My title might already be a turn off to those more seasoned veterans of the political arena. You might have already claimed your stake, found your voice, or be rolling in a stream of funds due to your political status. I, however, am floundering in this new political world that is not always so friendly to the new and somewhat naïve.
I started to write this while I was attending the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. this past weekend. My lanyard name tag says media so I am sitting in the back of the auditorium along with various media types such as: photographers, mainline news reporters, political bloggers, and even web based radio hosts. It’s a strange little world I have found myself in as a former teacher and a stay-at-home mother of three.
First, there is this celebrity politics thing that I just don’t understand. I’ve watched as people try and get photo ops with politicians or political pundits and post it on social media to bolster their own following. It’s a strange sort of world where those we elect as public servants, paid by the tax-funded public sector to speak on behalf of their constituents, are often given the white-glove celebrity treatment. I don’t really care who the politician is or how well-known the pundit is for their political opinions— they should walk through the same front door as the rest of us even with their bodyguards.
Treating politicians and pundits as celebrities seems to be muddying the waters of the purpose of the conservative political mission. A writer friend and I were discussing this form of celebrity driven politics and she commented, “Oftentimes, the conservative message is overshadowed by these pseudo celebrities who are a part of the conservative movement to further themselves, not to further the message of conservative ideals.” I absolutely agree. When the messenger is esteemed more than the message itself, credibility is lost among the voting public.
Often times, there are political events that seem more like political frat parties where drinking with like-minded friends is the highlight of a political function. Well-known political voices that talk about principles and values to the American people often stagger into their hotel rooms at night inebriated by one too many. Yes, hypocrisy is often alive and well even in the conservative world but that’s politics, right?
There are writers and social media pundits who make a living by attacking the opposition. Their profiles pride themselves on being a liberal-hater and they often get a thumbs up or a retweet from their liberal-hating corners. Four letter words fly through tweets and replies and I often wonder have even we, as conservatives, lost the ability to be civil among those who vehemently disagree with us.
As I said, it’s a strange world I have found myself in but it’s not without its positives. I met some really great conservatives along the way who have a commitment to save this country. Patriots who understand that the message is more important than the messenger. I have met some humble people who feel a calling into the political world and who stand on conservative principles and on Godly values. Many of these people don’t have a huge following on Twitter or Facebook but simply feel called as citizens to change the direction of an overreaching government that has been gradually taking away the rights of their citizens. These are the people I want to write about.
As a political writer, I often feel like I need to find that story that will catapult my numbers and shares and make me a legitimate writer. Or, I think, if only, I could get an interview with that big name politician, then maybe I will no longer be a newbie in the political world. But, at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, I had an epiphany as I was talking to several people who were attending the event from all over the country. I want to write about the people who spend their hard earned money to get on a plane, pay to attend these functions because they truly care about the direction of this country. They are the real heroes in the political world.
From the grandmother from Pennsylvania who told me she is looking to vote for someone in the next presidential election who will “take a stand and fight for our constitution that gives us the right of religious freedom.” She’s ashamed of the progressive movement that is wiping the name of God from our schools and our government institutions. Then there’s the two 16 year olds who were volunteering their time at the summit who told me the important value for their future is “religious freedom and the importance of free speech in America.” This is where the real stories are because, in my mind, this is what politics is all about.
It’s so important not to lose perspective in the political world about what we do and why we do it. Our country is losing its foundation both in its Judeo-Christian principles, to its liberties and freedoms given to us through our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It’s a battle and whether you are a politician, pundit, radio host, or a writer like me, our purpose is to represent the conservative public who feel they have no voice.
So, as I continue to flounder in a political world where I often feel like an outcast and the new girl in town, I realize it’s important to have this newbie perspective. I’m glad I am slowly finding my way and perhaps bucking the system a bit amidst the pomp and circumstance of the celebrity driven political world. You won’t find me downing cocktails at the local bar after a day’s events. I won’t be posting selfies with political celebrities. And I probably won’t be contacting a media representative to get that exclusive interview with a political “rock star.” However, I might just sit down with you, the voting public, at the next event and be chatting it up about politics. After all, it’s about the voice of the people not the pundits, not the politicians, and certainly not about me.