October 31, 2017
Long after we pack away the podium from another Values Voter Summit, we're always amazed at the long-term impact the event has. People are sincerely affected by what they see and hear at VVS -- and not just conservatives! In a fascinating piece for the Kansas City Star, columnist Robert Leonard openly talks about how the Summit helped open his mind about a president he could barely stomach. In Iowa, he explains, "Trump is ascendant" -- a trend he could never quite understand, given how brash and outspoken the president continues to be.
The answer, he writes, came to him on a Saturday morning at his local coffee shop.
"My friend Mark said something like, 'Hey Bob, if you want to understand why rural conservatives like Trump, watch the speech he gave at the Values Voter Summit.' I replied, 'Just tell me why,' not wanting to tell Mark I can hardly stand to watch or listen to Trump... 'No, you have to watch it first. Then we'll talk,' he said."
"While I couldn't bring myself to actually watch the speech, I read the transcript provided by the White House. Looking only at the written word, and putting Trump's arrogant off-script comments aside, it was a beautiful speech. Powerful. Inspirational. Brilliant even."
"That's not what I took from the reporting -- which may well be the fault of my selective reading and viewing -- but if President Barack Obama had given a similar speech I know much of the media would have lauded it, leaving me with a completely different perspective of the speech, and likely the man."
That's an amazing testimony about the importance of the event from someone who wasn't even there! Twelve years ago, when we hosted the very first VVS, our goal was to plant a flag for conservative values that the media and Republican Party couldn't ignore. More than a decade of Summits later, the liberal press has gone from trying to write values voters out of existence to admitting that they were the difference in Donald Trump's historic election.
For every person who traveled to D.C. to see the event live, there were thousands more watching the speeches on cable news and live web streams. Now, that impact lives on -- even in the coffee shops of small-town USA. So the next time you wonder if you're making a difference, think about the Values Voter Summit. None of it would have been possible without the support of people like you. Consider partnering with us as we plan for the next year of defending faith, family, and freedom. Help us give a voice to millions of Americans -- and continue changing the minds of people in the process. Give a generous gift today -- or sign up to become a monthly family partner!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.