I am a conservative.
I have always been a conservative. I led my high school’s pro-life group. As Spotsylvania GOP Chairman, I campaigned for (and eventually won) the county’s first property tax cut in 36 years. I want to roll back restrictions on gun rights and other bad regulations on the books. And I was the first candidate ever endorsed by the Fredericksburg Patriots TEA Party.
I fight for my principles every day, in big ways and small ways.
I also want to engage other groups to convince them to join forces to empower those same principles.
As Spotsylvania GOP Chair, one of my best working relationships was with the local NAACP. We sure didn’t agree on everything, but we agreed to work together where our principles allowed. This took the level of distrust down a notch and formed some good friendships. I was also a regular fixture at School Board meetings, talking with teachers and parents who didn’t necessarily agree with me but who were grateful a Republican Chairman was interested enough in schools to attend.
At heart, that’s what Shaun was doing last weekend.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with his specific views on this issue (though notably he does NOT support amnesty, and nor do I). And I think SEIU is a repugnant, regressive organization- filming the conversation certainly casts doubt on their motives. But that is less relevant here than the fact that Shaun was willing to have a conversation with those on the other side.
I learned in leadership the value of dialogue. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. I want the party to keep reaching out to convince folks about conservative ideals- so we can win elections and enact those ideals.
The late, great Baroness Margaret Thatcher once said “First, you win the argument. Then, you win the election.”
That convincing starts with a conversation. I also learned you can’t make everyone happy all the time- and learned it the hard way. And certainly all Republicans and conservatives don’t agree on all things. We value independent thinking- and EVERY faction of the party needs to have a seat at the table because of that.
But having a conversation with those you disagree with wins their respect. It’s a hard thing to do but there is certainly no harm in talking. We can be people of principle while not locking the doors.