Most Americans have not heard of Israeli politician, Naftali Bennett. Yet, a YouTube video of his that has gone viral in Israel holds lessons for conservative Americans.
In the video, Mr. Bennett is in disguise, portraying a hapless man who constantly apologizes. A waitress spills his coffee – he apologizes. Someone slams into his car – he apologizes. He reads a newspaper condemning Israel for responding to provocation –he says that Israel must apologize. He then whips off his disguise and encourages citizens to support his political party with the promise of no more apologies.
The video resonates with me because I am tired of the constant call for conservatives to apologize for being (racist) (sexist) (xenophobic) (homophobic) (greedy) (hateful)… While I supported George W. Bush’s candidacy when he ran for president, the phrase ‘compassionate conservative’ had the underlying theme that he was doing something new. The implication was that conservatives were not compassionate, buying into a liberal lie.
I felt similarly after Republican Mia Love’s recent election as a black female representative from Utah. I kept on reading that her congressional win proves that Republicans aren’t racist. Presenting her election as a proof makes exactly the opposite point. Imagine a small child telling you, “I’m not a bad boy; I cleaned my room.” From his words, we would rightly surmise that he thinks of himself as a bad boy. Someone has told him that often enough; now he believes it.
I am glad that Republicans did well in the recent election. Like manyconservatives, I have doubts as to how they will proceed. They should use their win as an opportunity to speak to the American people. Right now, the media, Hollywood and academia tell people about conservatives. Republicans are bigots, sexist, stupid and racist. They hate minorities, immigrants, successful women and poor people. These may be lies, but that is the only thing that many people hear. It is the Democrat playbook and it isn’t going to be changed by uncomfortable facts or the reality on the ground. President Obama used his State of the Union speech to reinforce these ideas. Higher Republican visibility however, provides an opportunity to present a different picture.
Republicans tend to speak to each other. They hold hearings, quote statistics and work the halls of Congress. Too many of them stay away from the American people unless they are running for election. Mitt Romney never learned to speak to Americans. For this reason, his identity – nasty millionaire – was forged by the Left. He played gentleman’s defense to a mud-slinging attack. Why were we surprised that people didn’t want to know him?
Every single time a Republican speaks, he or she should be aware of the opportunity to change hearts. We can do this with humor and good will, not with apologetics. Pointing to Mia Love’s election with an, “I told you so,” attitude, actually bolsters the Democrat argument that voting for a black and female candidate represents a new conservative ideology. Instead, say, “I understand that you see the world through the eyes of gender and race. Conservatives prefer to look at individuals and their character. Barack Obama won because he was African-American. Mia Love won because she was the best candidate.” Laugh at them – “I know you want to follow the Democrat playbook. Can we talk real issues here?”
Mia Love’s election win does not prove anything that actually needs proving. Any Republican elected official who thinks it does needs to get out and meet conservative Americans. They have been bullied so much that suffer from battered-Conservative-syndrome. They actually believe the Left’s propaganda. Congresswoman Love’s position no more proves that Republicans aren’t racist than it proves that Republicans are not green Martians. Arguing against either suggestion only serves to bolster the opposing claim. If I were Israeli, I would need to judge Naftali Bennett on more than his ad. As an American, I can only hope that conservatives and their elected leaders take a lesson from him.