Communications Director, Concerned Women for America
Alison Howard is the communications director at Concerned Women for America (CWA), where she manages internal and external communications projects relating to the sanctity of life, the defense of families, education, religious freedom, American sovereignty, fighting sexual exploitation, and supporting Israel. Howard has been featured on Fox News Channel, The Blaze, The Christian Broadcasting Network, World Magazine, NPR, and other media outlets. This year, she took on executives from Planned Parenthood in the national media and spoke in defense of traditional marriage at the National March for Marriage in Washington, D.C.
Why is it important that at this particular point in time, right-of-center youth become involved publicly, whether in politics, media, their communities, or another capacity?
It’s important that right-of-center youth get involved, because we can’t build knowledge and a movement overnight. Youth are our future, and you have to instruct them in the philosophies that make up a good governance system, explaining why we think like we do, knowing they will grow up and set the policy for future generations. Youth may not love “politics,” but they must realize that public policy affects everybody. We have a lot of successes at every level of government proving that conservative governance works, and the more quickly we highlight those things to the youth, the better chance we have of securing the future of our country. Politics is downstream of culture, and they are not mutually exclusive. He who controls the culture, controls the country.
What must elected officials and others in positions of leadership do to make a right-of-center message resonate with the Millennial generation?
You have to go to them on their turf. Officials and those in leadership positions need to be leaving no stone unturned in all types of communities. You’ve got to go out there — and you’ve got to listen. You’re elected to carry out the will of the people, so sit and listen on their turf and find out what their concerns are. Wait to pontificate policy until you return to Washington, where you can then work to address the concerns of those people.
I’d also encourage more legislators and leaders to tell their own stories. Storytelling is wound into our DNA, instilling values, preserving cultures, and building legacies. Growing up joining my family in feeding the homeless and volunteering in the community, I got to hear stories of people’s lives, what choices they wish they had made, and what they wish they’d known. Those make more of an impact on a person’s perspective than any policy push ever will.
Where would you like to see the conservative movement in 10 years — and how can it get there?
I hope to see the conservative movement en vogue. I’d like to see it popular with different people, different backgrounds, different religions, and different races moving toward a movement of smaller government, lower taxes, and all principles for which we advocate.
Too often we allow the media to dictate the terms. They focus on how we are different; the leaders of our movement need to focus on how we are the same. There’s always going to be differences. But in order to build a movement you have to have leadership that focuses on similarities and how we agree. I would hope in 10 years, our movement will be full of people whose first or second time voting in a presidential election revealed to them the significance of governance, as this administration has left young people feeling deceived and exploited.
The saying holds true: if you don’t have a seat at the table, then you may be on the menu. I think there is a growing wave of tension that will drive today’s youth to assess the disparity between what they were promised and the current reality. The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” has grown under this president’s watch; we’re making less money with fewer opportunities, and I do believe that in 10 years you will have plenty willing to say they lived through these failed policies and will work hard to not repeat them again.