by Paris Dennard
Everyone is making a big deal about rapper Kanye West’s admiring tweet about conservative Candace Owens after another one of her provocative comments went viral.
“I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” West tweeted Saturday morning in the first of a string about paying attention and thinking for yourself:
I love the way Candace Owens thinks
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
[ The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more ]
Maybe it is because the Republican Party is nearly void of mainstream celebrities that we conservatives get overly excited when we hear even the smallest bit of news of a Hollywood endorsement of something conservative.
Owens, 28, is director of urban engagement for Turning Point USA, an organization dedicated to teaching conservative principles to young Americans. And of course West, 40, is the hugely successful, Grammy-winning hip-hop star.
Owens replied to West on Twitter:
I’m freaking out. @kanyewest ….please take a meeting with me. I tell every single person that everything that I have been inspired to do, was written in your music.
I am my own biggest fan, because you made it okay. I need you to help wake up the black community. https://t.co/Uz1nB9K0Oz
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 21, 2018
Although West met with Donald Trump shortly after he was elected president, it is safe to say they are friends and have a relationship because of the president’s previous career.
Let’s be clear: Kanye West is no conservative Republican, and he is not speaking at your next local GOP fundraiser or hitting the trail for the Republican National Committee in the midterms.
Recall, if you will, West’s ridiculous and unfounded comments accusing President George W. Bush of being a racist on live television at a time when the nation should have been brought together, not torn apart.
That being said, this is a moment for Americans to reflect on, because at the root of the fanfare and criticism over West’s tweeted admiration of Owens is the need for more civility and respect for divergent opinions and the diversity of thought.
In the age of Trump following the rise of conservatism, people seem to think it is OK to attack other people’s character just because they are conservative, have conservative values, vote with the Republican Party, and/or support Trump and his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
In 2018, it is commonplace for a conservative speaker to be booed on college campuses, disinvited from events, or shouted at and harassed in public while on a plane or eating at a restaurant.
Freedom of speech—well, freedom of conservative speech—is under attack. Republican-bashing and GOP character assassination is tolerated and accepted from the left and many in the elite media.
Now, the tables have turned. When comedian, actor, and entrepreneur Steve Harvey met with Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, the left and many of Harvey’s supporters turned on him.
When Miss America Cara Mund, country-pop singer Shania Twain, and now West say something remotely close to sounding like they are free thinkers, social media followers and the Hollywood elites turn on them.
This is where we are in America. The color of your skin, the content of your character, and now party affiliation matter not if you dare to think outside the box for yourself and agree objectively with something the president does, or a Republican or a conservative says.
What we need to do is pause and get to know our neighbors, not demonize, put down, or attack people who have differing views than ours. Because it is healthy to have diversity of thought.
No more censoring of pro-Trump conservatives Diamond and Silk and shutting down of pro-life organizations on social media. Listen to each other, gain an understanding, and agree to disagree respectfully in the hopes of finding common ground and real solutions.
Racism, sexism, ageism, Trump-bashing, and conservative-hating can’t be fixed solely by the passing of a bill, a fine, or a speech from a politician. We the people have to be the catalyst for change, starting with our family and friends.
While I do not agree with the way Owens articulates some of her positions, I certainly respect her right to be heard—same for other conservative-minded communicators and activists—without her character being impugned.
We should all support freedom of non-liberal thought–and apparently Kanye West does, too.
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Paris Dennard is senior director of strategic communications at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. A CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, he also has worked at the White House and the Republican National Committee.