By ZOË WATKINS
The Bedford County Conservatives met Thursday night at the Ag Center and hosted guest speaker Brandon Taylor, Chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party.
In a speech that resembled Holy Spirit preaching and an episode of the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, Taylor fired up a crowd of about 70 people, encouraging them to hit the polls, get involved locally, and even run for office.
“Why is it that one generation ago, men could run through machine gun fire — head-long into machine gun fire — to fight for freedom, but men today can’t walk into a room full of insults?” said Taylor.
This line came from an anecdote about his grandfather, James Ralph Taylor Jr., who fought on the beaches of Normandy in 1944.
“We need band together and make our voices heard,” said District 1 Commissioner Eric Maddox, who helped lead the meeting last Thursday. “I don’t care if they label me right wing or whatever. At the end of the day, I know I’m standing up for what’s right. And that’s what I saw when I heard Brandon Taylor for the first time, is a guy who’s standing up for what’s right. We need true, Christian conservatives in office.”
Maddox said he met Taylor at a meeting in Williamson County with cross-county representatives. Taylor spoke and Maddox said it “fueled his fire.”
“We’re in the middle of a different kind of battle. The enemy now is not on farm soil. The enemy now is here in your county, in this country, in this state. And they don’t like your freedom,” said Taylor.
To illustrate this, Taylor went into some common and widely accepted “conspiracy theories.”
“They teach our public school system that your ancestors were monkeys. And they cannot prove it. And they tell you it’s a theory. And it is 100% a conspiracy theory,” said Taylor.
Or another one, “If they find bacteria on Mars, they’re going to call it life. But a heartbeat in a mother’s womb isn’t?” said Taylor.
“They can find the bones and remains of a human being who’s been dead for hundreds of years, and forensic investigators can exhume that skeletal remains, and not even find a full body and tell if it’s a male or female. But for some reason, those people who are in the middle don’t know if they’re male or female. This is a conspiracy theory folks,” said Taylor.
There’s a reason for the change in common sense, according to Taylor.
Taylor explained how a few decades ago, Tennessee was a Democratic state. His grandfather, the one mentioned above, was even a Democrat.
“The democratic party got hijacked. They got hi-jacked by a bunch of radicals,” said Taylor. “You know who grew the Republican Party in the state of Tennessee? The Democrat Party did because they kicked everybody out who didn’t agree.”
Taylor also went into what an R.I.N.O is (Republican In Name Only).
“I am a chairman of the Republican Party in Lawrence County. And if they go in the opposite direction of God’s way, I’m going the other way,” said Taylor, who said he became involved politically during the 2020 pandemic — a time he said where individual rights were “stripped.”
“Let this separate party, separate out in the primary,” said Taylor.
“I start seeing across the state there’s meetings just like this going on to where there’s a Republican Party meeting and then there’s a concerned group of citizens having a bigger meeting,” said Taylor.
The Conservatives of Bedford County is working on becoming an official group for this reason.
“I need all of you to go to the Bedford County Republican Party meeting and take it over. Own it,” said Taylor. “It’s a challenge put on you from the Word of God to get together and make something happen.”
It should be noted that Bo Gill stepped down as chairman of the Bedford County republican Party.
“There is a movement happening,” said Maddox. “The way I feel is, number one, I’m a Christian first, and then I’m a conservative.
“At the end of the day, this country was founded on Christian principles,” said Maddox, as the crowded collectively murmured Amen.
“As county commissioner, I know that I’ve ruffled some feathers by standing up for what I feel is right. I’m going to continue to do that. And that’s just the way it is,” said Maddox.
New treasurer Scott Vicary laid out the Conservative group’s main platform: individual freedom, limited government, fiscal responsibility, rule of law, peace through strength, free markets, and human dignity.
These seven pillars were inspired by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, according to Vicary.
Maddox added, “One of the end goals of this group should be to stay informed, so we can inform more people, so we can ultimately make an impact at the polls.”
Maddox said the next step for the group is to finalize the board before deciding when the next meeting will be.