On November third of 2020, voters in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District (far western portion of the state, bordering Tennessee) did something that at one time was almost unheard of, but has become increasingly more commonplace since the rise of Donald Trump from “civilian” life directly to the presidency; they elected a man with no prior political experience to represent them in the U.S. Congress. That man was 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn.
Since his election, the MSM has wasted no time in defaming the courageous young supporter of America-first ideas (the Washington Post, in particular, seems almost obsessed with the freshman). The yellow journalism associated with him ranges from trying to discredit his own personal history to virtually co-blaming him (along with the former President) for the January 6th events at the Capitol building. These sorts of baseless attacks have become commonplace in the MSM over the past several years, especially when it comes to any public figure who stands strongly against their globalist and socialist agenda.
Human Events News sat down with Congressman Cawthorn recently to discuss the current state of affairs in American politics, the perceived “division” in the Republican party, and what opportunity exists, if any, to try to begin to heal the divide that is plaguing our country. We found the congressman to be articulate, concise, and unequivocal. That generally makes for an interesting conversation.
Ask the borderline Gen Y/Z Madison Cawthorn, the freshman Congressman from North Carolina, what you need to do to overcome adversity and he doesn't hesitate. “The answer is simple,” he says. “Focus on where you are and what you can do with what you have.”
Congressman Cawthorn has firsthand experience facing adversity at a level few can imagine. Having nearly lost his life in an accident back in 2014 that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and with limited use of his left arm, Cawthorn says he lied in bed thinking about what he could do. “I realized that the one thing I had control over were my thoughts, so I set out to work on fixing my brain,” he shares. “For people who face less dramatic, less disabling forms of adversity, they will likely have more options of things they can do given where they are and what they have.”
He further shares that it wasn’t just as easy as “fixing his brain.” “Despite wonderful help and support from a set of loving, God-centered, family and friends, in my darkest moment it came down to a choice between committing suicide or doing something else. I literally drew a ‘T chart’ and listed the pros and cons beside each other. In that process I discovered that there were 730,000 people living in my district whom I could serve. I decided to live because I loved my country and I realized I could make a difference.”
Now Cawthorn finds himself sitting in a Congress that represents a nation that is as divided as it was at the time of the Civil War. The Congress itself, is just as divided, serving almost as a microcosm of the country. “I think that Washington and the politicians who run it are very responsible for the division within the country at large,” he says. “The establishment in D.C. is so driven by the money, and the power that comes from having people fight with one another, that they have stoked the divisions.”
He continues. “If you sit down and talk to regular American citizens, you will find out that they agree on roughly eighty-percent of things. There is about a twenty-percent set of real differences and the media, pundits, and politicians like to feed into that twenty-percent and make every American feel like that’s what is on their mind, too. If we could just get people to stop focusing on the twenty-percent of differences, maybe we could get them to focus on being an American and all being part of the greatest country in the world.”
Does he think that most people are truly proud to be Americans in 2021? His simple answer is no. “We have had generations of young people coming up through an educational system that teaches them that American was a racist country from the moment it was born. They are taught that every achievement of America over time has been thinly veiled by evil intentions, that our history is a bad history. If only they were taught about the great things America has done and the great changes we’ve made like ending slavery, giving women the vote, and so on. We’ve made mistakes, but we have done great good and we have made great corrections.”
The Events of January 6, 2021
By now every American regardless of their level of political interest is well aware that on January 6th something bad happened at our nation’s capital. What started as a very peaceful rally attended by patriots from all across the country, eventually led to citizens, some with malice aforethought and some out of curiosity, infiltrating the Capitol building itself. What ensued were acts of vandalism leading to one unarmed protester being shot and killed by police.
Freshman Congressman Cawthorn was just getting ready to take to the House floor to address the body when notice of the breach was given and the representatives evacuated. Since he has been a strong supporter of President Trump, a critic of the November 3 election, and spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally earlier that day, he has taken heat from the MSM. We asked the congressman about that day.
“For starters, I believe that our nation underwent a fraudulent election in November. I think it is clear there were 9 to 12 counties in key states where fraudulent votes were cast. The difficulty is, because of the nature of the ballots themselves and how they are aggregated it is nearly impossible to really tell which are fraudulent. Now the Constitution makes clear that the states are empowered to run their own elections. The problem in 2020 is that COVID-19 gave officials in key states, some acting unilaterally and in opposition to their own legislature, first the excuse and then the power to change both the way votes were cast and were counted.”
“I made a video about the voting irregularities surrounding November 3 that attracted about forty-million viewers. It even helped to convince over 100 Republicans to join the fight to contest the election results. It was with that as the backdrop that I addressed the crowd outside the Capitol earlier on January 6th. I said I was going to go on the House floor and fight for them. Fight for their rights.”
What eventually happened, however, is not something that Rep. Cawthorn had anticipated. He said that if he had been told sooner what was starting to happen, he would have gone to the Capitol steps and tried to stop what took place. He would have used his bullhorn if he had it with him. “It probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but I would have tried.”
Rep. Cawthorn does not believe we will ever really know exactly what happened on January 6th. “We know now that it was in part an orchestrated event. Unfortunately, people have become so political and are only looking for explanations and information that fits in with their own pre-established narrative that they are willing to just ignore facts. The different sides and the various conspiracy theorists are going to debate this forever. I feel sorry for the historians who are going to have to write about it.”
Division in the Party, Division in Washington, Division in the Nation
With the Republicans being in a minority in the House, and with a very aggressive and socialist Democrat majority, we asked Rep. Cawthorn what the Republican strategy should be over the next two years. “Well, in my very first speech I literally did the gesture of an outstretched hand and said to my Democrat colleagues that I wanted to ‘reach across the aisle.’ Unfortunately, it quickly became evident that Democrats have no interest in accepting an outstretched hand.”
“Joe Biden talks about unity,” Rep. Cawthorn states. “What unity means to the Democrats is Soviet-style unity where everyone who doesn’t agree with them is down on their knees saying they are sorry for disagreeing and begging the Democrats to forgive them and lead the way.” Since working with Democrats on legislation is not seen by Rep. Cawthorn as an option, what should Republicans do? For this question, the freshman congressman has a very specific answer.
“We need to be public-facing for the next two years and let people know that we stand for 1) your right to life (including the unborn), 2) getting the federal government out of your life (reduced regulation), 3) balancing the federal budget (even if it takes 15-20 years we have to start now), and 4) letting no outside entity be able to attack America (militarily, by entering our borders, or through trade). It is important that as Republicans we share these messages with people and let them know that we know and we hear them.”
Rep. Cawthorn feels delivering messages is going to be all the more difficult because of the more overt efforts being made on the part of the socialist movement in America to silence the voices of people like himself who want to act on an America-first agenda.
“You look at having a group of Democrat politicians calling on cable companies to deplatform entities like Fox news and Newsmax and you start to realize that maybe they aren’t just posturing and they are really serious about trying to take away our liberty.” In making the statement, Rep. Cawthorn mentions the ever growing power of Big Tech and shares his support of state efforts, like those of Governor DeSantis in Florida, to do whatever they can to try to fight back. “These socialist politicians and the Big Tech companies are trying to consolidate their power and eliminate dissent.”
When asked if he thinks it is economics or culture that is the bigger problem facing America today, Rep Cawthorn doesn’t equivocate. “It’s culture. Our economic problems are a symptom of our culture. We have become decadent over time. We have seemingly lost our morals and we have attacked the nuclear family which provided so much of our traditional values. People now worship at the altar of the state.”
He continues. “We have stopped encouraging personal responsibility in this country. We say to people that if you have a problem, blame this group or this class. You have student debt? Well let's get rid of it for you. We have promoted insolvent households and now we have an insolvent government that has been subsidizing those households.”
The cultural issues he feels stem, in part, from Americans having had the opportunity to enjoy such a comfortable life since the end of World War II. “Since the end of that war, the entire world has experienced more peace and prosperity than at any time in history. This makes it more difficult to get people to come together and unite. Rep. Cawthorn explains the problem by saying, “I believe that hard times create strong men (and women, he adds). Strong men then create good times. Those good times, in turn, create weak men. Finally, the cycle completes with weak men creating hard times.”
Because of that paradigm, Rep. Cawthorn fears it might take some real national adversity to actually bring people close enough together to reverse the nation’s course and restore liberty. “I sometimes say that the America I want to live in is the America of September 12, 2001,” he says. “It was in that moment that we saw how Americans are still capable of banding together, showing unity, and being decent to one another.”
Today’s cancel-culture mentality he sees as perhaps being the biggest threat to America in terms of our founding principles ever being restored. “We need to be communicating with our neighbor, not cancelling them. I come back to the fact that eighty-percent of us agree on fundamental issues. We can’t let that other twenty-percent silence us and stop us from trying to come together.”
He does not see the struggle in the Republican party to be as big a problem as the Democrats and MSM members try to make it out to be. “I’m glad President Trump is around at the moment,” he says. “He is a sort of arbiter of truth. He isn’t going to let anyone in the Republican party turn away from, or misrepresent, an America-first agenda. That agenda isn’t going away. I don’t know what he will do in the future, but I’m glad he is around now.”
He does acknowledge that with Joe Biden in the White House there are establishment Republicans who think they can go back to the old business-as-usual approach. He says that will not be allowed to happen. “I have a lot of respect for the work that Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) are doing to keep the Trump America-first agenda alive and well. Like I said, it isn’t going away. Any Republican who thinks it will is simply mistaken.” Rep. Cawthorn believes that ultimately the Republicans will coalesce around the kind of ideas that the President promoted over the past four years.
The Problem of Politicians Getting Specific
A real problem he sees with all politicians is their inability and unwillingness to actually solve problems and work toward specific goals. “I do believe it is easier for politicians to run on a promise than it is to run on an accomplishment. If you can keep making the same promise you don’t have to change your talking points. I had politicians tell me when President Trump started aggressively addressing immigration that they were worried he might actually fix the problem. Then they wouldn’t be able to run on promising to fix the problem.”
“There are two kinds of targets,” he says. “Soft targets and hard targets. If I get up in the morning and decide I want to be a better Christian, that sounds good, but it's a soft target. I have find a way to get specific about what behaviors I really have to adjust and what I have to do to get there. On the other hand, if I say I am going to get to 225 pounds on the bench press (something it looks like Cawthorn could easily do for multiple reps), then I have a hard target in mind. Politicians are not good at setting hard targets for their constituents to use to measure their actual performance.”
In addition to a failure to set specific goals, Rep. Cawthorn also points to the crippling effect money has on politicians. “The influence of big money on our leaders is just despicable,” he says. “You can have someone offer to buy your home from you for four times more than it's worth. Then you learn about what else they think they are buying for that extra ‘premium.’ Setting term limits could really help get the influence of money out of government.”
Setting term limits is only one of Rep. Cawthorn’s ideas. When asked if he were “king for a day” what rules would he enact, in addition to term limits he had three other potential “edicts.” “I would make it mandatory for students to take a two-year break after high school graduation to go overseas and work somewhere and somehow on behalf of their country. They should get some real-life experience before deciding to go into debt for a college education. I would also remove 50% of the existing regulations. Finally, I believe that I would give the executive line-item veto authority.”
Seemingly Not a Typical Politician
After covering a wide range of topics with the young Congressman, the thing that you are left with the most is his incredible sense of positive energy and the gratitude he feels despite his physically debilitating injury. “I’m so thankful. As a Christian, I look at my life and ask how it could not have been ordained by God. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to serve America. My life puts me in mind of the Parable of the Talents from Scripture. I have been given so many. It is my job to make use of them and make them multiply for the benefit of every American citizen.”
Congressman Madison Cawthorn is every bit as unique as are the collection of political and historical figures he admires. They range from Caesar to Teddy Roosevelt, from Kublai Khan to Winston Churchill. “Churchill, what a man,” Rep. Cawthorn says. “He literally saved the free world.” What the freshman Congressman’s final place in history will be, it is yet too soon to be determined. For now, like President Trump’s America-first agenda, one gets the feeling he is just getting started and isn’t receding into the shadows anytime soon.