Escaping the Big Tent Mentality

Originally published on the Front Page of RedState on 04/14/09

Everybody’s got something to say about the direction of the “new” GOP. As conservatives, we’re being yanked to the left, to the right, and upside down on just about every issue you can think of. Some of us don’t like it; we feel like our identity as a party lies with the convictions we keep, and the conscience we consult when it comes to hot-button issues like abortion, immigration, or gay marriage. Other “conservatives” (before the jump, obviously) feel like progressivism is the wave of the future, and it’s time for everyone to huddle together beneath our new and improved “big tent” and wait with baited breath for some hopey change to leak through the folds.

The lovely Miss Meghan McCain is one such “conservative.” ::flails hands wildly with air quotes:: Check out her latest column:

“Memo to the GOP: Go Gay”

Until now, I’ve been able to just sort of ignore the content of Miss McCain’s message and just focus on how happy I am that someone my age is getting national exposure instead of being automatically written off as a bad job. (You don’t have to tell me how stupid that sounds…I already know.) I say this because too often, people under the age of 40 who have opinions about politics are shunted outside while mommy and daddy talk about big people things, and it’s incredibly frustrating. So, huzzah for that. But, her latest piece brought me out of my reverie and made me realize on how fundamental a level I disagree with this girl. In a nutshell, she believes that in order to succeed as a political force, the GOP needs to cut the shenanigans, throw open the gates, and banish its exclusionist tendencies. Shame on us. Oh, and shame on me for giving her a willing ear for as long as I have.

I am choosing not to take issue with Miss McCain’s personal convictions regarding homosexuality and gay marriage, because that debate is a rabbit hole, and I’ve already had too long of a day to pop out in some mad world of stoned caterpillars and sentient flowers. However, I, a culture-embracing, open-minded young woman, who incidentally also “despises labels and boxes and stereotypes”, am prepared to take her reasoning for supporting a more progressive GOP to the cleaners.

Freedom of speech, darling. I’m sure you understand.

So let’s get started. I found this interesting:

But it isn’t just the GOP’s opposition to gay marriage that makes the party seem unwelcoming toward gay voters. It’s the anti-gay rhetoric they use to whip up the base.

Meg, I don’t recall being “whipped up” by any anti-gay rhetoric lately. In fact, any “whipping” I’ve seen lately has come from the screaming mimis on the left who try to label the Republican party as a bunch of hatemongering dread-pirates who long for the days of lynch mobs and fire hoses. Listen to me when I say that most members of “the base”—“the base”, not the crackpot minority—do not hate gay people, and do not tolerate true “anti-gay rhetoric”. I certainly do not abide that sort of thing; nobody should. What members of the base are concerned about is a departure from traditional values that have defined conservatives—thus, the GOP—for a very long time. It seems as though you’ve been put through the liberal mind-meld machine (I picture something like the Borg), otherwise you would never equate a difference of opinion with whipping up the base into a bloodthirsty frenzy. This is the same kind of mea culpa crap we’re seeing from the President, and it’s insulting. Cut the pandering and find a foundation for your accusations that doesn’t involve a lunatic fringe.

Ah, and here’s another nugget of wisdom for the ages:

It’s…about reaching a wider base and redefining what it means to be Republican, and leaving labels, stereotypes, and negativity by the wayside. That more and more people are discussing gay rights speaks positively for the millions of young and progressive Republicans waiting for our party to return to its roots. Personal freedoms are what makes [sic] this country the greatest country in the world. And just like the civil-rights and feminist movements before this, the movement toward gay equality and gay marriage is one I have absolute faith will triumph over prejudices.

Pass the joint guys; I’m having an epiphany over here! It’s time to stop being so negative, man. I feel like a cog in The Machine. It’s time to break free! The way to get the party back to its roots is to…reinvent the party! Yes! Everything makes sense! Ooh, and later, maybe we can saw corners into the wheel to make things roll more efficiently!

I’m not pulling punches or taking a cheap shot when I say that the GOP does indeed need an overhaul. Wait, no. Not “overhaul” so much as “facelift.” The most recent election proved that point for us. The party needs to properly harness emerging technology, embrace passion for its message (instead of constantly second-guessing and shredding its own message to pieces), and embrace a younger generation of true conservatives. It’s time to get it together. However, if getting it together means following a more progressive party line, then I aim to misbehave. If the “right-of-centers” do indeed seize the hearts and minds of party leaders and succeed in steering things towards Charles Schumer’s side of the pool, then I’m bailing out and swimming in the opposite direction as fast as I can. I’m not here to hate, bait, or discriminate, but I am here to stand by my principles, and help ensure a clear path for true conservatives whose voices are desperately needed in our culture of decadence and indulgence.

It’s time to stand up, speak out, and confuse the Miss McCains of the world with the facts.


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