Restoration Weekend: Conservatism Done Right
This past weekend was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in quite some time. I had the honor of attending David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, which included inspirational speeches from Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann as well as a delightfully sarcastic Ann Coulter.
While the program was held at the most beautiful resort I’ve ever seen (The Breakers,) there was little time to enjoy the surroundings. The Freedom Center put together an impressive group of people, which provided an excellent networking experience that kept relaxation at a minimum. I am still having trouble believing the number of wonderful people I met from filmmakers and screenwriters to political junkies of all kinds including all of the great people from the Freedom Center.
We received the opportunity to listen to panels on issues surrounding politics in the Middle East, the radical nature of today’s Democrats in power, Hollywood, current free speech issues and the assault on academia. In addition, we also heard speeches from Fred Thompson, Phyllis Schlafly, Senator Jim DeMint and Congressman John Boehner.
Being a graduate student of film studies, my favorite experience was interacting with those who were on the “Is Hollywood Changing?” panel. I was able to personally visit with writers Andrew Klavan and Eric Metaxas as well as filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh. I was humbled by how approachable these men were. Continuing in academia, writing about film and being a conservative gives me a few things to be nervous about. However, seeing their success gives me hope for the future of conservatives writing for and about film. When on the panel, each one of them (including David Bossie) reminded us that there are many more conservatives in Hollywood than we might think.
In addition to the opportunity to network with some courageous Hollywood conservatives we were provided with a screening for Nowrasteh’s newest work, The Stoning of Soraya M. This film has not yet had a wide enough release and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to see it this past weekend. It is a deeply moving and important picutre that should not be missed.
The most humbling experience of the weekend was when I first met Medal of Honor recipient and former senator from Washington Leo Thorsness. I found myself talking to him and another woman (I didn’t know who he was at the time.) The three of us spoke for a little while before the woman realized I didn’t recognize who Thorsness was. This man is so modest that if the woman had not given me the “Cliff’s Notes” version of his war history right then and there I may not have known who he was until that night’s keynote address (we were all given a copy of Leo’s book, Surviving Hell, which I can’t wait to read!).
I was able to further speak with Leo throughout the day and was continually humbled with his interest in my aspirations. While I remained inquisitive about his Medal of Honor story, he was much more interested in listening to what a young graduate student was doing at Restoration Weekend instead of enlightening another person with his own magnificent story.
Needless to say, the weekend was full of the most dynamic group of conservatives I’ve ever seen. Spending four days with them and listening to a wide variety of ideas proves to me that the future of conservatism will be extremely hard for critics to pin down and typecast as simple rhetoric from the usual suspects.
I would like to thank David Horowitz, Michael Finch, and everyone else at the Freedom Center for putting on such a great event!
Editor’s Note: More posts from other NewsReal bloggers who attended Restoration Weekend are forthcoming.