The indefatigable Susan Allen, former First Lady of Virginia, co-hosted an open-to-the-public function this past weekend in Northern Virginia to benefit “Our Military Kids.” It was a huge success to raise money benefiting our wounded soldiers and, specifically, the children of veterans whose parents face the financial difficulty of being deployed.
I was proud to be a co-sponsor, being a Vietnam veteran and having a military kid myself. Recently-elected Congresswoman Barbara Comstock was also present to provide her support.
Another gallant cause by the extended Allen family. And it was a family event as by her side was husband George, the enormously popular former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator. And it didn’t hurt to have support of his brother Bruce, president of our beloved Washington Redskins.
Larry Michael, “The Voice of the Washington Redskins,” the evening’s master of ceremonies, lived up to his sterling vocal reputation. Being the descendent of Tolteca Aztec Indians, I’m proud to be called a “Redskin.” The name indeed is one of honor depicting strength of culture that demonstrates character in victory. So the night was a twofer for me.
But what was being seen and felt that night appeared to be renewed compassionate actions led by the Allens and folks like Comstock and First District Congressman Rob Wittman who has been making his rounds in our local town hall meetings.
Wittman recently met with citizens discussing proposed legislation that is not only compassionate but fiscally responsible as he correctly attempts to set aside the sequester of our military. He accurately states sequestration severely takes away from the resources needed most for our military. It forces true humanitarians like the Allens and Comstocks to demonstrate compassionate leadership in the military community.
Wittman, when discussing his recent meeting with King Abdulla of Jordan, indicated ways to curb Islamic extremism but recognizing “we aren’t casting aspersion on everybody of the Islamic faith.” He attempts to identify and provide sanguine congressional actions to combat the growing threat of ISIS without stigmatizing an entire Muslim community or the Islamic faith.
And at the recent CPAC gathering, the nation’s die hard conservatives attempted to unite and heard words from would-be conservative presidential candidates. One had to look hard and listen to who clearly demonstrated compassion that will aid in the minority outreach that is severely lacking in the Republican camp.
The scare tactics of Rand Paul with his anti-Jeb Bush, direct, political jabs perhaps invigorated the libertarian leaning tea party crowd but clearly Bush is emerging as another former governor like Allen who is staying true to conservative but compassionate principles.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Bush’s wife Columba Garnica Bush and her clear Hispanic ties is what will draw millions of independent Latino voters to the polls in 2016. In Bush’s words, “If we share our enthusiasm and love for our country and belief in our philosophy, we will be able to get Latinos and young people and other people.” To which the room erupted in agreement.
Such compassionate Republican words drew over a thousand young enthusiastic supporters to a private reception for Bush which was a near riot as he presented his positive agenda for leadership.
That positive agenda for leadership is perhaps the new norm being displayed in Virginia by the Allens, Wittmans, Comstocks, and, nationally, the Bush family.
Allen’s “Our Military Kids” event was more than a remarkable woman and former Virginia First Lady showing family leadership. There appears to be a growing Republican pattern of genuine concern and compassionate outreach that can pay dividends.
Later this month the Virginia Tea Party meets in Richmond with newly elected 7th District Congressman Dave Brat and RPV chairman John Whitbeck. Not surprisingly, the meeting is again closed to the public. You won’t find a lot of media or minorities there either.
Sadly not all conservatives follow the noble Allen example.
Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org