A few days ago, Aaron Gardner wrote a moving and compelling diary about how it was the grace of God in his life that kept him from becoming a mass murderer.
It was moving because of its simplicity and its transparency.
On a political blog such as RedState, it takes great courage to disclose personal information allowing others to know about imperfections or weaknesses one may have in their life. After all, we spend a great deal of our time vetting, judging, criticizing and bemoaning the constant frustration and disgust we feel toward politicians who fail to meet up to our standards. Without realizing it, we begin to create a culture that hinders honest expression and/or confession of shortcomings and failures that we may be experiencing now or that we may have experienced in the past. This search for perfection leads us down many rabbit holes and leads to the impression that we believe only perfect people are qualified to be leaders or servants of the people.
In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. If most of us were truly honest, we would admit that it was the failures in our lives that taught us the most about integrity and enabled us to embrace true virtue.
Reading Aaron’s diary encouraged me to share a little more about my journey because I think it is important for the conservative movement and the Republican Party to understand, value and embrace people like Aaron and myself. Because — at this particular juncture in history — conservative political activists spend so much time defending religious integrity and beating back against those who want to destroy morality completely, I fear we come across as too harsh and insensitive toward human frailty. And this is how we inadvertently push people who need conservatism into the arms of the Democrat Party.
I’m saying all of this because I am trying to tie in how conservatism truly is compassionate. (And I don’t mean big government, nanny-state compassion.)
I also came from a broken home and it nearly devastated my life. Much like Aaron, it was God’s grace that kept me. But it was his mercy that saved me.
Because of the adversity and trials I had to endure growing up, I could never “qualify” to run for public office. Notice I didn’t say that I am not qualified, just that once the opposition research was completed, I would be unmercifully smeared and painted as an incompetent nutjob.
That’s okay. I’m not whining about it. And I don’t have any desire to run for office so I don’t have to worry about it.
But I would like to influence the changes we need to make in our party to alter the appearance that we don’t care about the downtrodden. I believe we do care. Much more than the Democrats. But as usual, our message is not getting out there and the Karl Roves of the party who think they are the ultimate judge of acceptable people, are perpetuating our image as the party that doesn’t care about others by harshly attacking and rejecting anyone who doesn’t fit their idea of the perfect politician.
This is hurting us as a party. And it is alienating many people that need us.
It was conservatism that truly enabled me to overcome the adversity in my life. And it took a conservative village to help straighten me out. It’s what I love about America and I plan on writing more about it in the future.
The Watercooler is always an open thread.