Conservatism isn't Dead - Our Trip to CPAC 2017 — The Beltway Times


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When I speak with some of my more centrist friends, they have a lot to say about where the Republican Party loses them. I enjoy these exchanges because those who tend to teeter in the middle of politics are capable of being persuaded. I don’t mean that they are open to being tricked into republicanism or conservatism, rather, they are keen on hearing me out and considering if there is any possibility of finding some common ground between our perspectives. They give republicanism a chance.

I was having a discussion with a colleague on the drive home from CPAC 2017 about Milo Yiannopoulos, and we touched on the Republican reliance on the religious south, and how this often serves as a detriment to the recruitment of new Republicans. As a practicing Catholic myself, I am often the first to come to the aid of a person who has been wrongfully shamed by the left for their religious convictions. That being said, there are definitely times when the tendency of the right is to toe the line between church and state a little too closely.

As I mentioned in an interview I gave for YourVoice Radio, there are more ways in which we can have these discussions than by simply dividing our opinions on matters into two competing ideologies. The religious aspect of conservatism represents but one of the topics often discussed in politics where we sell ourselves short by dividing up the people having those conversations as “crazy bible thumpers” versus “commie atheists”. It’s an irresponsible approach to anything, but especially politics, to pretend that our nation’s minds and experiences aren’t the diverse treasures that they are. So it comes as no surprise to me that people witnessing the discussions behind divisive topics, especially considering the strong progressive tilt in mainstream media, feel there is an expiration date on the influence of conservative political thinking.

CPAC 2017 gave us a glimpse into what we can expect from the conservative movement of the Trump era, and despite the mainstream media’s screams and shouts, the trend is an undoubtedly positive one.

There is no expiration date to be found. The left’s animosity for Trump is indicative of who they really are, and what they have been as a group all along. For the better part of a decade they pretended to be making all kinds of radical changes, going against the grain, and shaking things up in government as couriers of hope. What we learned by the second half of Obama’s tenure, if not earlier, is that not only was he not changing much (at least not for the better), but that liberals were not really all that interested in changing the ways of Washington.

They were the establishment, and that empowered them.

Things came to a head with President Trump’s victory, and now that real change is coming through his administration, and swiftly, liberals don’t know where to look. It’s both comedic and pitiful; while the death of progressivism is beautiful, there is still value to be found in a nation with diverse political representation, but the left is killing itself with a quickness.

What CPAC taught us here at The Beltway Times is that conservative thought is not dead. As opposed to being en route to extinction, the election of Donald Trump has reinvigorated its spirit.

Rooted in republicanism, with a dedication to promoting ideals based in liberty, conservatism has more than a seat at the table of politics- it’s the table itself. It is the foundation upon which freedom rests, and those seated around it consume it; it is where republican ideas are exchanged by mouth, through the ears of those listening, and back through their mouths in heartfelt and meaningful response.

Republicanism is responsible for this nation, and it is upon its foundations that our democracy was built.

What President Trump has shown us, which was incredibly clear to those of us attending CPAC, is that we need not shy away from the call to making positive changes within ourselves, and our conservative ideology, so long as that enables positive, effective, and lasting changes to the establishment in the Beltway, and the establishment within the realm of political thought. We see this with every speech the President makes- they’re fierce, they’re to the point, they tell it like it is, and very often they’re off the cuff with many parts improvised. President Trump is showing us the benefits of unapologetic, energetic, and in-your-face republicanism. He’s showing us that there are more than two ways to approach the issues facing our nation. He’s taught us that sometimes, he’s going to make a mistake. He’s also taught us that those mistakes won’t be for a lack of effort.

But what he’s taught above all else is that the spirit of republicanism is survived by passion, and a fiery love of country more than it is a weak, and hapless “I only just heard about that on the news” approach to leadership.

It does not ask, it requires us to fight tooth and nail with those more intent on protecting the establishment, and their jobs, than working for the people.

With every event, every booth, every discussion, and every panel we had the honor of experiencing at CPAC, we learned that conservatism is changing, and that it’s changing for the better. The tears we are seeing from the left are the result of the hard work put in by President Trump, his team, and he should be thanked for it. Equally responsible are those of you who opened your mind, and your hearts, to the changing face of conservative opinion and how that presented each of us with an opportunity to recapture the spirit of republicanism in the face of an unrelenting progressive assault on our freedoms, our values, and our nation.

The Beltway Times found CPAC 2017 to be an incredible experience, and we recommend that you make it a point to get out here to be a part of it in 2018. The movement is growing, it’s here to stay, and we are incredibly proud to be a part of it.



As an aside, we would like to give thanks to a few people who took a moment out of their busy CPAC schedules to spend some time with us, or to simply pose for a picture or two: Bill Mitchell, the host of YourVoice Radio, Dr. Gina Loudon, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Tom and Deneen Borelli, Jesse Watters, The Millenial Post, Students for Liberty, the Young America’s Foundation, Jon McNaughton, the Log Cabin Republicans, Ambassador John Bolton, and Nigel Farage.  The exchanges we experienced during CPAC 2017 are what we will take with us and use as motivation as we continue to build our brand while embarking on our quest to make the media great again.

Stephen Butka is the Editor-in-chief of The Beltway Times. Follow him on Twitter @BeltwayButka.