Values Voter Summit Day 1: Seeking a Friend in 1939


I am here at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC, an annual celebration of anti-gay, anti-sex, pro-life, and suuuuper pro-Christian values, all held by generally very friendly small-town midwesterners.

VVS isn’t such a big deal because it’s the equivalent of an evangelical church group vacation in DC— it’s a big deal because it’s also the chance for Republican presidential hopefuls to prove to these “pro-family” voters that they are just like them.

I arrived yesterday to get my press credentials, look around at the exhibits, and see if anyone would be my friend. Basically, the conference consists of several huge plenary sessions where Christian values icons introduce and speak alongside groveling GOP candidates, interspersed with book signings, breakout discussions, a straw poll vote (which I could minorly fuck up if I wanted), several luncheons and gala dinners that you have to pay extra to get into, and a big exhibit hall in which a majority (I hope) of Christian organizations have set up little booths and are very willing to tell you about How Bad Things Are Today.

I learned from a very polite representative of Christians United For Israel that it is “1939” — “the political conditions are exactly the same for Jews as they were right before the Holocaust.” I thanked him, took a pen, and moved on.

I learned that at least one representative from Students for Life, the pro-life group that organizes the very clickbait-y Planned Parenthood Project, reads Jezebel (and “all the pro-choice websites”) every day, so, score.

I won two t-shirts from the CPAC booth for correctly guessing a Bobby Jindal quote. I didn’t learn anything but I feel proud.

I also learned in a very jovial conversation between myself, a woman from Sacred Ink (a literary agency devoted to books with postively-portrayed Christian characters) and another woman from PFOX, an organization for “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays” that the world has become a cesspool because of “Hollywood cartoons” like Archie Bunker. I also learned that it is undesirable for them to live somewhere in which they are not the solid majority. The PFOX representative told me that even though she grew up in California, she doesn’t understand why some of her friends would choose to live there noting that it was only 40 percent white, Anglo-Saxon, and well-to-do.

So far the Sacred Ink lady is the frontrunner for Joanna’s Best Friend. I evaded her question about how much I liked living in New York (“I mean, you know what it is… It’s tiring,”) and told her about a good creative writing program that my college has (she’s a novelist), and she told me about the farm she and her family just bought in Virginia. Honestly I think I love her.

Now, I am up ass-crack early to see what I hope amounts to very scary political theater. Tomorrow, there will be the more deep-cut pro-family day with breakout groups including “The Landscape of a Post-Planned Parenthood Future” and “The Islamic Threat: Women Who Know The Truth.” But today, I will get to enjoy more Top 40-ish Republican goons including Sen. John McCain, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, disgraced former presidential candidate and Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, and Kim Davis who is set to receive the “Cost of Discipleship” award. Fortunately I have a little unfurlable sign that reads “Run, Ben, Run” so I am ready for anything.

If you are here, please come hang out with me; I am so lonely.

Contact the author at [email protected].

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