Report by Richard Geno
The Conservative Forum had its annual Christmas party, the president's presentation of the State of the Forum, and an outstanding message from Forrest Gump.
Thanks to Carol McManus, Janie Polizzi and Roberta Allen, the tables were decorated festively, and plenty of tasty food was available. The new 28-person board and officers for 2011 were sworn in. President Richard Geno gave a report of the excellent progress the organization has made over the past seven years, growing from an informal meeting of 20 people back in 2003 to 35-40 regular monthly attendees in 2005 to an average monthly attendance of over 300 in 2010.
Steve Weber (aka, Forrest Gump) was the guest speaker. He spoke about the meaning of Forrest Gump’s “gumption”, saying that it doesn’t take superior intelligence or ability to have gumption. In his talk, he came across very much like the character he played, Forrest Gump. “Stupid is what stupid does” he said as he talked about holding politicians to a higher standard.
Steve asked the audience whether the founder’s challenges were any less than those faced by conservatives today. They did not want to be told how to live by a government. Asked if anyone feels less challenged today, there was a resounding “No!” from the audience. The key is taking personal responsibility to communicate with others. Those who have gumption are effective communicators like Forrest Gump. They have personal integrity, a presence that listens to what others are saying, and an open mind - a receptiveness to trying new things.
Steve reminded listeners that choices that bring opportunities also bring adversity. He talked about the need to expect adversity, and to learn from adversity. He reminded everyone that the men and women who founded America were fiercely independent, expecting government to stay out of their business, alluding to today’s government being into everyone’s business. Whereas the founders took care of themselves, today’s government aims to take care of everybody.
The importance of getting away from government dependency was portrayed by Sgt Dan who lost both legs and was angry and dependent on government until he figured out how to do for himself without the help of government. In the beginning of the movie and at the end, a feather is seen floating by. Forrest, as are each of us, is presented with the choice of whether to pick up that feather or to miss the opportunity. Steve believes recent events indicate that the sleeping giant has awakened.
Steve noted that in his profession he rarely is given the opportunity to say what he truly believes, and that he appreciated being invited to speak to a group that shared his thoughts and values.
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