“The Good, the Bad, and the Silly Putty”
Blog Entry # 11, “Eyes Wide Open” by Kristin Matheny, Co-Leader of the Broward Tea Party
I have two sons. My oldest, who is three and a half, is starting to really “come into his own”, he’s starting to ask really good questions. He’s just beginning to grasp concepts like “telling the truth” and “expressing emotions”, concepts that were completely foreign to him just four or five months ago.
Of course, when you are raising boys, you have to tread delicately when it comes to emotions. As a woman raised in a home where the girls outnumbered the boys (well…”boy” being my father), it’s been a learning process. Most of my friends growing up were boys and I always thought that I understood how boys “worked”. Girls, though I was surrounded by them, seemed to be an enigma to me. Their emotions were intense and often aggravating. As a result, I learned to be the type of person who “sucked it up”, who barely let my feelings show.
When I eventually got married and had two sons of my own, I found myself saying things to them like “tough it out” when they fell and scraped their knees, or “you’re okay, walk it off” if they bumped their heads. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hold them and rock them back and forth. I did. But it seemed to me that it just wasn’t in my nature, and therefore not in their natures, to allow them to cry.
The other night my oldest son, who might as well be a carbon “boy version” copy of me, asked me about being afraid. He’s been having bad dreams lately, and when he wakes up he’s not sure how to react.
“Well, if you wake up, and you see that everything is okay, and that you are safe in your bed, you can roll over and go to sleep. Or call for us and Daddy and I will make sure you are safe.”
He looked at me. “What if I cry?”
I was stunned. I realized that I’d told him to “suck it up” for so long that he wasn’t even sure when he was supposed to cry. “What IF you start crying?” I asked him.
He was quiet. “Sometimes I just cry when I’m scared.” He almost seemed penitent. I certainly never got mad at him when he cried. When a child cries, we try to soothe them, we try to make them stop. I hate seeing anyone cry, and I especially hate seeing my boys cry. But I instinctively tell them to “relax” and I tell them that “it’s okay”. Most of us do that, we walk a fine line between raising gentlemen and raising “pansies”.
I started really thinking about emotions after that, on a deeper level. I started thinking about all of the times that I’ve seen that infamous “emotional appeal” used against people like us, conservative people. It can be used to trick, deceive, and coerce. In that sense, as a society, we are emotional, vulnerable pansies. The Left has capitalized on that. We’ve become a country so emotionally dedicated to the messages that politicians deliver to us in these tightly-designed packages, wrought with irrational emotion, that the Left managed to takeover the government at almost every level. You could argue this began around 2006, but I would say it began much earlier. You’d better believe this was all smoke-and-mirrors. It didn’t matter what they actually DID about these heart-wrenching social issues, as long as the message was emotional enough to appeal to the hearts of those who were too angry, sad, or upset to understand the facts.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I see Republicans who are so afraid to be authentic with their emotions, who are so driven by the desire to capture precious votes from Democrats, that they’ve become laughing stocks. The ideas of Democrats are worthless and illogical, but at least they stick to their modes and their opinions don’t change. There is nothing but pure nonsense and foolishness…but there is consistency.
In an effort to “combat” the power that the Democrats have wielded over the last decade or so, the Republicans have become a party of ‘silly putty politicians”, willing to mold, bend, and stretch however necessary to get some votes and perhaps a moment or two of positive attention. Now, it seems, we’ve been left with a huge, mushy mess.
I had an acquaintance from college who I knew from the College Republicans Executive Board, whose name I won’t mention. He was a few years younger than me. He was very loud, very opinionated, somewhat immature. He certainly wasn’t popular, but he was defiantly conservative, and socially conservative. He often scolded more “Libertarian-leaning” Republicans like me for our differing views, never once seeing that we could work together, truly believing that his conservative views were the “only true conservative views”. He discussed his desire to run for office one day. (We all subsequently rolled our eyes.)
Fast forward ten or eleven years…he is a state representative. He lost a few elections in the beginning, but continuously moved around his home state until he found a district with an octogenarian state rep with health issues who was running unopposed. He barely eked out a win and he’s now up at the state capitol.
Here’s the issue, though. He’s switched his party several times, eventually deciding to run as a Democrat in order to “capture” the district he eventually won (which is heavily Democratic). When I tell you that this guy was a huge proponent of small government and the Constitution right up until he ran in this district, I mean it. He quickly buried those ideals (though he does claim to secretly support them in legislation). He played down his church affiliation and his Catholicism to appease those who may not favor his faith. And here’s the worst part: He was openly gay, came out after college. He’s completely hidden this fact and even went so far as to recently vote down a huge piece of legislation that would have made for LGBT housing allowances. His district, steeped in biblical rhetoric, would not have liked if he’d voted otherwise.
This guy is everything that makes me angry about politicians. He is everything I despise about so many RINOs and Republicans running for office.
Where the hell did our backbones go? Have we suppressed the truth and emotion SO much to counter the Left that we’ve become dishonest and crumbling shells of who we once were?
The Left stops at nothing to vilify politicians who have their hearts clear and their backbones very much intact. These are Conservatives who are not afraid to counter irrational Leftist emotional rhetoric with honest, straightforward ideas. They did let emotion seep into their words, and because of that, they’ve become our last (and perhaps our only) line of defense against the likes of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Hillary Clinton.
What I find frustrating is that these wishy-washy, “silly putty” Republicans are equally quick to point and laugh at people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, people who allowed their frustration to speak clearly through their actions. Their emotions are not devices used to appeal to vulnerable, empty-headed young people who voted for Democrats because they just couldn’t see through the haze, their emotions are real, and these emotions have made them vulnerable…even to members of their own party who lack the “cojones” to do the same.
We’ve managed to help the Democrats bring down many men and women who had such gumption. Sarah Palin. Herman Cain. Even in the media…how many outspoken Conservatives have been chased off of networks and radio stations? How many have been ostracized in Hollywood? Labelled as “crazy” (oh, what an easy and effective label to give someone who simply speaks the truth), Republicans instead force good politicians to “bend” and “sway” with the hope of gaining votes (see: Marco Rubio, Chris Christie). Even not-so-good, but powerful Republicans have just danced to the fiddles while “Rome burned around them”, or jumped ship like my old college buddy for self-promoting purposes, poster-children for gutlessness (see: Charlie Crist). How many times did we hear after the 2012 Election that “if Mitt Romney had just displayed the fire and frustration he had in a handful of candid interviews and in that very first glorious debate”, we could’ve been victorious? Instead, he was admittedly told by his handlers to “tone things down”, to “say what people wanted to hear”. To “be electable”.
Electable means “suppressed”. “Suppressed” brings you nothing. Who said that we weren’t angry too? Who thought that his repressed, hidden anger (which bubbled to the surface occasionally, but too rarely) wasn’t something that MOST Americans would’ve latched onto?
I’ve come to the conclusion that suppressing and hiding emotion does no good. If it’s used to pursue bad things, or to coerce or gain, it’s not authentic. But if one is honest with himself or herself, and one is angry or upset or frustrated- and their heart is clear, and their logic is solid- there is no stopping that person. That’s a person with a backbone. That’s a man or a woman I would vote for a million times over one who will say what will get him or her elected.
Who knows if either or my sons will run for office one day. Maybe so. Maybe not. But I’ll never tell them to “suck it up” again. If they are hurt, angry, or aggravated with something, no matter how trivial, I will demand that they express it in a healthy way. Anger and aggravation are powerful, powerful tools, and they can be used to promote action, positivity, and perhaps most importantly, HONESTY. It’s the only way to remain strong and formidable in the face of liberals. My sons should never express satisfaction with something that is truly unsatisfying. If they see wrong or harm in the world, they should take action to correct it, to make their world better.
I should do the same. Our politicians, too.
Perhaps we all should.