Subject: Re: A Hillary Staffer Goes to CPAC
On 3/3/2018 8:13 AM, da pickle wrote:
> By Annafi Wahed
> March 1, 2018 7:19 p.m. ET
> ‘Make sure to check in with us!” one friend told me. “Try not to get
> killed,” another warned. I wasn’t off to a war zone or a spy mission in
> Moscow. I was riding a bus from New York to Washington to attend the
> Conservative Political Action Conference.
> To be sure, I’m a tiny, talkative South Asian woman who spent four
> months on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign staff. I wasn’t exactly in my
> element surrounded by people in “Make America Great Again” hats chanting
> “Lock her up! Lock her up!“ But there was more to CPAC than that. In
> four days, I spoke with more than 100 conservatives, most of whom
> greeted me with open arms and thanked me for being there and having an
> open mind. They happily engaged me in meaningful political conversation
> and invited me for drinks and after-parties.
> Where some saw a circus, I saw a big tent. I spoke with Jennifer C.
> Williams, chairman of the Trenton, N.J., Republican Committee and a
> transgender activist. Twenty feet away, I spoke with a religious leader
> who opposes same-sex marriage. While a panelist touted capital
> punishment, several attendees crowded the Conservatives Concerned About
> the Death Penalty booth. Hours after President Trump recast Oscar Brown
> Jr. ’s song “The Snake” as an ugly anti-immigrant parable, several
> influential Republicans were asking me, a naturalized citizen, how they
> can support my startup.
> In retrospect, I’m embarrassed at how nervous I was when I arrived. I
> found myself singing along to “God Bless the USA” with a hilariously
> rowdy group of college Republicans, having nuanced discussions about gun
> control and education policy with people from all walks of life, nodding
> my head in agreement with parts of Ben Shapiro’s speech, and coming away
> with a greater determination to burst ideological media bubbles.
> Among liberals, conservatives have a reputation for being closed-minded,
> even deplorable. But in the Washington Republicans I encountered at
> CPAC, I found a group of people who acknowledged their party’s
> shortcomings, genuinely wondered why I left my corporate job to join
> Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and listened to my arguments before
> defending their own positions.
> Although CPAC attendees were as passionate about policy as my liberal
> friends, they took a more lighthearted approach. At one after-party,
> they alternated between taking selfies with Milo Yiannopoulos and
> engaging in a thoughtful, substantive discussion with a Democrat. One
> notable exchange: I exclaimed, “Of course the Department of Education is
> necessary!” which drew the rejoinder, “Great! Let’s make 50 of them!”
> As I look back on all the people who greeted me warmly, made sure I
> didn’t get lost in the crowd, and went out of their way to introduce me
> to their friends, I can’t help but wonder how a Trump supporter would
> have fared at a Democratic rally. Would someone wearing a MAGA hat be
> greeted with smiles or suspicion, be listened to or shouted down?
> At Hillary rallies, we always filled the stands with our biggest
> supporters. At CPAC, most of the few liberals in attendance had media
> credentials, as I did. I’m new to this, but shouldn’t we want to engage
> with people who aren’t convinced of our viewpoints? Why aren’t there
> more conservatives at Democratic rallies and more liberals at CPAC? What
> are we afraid of?
> Ms. Wahed is founder of TheFlipSide.io, a daily digest of liberal and
> conservative commentary.
Apparently the CNN spin on the CPAC meeting is more to the liking of our
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