CPAC 2021: The Authenticity of Madison Cawthorn

For those who have never been to a CPAC, one of the highlights is being able to run into and interact with some of our nation’s elected representatives. I am sure you’ve seen Scott Hounsell’s elbow greeting with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Evangelist), and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Fiery), and others have milled around the halls of the Hyatt Regency Orlando and warmly greeted people who approach.

But this particular interaction was inspiring, as well as deeply touching.

Freshman North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-Authentic) was waiting at the elevators to be escorted to the CPAC main stage, when a young man in a wheelchair called out to him.

For those who do not know, Rep. Cawthorn was in an automobile accident, which left him partially paralyzed. He was scheduled to join the U.S. Naval Academy and pursue a military career when the accident happened. Cawthorn didn’t let this tragedy stop him, and he went on to build a business, become a motivational speaker, and at the age of 25, he was elected as the youngest congressional representative since Jed Johnson in 1964.

Cawthorn wheeled over to the young man, with his characteristic smile that pours through his beautiful blue eyes. From what I could make from the brief conversation, the young man simply wanted to let Cawthorn know what an inspiration he was to him, and that he wanted to assist him in any way he could in his congressional work and re-election campaign.

Cawthorn profusely thanked him, they exchanged cards, and then Cawthorn said, “Let me pray for you.”

Cawthorn wrapped his arm around the young man’s shoulder, and prayed a prayer that was specific, heartfelt, and laser-focused. We are so used to seeing politicians who are affected, polished, and too often insincere. This spontaneous moment of purity and transparency was breathtaking to behold.

I am sure that young man will not be the same thanks to Cawthorn’s open and authentic outreach. I know those who witnessed it felt the same.