What are we? Certainly, we are bones and blood, veins and ligaments. What we are is merely a picture-frame designed to showcase who we are. So who are we? That question is weighted with such density that to unpack it would take volumes. We are infinitely complex, as we have been written—and that’s the point.
Politics is the taking of the Gordian knot of human existence, and shoving it into clean, square boxes. It’s only natural to want to narrow the scope of life so as to better understand it. However, who we are doesn’t always fit so cleanly into the boxes others have set out for us.
As a conservative, I see the dangers of the liberal ideology as clearly as one sees the sky on a cloudless day. It’s not hard to see the destructive nature of the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s wildly naive negotiations with Iran, abortion on demand, amnesty for those who broke the law, and the surfeit of other liberal ideas.
I see these things, and I write about them on a daily basis. So do many other pundits. So does Guy Benson. Guy Benson is the political editor of Town Hall, and I’ve followed his writing for quite some time.
As my love for politics developed, I consumed so much, reading books by Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Deneen Borelli, Jonah Goldberg, Dana Loesch, Thomas Sowell, John Lott, Jason Riley, and even Greg Gutfeld (if I was feeling particularly Libertarian). But I also read the works of columnists like John Nolte, Brandon Darby, and—you guessed it—Guy Benson.
In his new book, co-authored with another one of my favorite pundits Mary Katherine Ham, Guy comes out of the closet.
Benson spoke with Megyn Kelly regarding the disclosure, and made a remarkably salient point that often flies over people’s heads–specifically people on the left:
Kelly: “It’s been discouraging, to some extent, to see some of the haters come out already…and some have already attacked you because they feel you cannot be gay and be a conservative. It’s some sort of anathema.”
Benson: “Look, there is an element of the left—not the entire left—but there is an element of the left that believes that they are entitled to sort of wield control over the thoughts and attitudes of certain people because of who those people are. I am a free-thinking, free citizen of a free country, and I am entitled to think and believe however I so choose.”
During an interview with Buzzfeed, Benson remarked:
“Gay rights is not something that dominates my attentions—or my passions—and that may seem incongruous, that may seem counterintuitive to a lot of people…but the issues that I care about most undergird the reasons why I’m a conservative and have been forever and will be a conservative moving forward.”
Benson argues that his political belief is cut from the cloth of what he cares about most, and he refuses to be shoved into a box by the left.
The left says that if you’re gay, you must be a liberal. The end. To be gay is antithetical to conservatism because your sexuality must wholly define you. If you don’t base your vote on a singular issue relating to your sexuality, you’re a traitor. But Benson sees it differently.
Benson looks at the whole, and sees the value of each part. Benson doesn’t jettison ISIS, immigration, taxes, and healthcare in favor of a singular issue. He acknowledges that what he is in part does not wholly define him, and shouldn’t define his political ideology.
And all it takes is one look at the comment section of the Buzzfeed interview to see how much the left is seething at Benson’s disclosure. They cannot stand that he is not in the “bedazzled straight-jacket”—as Benson described it.
On the other side of the coin are conservatives. Christian conservatives, as well as Tea-Partiers, may look at Benson with a sort of frightful disdain now that he has revealed himself so publicly. They may do exactly what the left does, but in reverse. Conservatives may see Benson as a danger or a liability; they may define him solely by the fact that he’s gay. This is just as bad.
Guy Benson has contributed so much to the conservative movement in his short thirty years, and as political editor of Town Hall. To dismiss his contributions because he’s gay is foolish, and cruel.
You may not agree with him regarding his beliefs on gay marriage, but you likely agree with him on his beliefs that religious freedom should be protected in the face of leftist bullies:
“…I think there should be broad carve-outs for religious organizations, in particular, and narrow carve-outs for closely held businesses that serve the wedding industry.”
As conservatives, you likely agree with him on nearly every political issue outside of gay marriage. Fundamental disagreement on one issue should not preclude one from being in the ranks of conservatism.
However, this is not to say you must agree with him on gay marriage either—it’s a balance.
To banish Benson for his revelation is counter-productive. He’s a conservative, and although his views on one or two issues may differ from yours—even in the extreme—you likely stand on 95% of the same ground. Are you willing to push him off the ledge for that five percent?
Guy Benson is a great political mind, and most importantly, an ally. If we push someone off the ledge for five percent, we will have no allies; we will be alone. And alone, we can accomplish nothing.