Yesterday I attended the first of two meetings on Conservatism 2.0 at CPAC in Washington, D.C., and when one of the panelists specifically included lesbians and gays as people that conservatism should look to welcome, I made bold to speak. Oh, wait, now I remember, actually, then I felt a lot better about making bold to speak because I’d been waving my hand from the fourth row to get called on for five minutes like I was Horshack signalling Mr. Kotter.
The question I addressed was, “Why isn’t conservatism selling as well as it used to?”
I explained my point from my post here, which is that enough Americans have lost their faith in themselves as individuals, and in our system of capitalism, and they have become true believers willing to surrender themselves to a charismatic charlatan, Obama, and lose themselves in a mass movement serving his will. I pointed out that demagogues preaching to victim identity groups have stolen the dreams of their constituents and that one of these groups is lesbians, my people, and another, according to this article at American Thinker, is African-Americans.
Since conservatism is about providing the conditions for the individual to realize his or her dreams, when enough people don’t believe that’s possible, conservatism isn’t going to sell very well. To make this a word picture, the reason conservatives have been pulling on the rope that used to ring the bells and they haven’t been ringing is that it’s been detached from the bells.
OK, then the tough question came, “Well, Miss Newly Conservative Lesbian, what’s your answer for what we should do to help individuals believe in themselves again, especially the victim identity groups?”
OK, there I punted. I said, “That’s the conversation we’ve got to have now as conservatives. How do we do that? We know what hasn’t worked, and that’s throwing money at the problem. But now we know the right question to ask.”
This morning I realized that I do have some clear, specific and readily achievably answers for how you get individuals to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed. I realized that the foundation for my own transformation from a liberal to a fiscal conservative was very much founded on a shift in my own belief in myself and that it wasn’t magic and it IS transferable.
And, gentle readers, it’s likely that I’ve worked my way through enough challenges to have some authority to talk about how to do it. In 1984, when I was 30, I cheerfully took on the responsibility of a life partner who was already too disabled to work due to multiple sclerosis and cared for her through paraplegia and quadriplegia until her death in 2004 with me at her side. All that time I had a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal condition also, which can destroy your soul and does damage your brain, and my doctor said he’s never seen anyone with it get as close to death as I did and get their life back — which is not the same as surviving. Well, I’ve worked on that for six years and now I’m on the brink of getting my life back.
So what I have to say comes from experience.
It’s about the shift from the hopelessness at the foundation of Obama’s chant, “Yes, we can,” to the self-confidence of the conservative assertion, “Yes, I can!” Those three words are the essence of fiscal conservatism.
So, please come back, engage in this conversation here — it’s going to take me more than one post to explain and right now I have to run downstairs and make Dad’s breakfast before I leave for CPAC.