We Can No Longer Afford to Simply Personify The Young Conservative Movement
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article in which I articulated certain flaws I’ve observed within the conservative youth movement (CYM) and what conservatives both youth and adult oriented can do to resolve these issues. I specifically brought up the danger of entrusting an individual dubbed as “The Conservative Wonderkid” to be the main figurehead for our whole movement. You can read the story below:
I cited the rise and fall of 2009’s “Wonderkid” Jonathon Krohn, who rejected Conservatism just 3 years later in favor of endorsing Obama for a second term. Khron was simply regurgitating everything he’d heard on talk radio, and he even admitted this later on. Yet, he was the “spokesperson” for the conservative youth movement for three entire years.
Sadly, it appears that CJ Pearson has been going down the same path as Krohn did by renouncing conservative principals and subtlety accusing us of racism and other prejudices. The accusation of prejudice is evident in Pearson’s statement to CNN:
I was tired of being a champion of a party that turned a blind eye to racial discrimination. Tired of being a champion of any cause that denies equal rights to every American. Tired of being a champion of a party that doesn’t care about the issues important to young people.
I for one did my best to give CJ the benefit of the doubt even through his questionable moments, but in the end, his flagrant and unsubstantiated claims of racism and prejudice are what killed my respect for him.
I’ve never once made any racial remark towards him, nor has anyone else that I’m affiliated with. Had he simply stated that he’s exploring other ideologies, I wouldn’t have an issue with his decision to leave conservatism. He chose to trash those who supported him and that is why I have a problem with him.
Aside from CJ, The bigger issue is where the CYM goes from here. As much as I hate to admit it, teenagers are clearly not able to represent young conservatives in the public spotlight effectively enough as evidenced by Khron, Cowger, and now, Pearson. Therefore, it is time for a different approach.
If We Must Have a Figurehead, Require Him/Her To Be Of Voting Age.
Before I go any further, Let me state that I don’t have anything against teen involvement in The conservative movement per se, I just don’t think it’s prudent for us to raise them up on the national level and expect them to “save the country”. As someone who started my political commentary career at age 14, I can say that I’m a more knowledgable American now because my interest in politics started so early in life. I can also admit however, that I would not have been mature enough to handle national recognition at age 17, let alone 12. Teenagers are still trying to figure out who they are as individuals, and as a collective. Some cope with adolescence better than others, but in both cases, I think it’s unfair to subject someone that young to the stress of representing an entire ideology on a national level. Teenagers by all means, should be active in exploring the political process (and I for one wish more were) but we should leave the national stage at CPAC to those who already have reached the voting age.
There are a lot of 18 to 30 -year-olds more qualified than Pearson or Khron to represent Young Conservatives in the public eye. As an older member of the CYM, I find satisfaction in participating in the voting process as a contributing member of society, while at the same time mentoring the next-generation of conservative leaders and being a voice for conservatives. I feel that this is the model that will best serve the conservative movement in the future.
Originally published at thesamwhitfield.com on November 28, 2015.