The Dream Defenders are the group–mostly young and black–who have taken over the Florida state Capitol in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal in an act of non-violent civil disobedience. As you’d expect from the demographic description, they are promoting a liberal agenda that includes a repeal of Stand Your Ground laws.
However, don’t make the same mistake the left does when it stereotypes the Tea Party; people are more complex than their stated political beliefs and that’s what makes change possible. I’ve been covering the protest since it started and I’ve discovered that despite major ideological differences, the protesters have been friendly, open and intellectually curious. In some cases, I’m literally the only conservative they’ve ever actually had a civil conversation with.
Last night, I talked to a young man and discovered that he was a fan of the Stephen K. Bannon film Occupy Unmasked, which exposed Occupy Wall Street and the media coverup that spurred it on. The film, released last year by Citizes United featured the late Andrew Breitbart, me and a number of other narrators.
It was gratifying to see that Occupy Unmasked had reached across political boundaries and impacted people outside of the anticipated conservative audience. Breitbart argued that culture trumps politics, and a film can be the first step. That initial contact needs to be followed up by respectful, honest dialogue from conservatives willing to both listen to other people’s experiences and to unapologetically share the benefits of freedom with them. Breitbart’s vision of a bigger tent lives on.