From February 11- 13, the 33rd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. With more than 4,000 registered attendees, it is the largest conservative conference in the nation, drawing leaders and grassroots activists from coast to coast.
As customary, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, (TFP) participated as a sponsor and exhibitor. Many an intrigued activist walked up to the TFP table after spotting the bright red standards with rampant lion. The TFP’s exhibit focused on stopping The Da Vinci Code. In addition to distributing protest flyers, a poll was taken among participants on the topic.
The TFP was also joined by two young Brazilian conservatives, Bruno Schroeder and Edison Mauro, leaders of Juventude pela Vida (Youth for Life), based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
To grasp the scope of conservative reaction in America, CPAC is revealing. Thousands of activists, representing millions of Americans from their respective organizations and regions, walked the halls of Omni Shoreham.
Unfortunately, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), best known for suing municipalities to remove nativity scenes, crosses, and Ten Commandments monuments, was present, as well as two drug-legalization groups.
The organization behind this movement, with all its think tanks and publications, is impressive, rivaling or surpassing its leftist counterparts.
Most interesting is the youth factor. Half the attendees of CPAC are under 30. Organizations such as the College Republicans, Campus Crusade for Christ, Cardinal Newman Society, Students for Academic Freedom, Students for Saving Social Security, Students for Life, and Young Americans for Freedom, have exploded in popularity. For example, the College Republicans in 1999 had fewer than 100,000 students in just over 400 chapters. Today it has more than 200,000 members in 1,500 chapters.
All of this organization and activism is a far cry from the 60’s, when hordes of hippies staged protests supporting the brutal communist regime of North Vietnam, free love, drugs, abortion on demand, and anything that ran contrary to traditional morality.
These hippies, many of whom wield a disproportionately high degree of control in academia, find growing resistance in the classroom. From affirmative action bake sales, pro-war rallies, and pro-life events the shift to the right among America’s youth is a force to reckon with, and leftist leaders write it off at their own risk.
Who thought such a movement could exist in America at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Wasn’t this country supposed to have accepted unrestricted abortion by now? Rather, 150,000 pro-lifers march every January on Capitol Hill, with countless national, state, and local pro-life organizations. Wasn’t homosexual “marriage” supposed to be legal and culturally accepted? Rather, nineteen states in public referendums have banned homosexual “marriage,” with six more planned this year. This conservative shift is certainly a sign of hope, for America and for the world.