intelligence is an issue, what the conservatives here took issue with most was with liberal professors taking a stand against bigotry and small-mindedness. The panel that covered these topics, titled "Conservative College Students: The Future is Ours," was largely comprised of conservative activists such as Patrick X. Coyle of Young America's Foundation and John Zmirak of The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, who sought to defeat what they called "totalitarianism on campus." This "totalitarianism" was, in their view, propagated by women's rights activists, pro-choice advocates, and civil rights leaders. I really want to tell you guys what was said at this panel, because I think it is critical for you all to read about how the conservatives see progressives, but I think it deserves a long, thoughtful post and I have to run and catch a train right now, so stay tuned for a full post later tonight, and perhaps some photos. For the moment however, I will leave you with a great quote by John Zmirak, who in discussing the state of the college curricula, stated that what American students have is "a Shoney's buffet, where you can eat all bacon, all the time." You know what John, bacon is good, but Shoney's is a pretty bad restaurant, but as anyone who's driven sizeable stretches of I-95 can tell you, they're everywhere and they aren't going anywhere. So, it's a shoehorn-job of a metaphor, but John, we'll be around for awhile, we're everywhere, and we're always open.
Good morning! So after last night's festivities, I've recovered sufficiently and now I'm back in action. Right now I'm in a session that is ominously titled "The Entitlement Crash." Donald Devine from the ACU just got up to the podium and honestly said that the situation with social security was somehow equivalent to Weimar Germany before the rise of Hitler. I'm not sure why he said that. Probably so he could say "Social Security" and "Hitler" in the same breath for alarmist purposes.
Robert Moffatt, from the Heritage Foundation, is at the podium now. From what I can gather from this very complicated rehashing of the medicare benefit his argument is this: the sky is falling. Also, Mr. Moffatt just stated that what is concerning about Medicare is that in the future we will have seniors "crowding emergency rooms." As he said it I was picturing a hoard of seniors clamoring, a la the famous scene in Frankenstein, towards the hospital leaving noting but tissues and bread crumbs in their wake.
So I'm not sure if you guys know this, but Morton Blackwell has his own ties, and so joins the venerable company of Jerry Garcia and the guy who designed the piano tie in the annals of history. Blackwell's ties have the bust of Adam Smith on them and they make identifying conservatives quite easy. Just look for the balding white man with the ugly-as-sin tie, and that's Joe Conservative. I mention all this because there's a guy speaking now from the National Tax Limitation Committee, and he's got one of those ties on. I recalled from my Political Theory classes, that Smith and his other Scottish enlightenment cohorts argued for the relevance of sympathy. In his work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments Smith argues that humans are not categorically selfish beings, but sympathetic people to whom social interactions are based on every man's ability to relate to his fellow. There is no sympathy in this room today. Nobody cares. The conservatives here today do not seem sympathetic to anything or anyone, only to their own causes.
Alright...more later on on what the right is doing on campus.
I just returned from the Ronald Reagan banquet, to which ISI was only too kind to sponsor me. It was a lavish affair, with a four course dinner and bottles and bottles of wine. In attendance were U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, David Keene, Tom Delay, Rick Perry and Robert Novak. The night began with an introduction by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA in which he championed the victories of conservative causes around the country and basically played cheerleader for the beginning of the night. Then we heard from John Bolton, who informed the audience of the myriad victories of the President on the world scale. He praised various administration victories, and proposed that the UN Commission on Human Rights be abolished. Bootlicking galore. Next up was Tom Delay, who, quoting Mark Twain, stated that "the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." He then launched into a speech about his continued relevance in national politics and his commitment to defeating the left in all its endeavors. He bagged on HRC a bit and said that liberals had launched a "jihad" against him. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Next up was a stark raving mad "comedian" named Brad Stine, a self-proclaimed "red-state comedian." His act was not funny, eliciting only perfunctory laughs from the crowd. He blamed liberals for: helmets, airbags, and anti-bacterial wipes. In a fun moment, he made a joke to the effect of "liberals are lawsuit-happy and only look to blame people with assets." For the record, Delay didn't laugh. After the "comedian" was done with his inanity, Sam Donaldson, who was the official "liberal" whipping boy for the evening, stepped up to the podium to introduce Bob Novak. After Donaldson's sufficiently rosy intro, Novak, in his cold and sardonic manner, cast a pall over the audience drawing little applause and frankly scared the living daylights out of me.
Comb-overs and Bootlickers
Overall, the night was terrifying in all respects. The net worth of the ballroom was easily in the tens of millions. I was at a table that was sponsored by some libertarian group called BMW communications and I sat next to a nice old man named Lester who told me he was "just an old man who was sick of the country going down the toilet." I also had my wine topped up continuously by an ex-Army guy who I think may have informed me of a crime he committed against the US Army. Not sure. The night ended with the Ronald Reagan awards that went to Manny Miranda, who lead the charge to kill the filibuster, and Susette Kelo, who won an eminent domain case in Connecticut. On my way out I, literally, ran into Bob Novak. I apologized and sprinted back to my room and hid under the covers in the fetal position.
After watching some guy bloviate for a solid hour on the correct way to table at an event I decided I'd had enough technical talk and I headed to the grand ballroom to see The Emaciated One herself, Ann Coulter. Now, whatever you think about Ann, any biases or perceptions you may have because of news snippets or soundbites, just take those perceptions and multiply them by a factor of 100 and you'll get a rough estimate of how offensive Ann was today. What I find so intriguing about Ann, is that yes, she is a conservative, and a member of that movement's political party, but even in a room of professed conservative political activists, she still managed to piss off a good forty percent of the people there without breaking a sweat.
How To Talk to a Nutty Blonde Windbag, If You Must
According to Ann, Lincoln Chafee is an idiot, and she wondered "how he manages to remember to feed himself." She referred to Muslims as "ragheads" and emphasized her point on terrorism by saying "raghead break rules, raghead face consequences," omitting articles for obvious rhetorical effect. This comment drew the loudest applause during her speech. Compassionate conservatives. Right. What's also really been bugging me this whole conference is conservatives who continually boast that it was Republican conservatives who freed the slaves. Well, Party of Lincoln aside, there have been maybe four people of color at this whole event, and one of them was Michelle Malkin, so have your grain of salt at the ready. Ann said later that Republicans themselves are to blame for everything from failed healthcare reform to Gay marriage, and I assume somewhere in that head of hers she probably would blame them for Ebola and paper-cuts if she thought it would piss someone off. Though, in an awkward moment that followed her thorough shellacking of the Republican party, people in the audience, who had been decidedly generous in their applause, seemed as though they weren't really sure whether to clap or not.
Pot-shots and Gunshots
My favorite part of the speech involved a young student from Catholic University asked Ann "what has been the biggest moral or ethical dilemma you have faced in your career?" Now, I use favorite here in the same way I would say "Mussolini is favorite fascist" or "Gingivitis is my favorite affliction of the gums," or something like that. Ann then replied, "One time I had a shot at Bill Clinton," but decided not to act on her urge to shoot President Clinton because it would have been bad for her career. My question is this: doesn't advocating the poisoning supreme of court judges and shooting Presidents get your name on some list somewhere to the effect of "People Not Allowed Within Ten Feet of Anyone Important, Ever?" Well, it should be.
So that was Ann Coulter, and I know you're concerned so I'll tell you, I'm okay. No bones broken, nor limbs lost thankfully. The only loss was the small part of me that died tonight listening to that speech. It just shriveled up and died on the spot.
Tonight's Events: Reception with U.N. Ambassador John Bolton courtesy of Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The director of their Collegiate Network program walked right up to me and gave me a ticket. What a nice fella.
We're working on getting more gear. CP seems to be winning. Drinks on the losers? Okay.
12:54-- Okay...conference is setting up. Turnout is low. Girl behind me is discussing strategies for attaining Pizza Hut later this evening.
1:10--Program starting. Spoke to activists from Maine. Worked against gay rights in Maine. Said: "A little old Catholic lady can't turn down homosexuals for getting an apartment."Took umbrage at the ACLU being here.
1:35--Instructor: "One time I was tabling and this huge woman--you know the kind of woman I'm talking about--comes over an throws a pro-life activist over a table." No, what kind of woman are you talking about? One with a brain?
1:43--Running tally of how many times this guy says "Looney leftists": 7
1:47--Instructor: "Sometimes there will be moles at your meetings. There are moles here at CPAC, probably even here in this room." Uh oh, they're on to us.
1:59--Biggest laugh this guy has gotten so far: mentioning Affirmative Action Bake Sale.
2:35--Fundraising session starting. Some guy is barking on his cell phone in the session. Hilarious. Totally derailing speaker.
2:42--College conservative just admitted to breaking the law. Culture of corruption indeed.
2:49--Guy barking on cellphone just whipped out a HUGE video camera. Fellow mole? Perhaps.
3:00--Instructor: People with pictures of yachts on the wall have lots of money. Ask them for lots of money if they have pictures of yachts on the wall.
3:12--So this is pretty boring. Conservative fundraising strategy would appear to be: inflate egos, judge people by the kitch on thier walls, and above all else, snowball people as to where thier money is actually going. Off to see Her Royal Waifness, Ann Coulter. Stay tuned.
Hey everyone! We are having problems posting pictures and video at the moment, but also, we don't want to blow our cover just yet, so look for pictures tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I'll be liveblogging my Campus Leadership Program activist training so click the refresh button like crazy to see what develops.