The 2018 Texas GOP Convention and Censure
by Kelly Horsley on July 6, 2018 at 1:18 PM
Andrew Breitbart once said, "If you can't sell freedom or liberty, you suck." Yep, that pretty much sums up my weekend at the Texas GOP convention a few weekends ago. Let me expound.
I have been a delegate to the state convention every two years since 2010. This convention marks my fourth convention and probably the most disappointing convention for me to date. The attitudes displayed by my fellow convention goers was very saddening to me. It's true what people say about politics bringing out the worst in people.
What I saw on display was the opposite in lots of cases of what we as Republicans and Libertarians claim to be 'for'. We claim to be for a lot of things, freedom of speech, freedom to conduct your lives with personal responsibility, free markets, etc. However, freedom of speech was the biggest bit of hypocrisy I saw within the convention and attitudes of convention goers. When candidates and office holders were on stage, they were at times met with boos and jeers from the audience. Some of them were shouted down and not even given a chance to speak their mind. Just because we don't agree with someone one hundred percent of the time doesn't mean that they should be shouted down.
Another problem I have is with the idea of censure. To censure someone means to express severe disapproval of someone or something, typically in a formal statement. Apparently, that's what the Texas GOP is all about. The idea that we need to censure elected officials because we don't like a bill that they voted for or against. Or the idea that they're not conservative enough. There was an effort underway at Convention to offer up censure of several different Republican office holders; one of which was John Cornyn. Now, while I don't agree 100% with Senator Cornyn, do I think he needs to be censured? NO. In my opinion, censure is a dangerous habit to start. Here's why, plain and simple; when do you stop?
Here's something else to think about; just like when Margaret Thatcher famously said, "The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money," you could change it to read something like this, "The problem with censure is that you eventually run out of allies in the Republican/Conservative movement." If you censure EVERY office holder and precinct chair or county chair, for that matter, you run out of people to actually work with. Some will disagree with me and say that we need checks and balances. To which I would AGREE. Here's the 'but'; we already have checks and balances in the form of...ELECTIONS!
It's easy for all of us as activists to focus on the echo chambers of our lives, but unless you actually get out and knock some doors or do some phone banking to help elect Republicans, we'll never win, no matter who censured who. And remember, "If you can't sell freedom or liberty, you suck."