The Square Peg in the Round Hole of CPAC 2013

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Originally posted on March 20, 2013
This was my first year attending the Conservative Political Action Conference aka CPAC. As the name indicates, I had high hopes of, and envisioned, actual “political action”. What I was faced with was quite different. My deep disappointment in CPAC was in the moderate, censored, and mainstream path that they’ve taken; which breeds complacency and INACTION. Currently in America we are seeing a spineless GOP serving us, a brutal opposition whether we negotiate or not, and the citizens are more divided than I’ve ever seen.  And all throughout the conference, I realized just how square pegged I was, in my views and choices, within this round hole known as CPAC.
I bought a standard three day pass, and from the entire program of scheduled events, this is what my three days looked like: (the entire program viewable here: http://conservative.org/cpac/2013/# )
Thursday, March 14, 2013
11am
“The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution”
In this session, we were given a brief overview of the beginnings of our great country. Everyone received a free DVD with the full seminar and accompanying workbook.
1:45pm
“Benghazi and its Aftermath: U.S. Middle East and Southwest Asia Policy”
I attended this session early, believing it would be packed. Before it started, Senator Marco Rubio was finishing up his speech; Senator Rand Paul followed with his speech; then the place nearly cleared out as this Benghazi session began. I was shocked. The panel discussion didn’t really include anything new, and I would’ve preferred there be more on this and how we can demand answers from our officials. However, it did provide some insight from journalists who still have integrity.
3:00pm
“Grassroots Lobbying Workshop: Holding Your Elected Officials Accountable”
(I made it to this session only to find out its running time would cut into the next session. I chose to gather up any helpful material, sign up for additional info, and left for the movie screening.)
4:00pm
“A Tribute To Andrew Breitbart, Movie Screening: Occupy Unmasked”
This was the first time I had seen this. I thought I had a decent grasp on how vile the Occupy movement had been. I didn’t know the half of it. I learned about Brandon Darby, along with other former leftists, how they assisted Andrew in exposing the truth. This movie’s trailer was shown at last year’s CPAC, and I enjoyed hearing the memories everyone had of Andrew and how he ran through the halls with mask and cape, gathering as many as he could to watch the trailer.
5:15pm
“The Legacy of Andrew Breitbart” (with panel discussion)
Hearing the stories of Andrew by his “family” were sobering to say the least. Seeing this project of theirs was inspiring. I felt the spark of Andrew’s fire for the truth and I was overwhelmed with the desire to offer any help. Not knowing how I could possibly contribute, I found the courage to walk up to the panel and had the honor of shaking Brandon Darby’s hand and asking him about how I could be useful.
*Square Peg Moment of the Day*
I skipped any parties going on that evening, including BlogBash, in which I apparently missed the opportunity to party with Senator Ted Cruz. I’m not heartbroken, and I don’t feel like I missed much. No offense to him, after the Breitbart session, I saw it less productive to party, name drop, and have photo ops with conservative “celebrities”. I would have loved my picture taken with those that I met, yet in the time that would have been wasted doing so, I was able to talk with them and request ways to take action. It is a “political ACTION” conference after all…
Friday, March 15, 2013
I slept in and skipped the conference this day. I opted to make my way to the Pentagon for the 9/11 Memorial and then on to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall. Later that evening, I skipped the Tea Party Patriots party in order to have dinner with a friend from twitter who works in the area. I was later invited to a couple parties which were shut down before I could decide on whether to go or not.

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*Square Peg Moment of the Day*
Another missed photo op, this time with Rick Santorum. Again, I wasn’t heartbroken. 9/11 changed me and my outlook as an American. I have now visited all three of the memorials from that terrorist attack, something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. In addition to that, my passion for our soldiers led me to visit the Vietnam Memorial. My dad, a 26 year Air Force veteran, was sent to Thailand in a holding pattern for the Vietnam War. He was fortunate to not be sent into Vietnam. Once I returned home and shared pictures of the memorial with my daughters, my oldest said a book was read at school about “The Wall”. She was excited to see that I went to “The Wall”… The memories I took away from these memorials will help shape what I pass on to my children. I have no regrets on any missed CPAC ops on this day.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
10:00am
Dr. Ben Carson took the stage for an amazing speech. I didn’t make it to this on time, but was able to watch the entire speech on FOX news.
12:00pm
Sarah Palin took the stage for another amazing speech, one in which I attended. I could identify with her as a woman, mother, and patriot; and I ended up on my feet in applause more than once. However once she left the stage, the euphoria dissipated and I realized: these sessions are great for encouraging conservatives, but how does it make us more productive? What actions did we take other than taking pics and hollering “you go girl!” ?
1:00pm
“The Uninvited” Party
Certain “too-hot-to-handle” issues were kept at a minimum, if not completely silenced, at this year’s CPAC. In true Breitbart fashion, a session was put together by his friends to address some of the big overlooked issues. I left before the Q and A session in order to make it to the movie screening but was excited to see a link available to it later:
Question and Answer Session, “Uninvited” Panel at CPAC http://t.co/YrGXFyneuj (via Atlas Shrugs)
3:00pm
Movie Screening: “Hating Breitbart” (with panel discussion)
I skipped the main stage speech by Ann Coulter to stay for this panel. Another decision I’m glad I made. I was able to observe some interesting exchanges:
Joel Pollak vs Ari Rabin-Havt
Dana Loesch vs. Ari Rabin-Havt

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Afterward, I had the honor of shaking the hand of James O’Keefe and asking him, as I did with Brandon Darby, to give me a project, something I can do to help, to make my voice heard. I identified with James in his views, passion, and fight. I also had the honor of shaking Chris Loesch’s hand and talking to him; and he introduced me to Katie O’Malley. I left this session with a mix of sadness at the loss of Andrew Breitbart, but with an even larger spark in me, determined to fight our opposition with the one thing they can’t defeat – the truth.
This was the end of my CPAC adventure, yet with each passing moment since then, and with each time I talk to someone about my trip, I find myself yearning for more to be done…a feeling of not doing enough. Andrew Breitbart once said: “These are the years that we will look back on and question whether we did enough for our country and for our children.”
With conservatives gathering in one place by the thousands, dropping money on everything from booze to donations, one would think that we could use the able bodies and funds to be more productive politically. Someone, somewhere, somehow, needs to take a firm stand on the foundations of conservatism, and act on them.
My good friend Vivian stands outside Dr. Haskell’s abortion mill every killing day. (For those that don’t know, Dr. Haskell claims to be the abortionist that developed the partial birth abortion technique) I don’t make it down to the mill as often as I’d like but I do try to go when I can, even if it’s just to pray over the clinic or support Vivian. When I went to the March for Life last year, she mentioned how she had become discouraged with it. She said thousands attend the march to walk the streets of Washington, DC and although it sometimes makes a statement, isn’t there a more productive way to stand up for the rights of the unborn? Isn’t there any form of action that thousands of like minded people can do to make a difference besides march the streets with signs?
I ask these same questions of CPAC. Isn’t there more that thousands of like minded conservatives, gathered in one place, can do than just sit in crowded ballrooms during the day, and get drunk at night? Don’t get me wrong, there are MANY sessions that provide great learning tools and they are needed! My point is that there needs to be a balance of learning and action. There is so much more that CPAC could do and yet it is content to be the Conservative PARTY Action Conference rather than the Conservative POLITICAL ACTION conference – emphasis not only on political but on ACTION!
I hesitate to make any suggestions on what sort of actions to take, however, I’m going to list a few off the top of my head, as well as some I’ve heard from others:
1. Sessions divided up by state so those attending CPAC from each state can learn which politicians/representatives to contact and what actions need to be taken in their area for the conservative movement.
2. Sessions on the best, proper, and /or effective way to contact representatives, and/or write and deliver said letters.
3. Sessions that take the action to the streets of DC, either in hand delivering info, “street preaching” conservative values, visiting the White House or other official offices, etc.
4. Grassroots sessions where people help prepare mailings, send emails, or make calls.
5. Grassroots sessions with booze and food provisions, while working on projects, instead of just partying.
These are just ideas to get you thinking. Come up with any that you feel would be productive and/or what you might possibly have the ability to do. Share your ideas with people, especially those influential in organizing CPAC. Even if none of the ideas come to fruition, be ready to find ways to take action yourself, especially when attending the next conference.
I hope to spend the year leading up to CPAC 2014 being more active politically. Not to mention preparing to be the square peg, again, in the round hole.
Soldier on!
Random CPAC traveling pics

Random CPAC traveling pics

P.S.

A quick “survival tips” list came to mind as I drove back from DC. When attending CPAC, here are my top tips, in acronym form (because I’m dorky like that):
(C)omfort! Bring comfy shoes if heels aren’t your thing.
(P)ack-a-snack! A bag of pretzels or a chocolate bar saves time and money.
(A)void and plan! Avoid the crowds, plan your day in advance.
(C)harge! Bring your phone, tablet, camera, etc., chargers with you!
P.P.S.
The saying in my title is from the song “Strangest Things” by Margaret Becker. Even before I arrived at CPAC I already felt out of place. I’ve never been there, I knew nobody, and I’m not a dress clothes and heels type of girl. Even when I was in the workforce, I remained pretty simple and was always ready to get back into my sweats and bare feet.
Upon arrival to the convention, I did my best to fit in without compromising myself. It became apparent by the first day’s end that I definitely didn’t fit in. Trying to be sociable but not conforming was a task I failed at. I tend to lean more towards being anti-social because I am highly against conforming. I may seem like a big dull dud, and perhaps to the cookie cutter, partying regulars there, I may be… Hence my cornered edges butting against the social circle of CPAC.image
While focusing on how you can make a difference in America, and not on where the next party with free booze is, you will already stand out at CPAC. If partying is your scene, I encourage you to focus on making a difference while “letting your hair down” instead of just attending cheerleading sessions and heading out to the next party.
And I highly encourage everyone to be the “square peg” in any “round hole” situation. Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” God made people different with different abilities and talents. Imagine how much could be accomplish by being what God uniquely made us to be!
“Been this way all my life, square peg, round hole. You’d think I would know by now, always be stepping on somebody’s toes…” -Margaret Becker
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