Finding a pearl within a wild oyster is rare. It is also extremely to find crystals in the cavities of igneous rocks. These days, it is even rarer to learn about a Republican who defends their comrade who has come under relentless attacks by an army of biased media, political opponents, and members of their own party.
James David “J. D.” Vance, a candidate running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, unapologetically defended Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene since she came under intense scrutiny for speaking at a particular conference.
In February of this year, Greene delivered a speech at the third America First Political Conference, organized by Gen Z political activist Nicholas J. Fuentes, which included video messages from elected Republican officials, including Arizona Reps. Wendy Rogers and Paul Gosar, and Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.
After being asked why Vance promoted Greene’s endorsement, he sprung to her defense at the Ohio GOP Senate debate and highlighted a bitter truth that needs thorough digestion. Referring to “the media,” Vance said, “they play this guilt by association game, where they get us [Republicans] to stab our friends in the back. And then we wonder why the Left always wins, even though we sometimes win elections.”
What do we know about J.D. Vance?
Vance could be described as an early millennial. Born in 1984, he grew up in a generation where elementary school children didn’t have cell phones or access to computers but, into their teenage years, were thrust into the Wild West of the uncensored digital age of the Internet. And the time taken to read a full book and listen to an entire audio recording still mattered.
Continuing to make a straightforward point, Vance argued that “the accusation against Marjorie is pretty simple: that she appeared at a conference where somebody said something bad. And I ask, ‘Did she say something bad at the conference?’ I actually watched her remarks. I agreed with nearly every word that she said.”
This isn’t an endorsement of J.D. Vance as a political candidate, nor that of Marjorie Taylor Greene, but to highlight a value that is seldom observed among Republicans towards members of their own party.
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“She [Greene] is my friend, and she did nothing wrong,” said Vance. “She said nothing wrong, and I’m absolutely not going to throw her under the bus or anyone else who’s a friend of mine.”
Vance’s assertion came as he proudly referred to his grandmother, who told him while growing up that “the thing that mattered more, more than anything was loyalty.”
It is not unusual for many of us with a conservative disposition to believe in having solid principles and the “right” ideas. And to think that blind loyalty to a party or an individual, whether family or friends, leaves the door wide open for corruption. Therefore, it wouldn’t be unusual to feel a slight twitch upon hearing the term ‘loyalty’ or if the mind suddenly races to thoughts of illicit collusion behind closed doors in a smoky room.
Though speaking of corruption, we’ll get to that in a moment.
In this particular case, Vance is publicly defending the words of a fellow Republican whom he calls his friend. That is decency. Perhaps members of his party might take a lesson in supporting their fellow GOP officials, especially when they are facing a tsunami of backlash from several media outlets, as opposed to caving into pressure and staying silent, or apologizing for someone or disavowing them? It’s about time.
From a chaotic childhood to the principal at top venture capital firm
As the author of the bestselling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, Vance’s upbringing gives little room to suspect that he had prior family connections with high-ranking officials and self-made millionaires with lobbying influence in Washington D.C.
Vance describes himself as a “hillbilly” growing up in a poverty-stricken and chaotic Appalachian household rocked by violence and his mother’s drug addiction. However, Vance’s life took a different turn when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and realized he had more agency over his fate: learning self-discipline allowed Vance to tap into his talents and develop innate abilities.
Lo and behold, Vance achieved a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School following graduation from Ohio State University and afterward served as a principal at billionaire Peter Thiel’s global technology investment firm, Mithril Capital. Later, Vance burst onto the political scene after Hillbilly Elegy was published in 2016 and received passionate reviews from both sides of the political aisle.
It is rare to learn about a working-class boy from southwestern Ohio who grows up in extraordinarily challenging circumstances and has no family connection to major players in Washington D.C., becoming a top contender in the U.S. political arena. But Vance did just so—through forming excellent connections, persevering, and above all else, having a love of country.
Introducing the youngest member of U.S. Congress
In contrast to J.D. Vance’s childhood, Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, born in 1995, was raised in a two-parent, upper-income household and entirely homeschooled through to 12th grade. In 2014, former Rep. Mark Meadows nominated Cawthorn to the U.S. Naval Academy; however, a sudden twist of events left the 18-year-old paralyzed from the waist down, and he now uses a wheelchair. Unlike Vance’s decision, Cawthorn dropped out of a private college, claiming that his injuries had interfered with his learning. Still, he had gained experience and contacts working as a staff assistant in Meadows’ district office and eventually became the youngest member of U.S. Congress.
In a recent interview, Cawthorn didn’t resist from tearing straight into his own party. For starters, he claimed to have seen fellow Republicans, who were involved in leading movements on removing drug addiction, taking a “key bump of cocaine” in front of his eyes.
If that weren’t discouraging enough, there’s more to come. But this 26-year-old burst of optimism is outspoken and straight-talking. This isn’t a political endorsement of Madison Cawthorn (or Mark Meadows) but, instead, to emphasize a damning reality that is too hard-hitting and cannot be ignored anymore.
A taste of a secret society in Washington D.C.?
When asked to describe the freshman orientation at Washington D.C. as a newly elected member of Congress, the response was almost reminiscent of symbolism and phrases along the lines of “Eyes Wide Shut” at secret societies such as Skull & Bones.
[Y]ou learn a lot of the procedures…you get told information, but it’s not explained to you in a way where you understand exactly what needs to happen. And so therefore, you start relying heavily on your leadership: the people who are elected, whether it’s the speaker of the house, the minority leader, or whoever it is.
If this doesn’t sound like a pathway towards gradually stripping elected officials’ influence and creating a dependence that removes individual responsibility, perhaps we need to pay more attention.
Cawthorn claimed that, rather than senior leadership providing guidance on interpreting a bill before casting a vote, they would merely state which direction to vote. He then added that:
[So] your voting record starts going down this trail that you…no longer have people to support your campaigns. And so, then you start having to rely on these special interest groups…who wanna see their legislation passed, not necessarily because it has to do with your district but because it helps their business, and so these people are called lobbyists.
This bolded blurting will draw a heavy sigh from many who are painstakingly absorbed in analyzing politics. It’s not to say that large donors shouldn’t be welcomed, but if these donations are solely tied to a personal agenda, a business or a special interest, we’re indeed entering the murky waves of corruption.
Simply put, the American people’s interests will not be served as a result.
In contrast, the upbeat 26-year-old congressman stated that he was fortunate to receive “probably five dollars from 500,000 people a year versus most people who have to rely on that seven or 70,000 dollar check from one individual person.” Consequently, it might be less likely for Cawthorn to succumb to the pressure of supporting a particular bill that isn’t backed by his supporters, and “start losing your patriotic fervor” and eventually become “bought and paid for and desiring to be at a higher level in the Swamp.”
The Swamp is the collective corruption and entrenched bureaucracy in Washington D.C., which has been left to grow like a malignant brain tumor and is now approaching a terminal point. Yet many of us believe there is a life-saving treatment towards removing the cancer of highly-paid lobbyists who make Washington D.C. work for their special interests but to the detriment of the American working people.
Who is the greater threat to the legislative branch?
Cawthorn didn’t hold back when asked who he thought was the greater kind of threat to the legislative branch. He accused his own party of being “dedicated to playing defense,” and added that:
“We never set the narrative; we allow our opponents to set the narrative the entire time. And so I think that the biggest opposition to the legislative branch from elected members is actually the RINOS [Republicans in name only]. They’re spineless, they’re cowardly, and the problem is they will run on radically different platforms than Democrats, but once they get to Washington, they’ll vote basically the exact same way. And it confuses the American people; it makes them lose faith in their government.”
He continued to affirm that the biggest threat to the American people in government is the “bureaucratic class” who have not been elected, referring to the “guy at the NIH,” and other three-letter agencies, which many believe have practically become the fourth branch of government. The hardest part to swallow was that, according to Cawthorn, “they are practically unfireable.”
So, to fire a bureaucrat for “not doing their job” according to the congressman, would firstly involve some kind of counseling, and “if it’s found that their father raised their voice at them when they were 8-years-old, it means that they’re part of a minority class that’s been abused, and so you’re discriminating against them.”
It is this kind of un-Constitutional level of degradation that the Founding Fathers were keen to avoid. That, and the sad case of passive-aggressively driving individuals to vote a certain way; otherwise, a possible embarrassing or guilty “secret” might be exposed. Hence, there should be term limits on government bureaucrats and members of Congress to prevent the consolidation of power and, ultimately, the corruption that lies at the behest of Man as a fallen creature.
Using social media to directly engage with the American people
Millennials like Cawthorn are part of a unique generation because many can still remember a childhood without the unnecessary pressure to ‘like’ an image or respond instantly to a text. Still, they were also the first generation of teenagers exposed to the mammoth wave of digital technology.
In this retrospect, the internet-savvy congressman asserts that he has been able to bypass RINO opposition and criticism from the media, and quickly pass more bills than other freshmen because the “advent of social media has been so incredibly powerful.”
“[W]hereas previously, if you wanted to get something done in Washington, you needed to convince 218 members of Congress to just have a very narrow majority plus one. I’ve actually found that it is much easier to convince 30 million Americans of the truth, people who have common sense…and then when they all turn on their members of Congress, and they say, “You’re not noting for this—why not?”…and then all of a sudden, they [members] get very afraid because this is the best job they’ve ever had.”
Cawthorn expressed his strategy were a form of “bully politics” that circumambulates the mainstream media, takes his message directly to the American people through social media and encourages constituents to hold their congressmen and congresswomen accountable for their voting responsibilities.
It is comforting to hear a 26-year-old elected politician show concern for their country’s youth. According to Cawthorn, the Republican party needs to go “on offense” against the unelected bureaucratic class. Otherwise, they will be damning the next generation “to be absent and robbed of the freedoms that were promised to us by our Founding Fathers.”
The future of conservative Americans in politics
The American people, for too long, have witnessed well-meaning Republican politicians do little more than say, “Well, I wish there was something I could do, but I’m just one vote; there’s nothing I can really do.” No. We need a fighting spirit of activism in the Republican party and elected officials who stand up and say, “I will do my very best, everything I can do to impact this issue that my constituents care about.”
Promising Republicans like Madison Cawthorn and J.D. Vance have stood their ground thus far. Both men have displayed emotional resilience, a possible outcome of their upbringing albeit in drastically different circumstances, allowing them to build an armor of endurance for intense pressure and criticism.
It is also heartening to learn that they are relatively young and part of a generation who encountered rapid changes in communication styles and platforms during their teenage years. And they’ve been dialed in right from the start.
It is of the opinion that both men love their country, and their hearts are in the right place: so far, they have displayed good character in staying loyal to the people they have chosen to represent and serve.
Current and future Republicans might want to take a lesson from these two millennials because they represent, in part, the future of American conservatives in politics—the best of the kind.
By Cameron Keegan
Cameron Keegan is an independent researcher and writer on American politics, faith, and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. Having worked with children, teenagers, and young adults to support their learning and development, Cameron cares deeply about the trajectory of the United States. To learn more about Cameron’s work, visit https://ckeeganan.substack.com, and for comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Blue State Conservative. The BSC is not responsible for, and does not verify the accuracy of, any information presented.