The Politics of Weak Knees and Self-Deception

I don’t know about most people, but music has played an incremental role in my life. Whether it was playing drums behind my piano-playing and singing stepfather in my high school years, playing heavy-metal at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, or listening to everyone from Charlie Parker to Pantera through different stages in my life, I have always taken a liking to music. It has always been something I viewed as an expression of experiences in life.

A particular song I have always like is Bon Jovi’s Stick to Your Guns. It’s a song about a wanna-be cowboy, and the singer is telling him about the facts of being “the one”… the idea of often being alone, but so long as you “stick to your guns”, you aren’t going to be hurt.

When I look at those words, I often consider the meaning in a political nature. In the end, though, it could be considered on many different fronts in life.

I have been guilty of it; most probably have. You believe something and you believe it strongly; but when push comes to shove you’re more concerned with the acceptance of others than you are concerned with standing for what you believe in. Either you know you will be ridiculed for the idea or belief you have, or you are not sure that your idea/belief is worthy of discussion.

The issue is this: if you can’t be true, faithful, and honest with what you believe or think, what is it that you can be true and faithful towards?

I will put it politically and explain what I mean. Let’s say an elected representative believes with all his heart a tax increase shouldn’t happen. However, he is the only member of the elected body to believe this. When it comes time for the body to vote he has two decisions: vote his values and beliefs though he knows he is on the losing side and will be all alone, or go ahead and save the political capital for something that may make a difference.

I’m here to tell you that one time of foregoing your values can turn into 10 and 100 very quickly.

And what does that lead to? Well it leads to the ubiquitous “you” losing your moral compass over time.

Why am I talking about this? Even more, what am I talking about? Here it is: I’m really weary of our elected officials campaigning as conservatives and libertarians, talking about family values, limited government, and economic liberty. The fact is that most people who campaign on these ideas may believe them in concept, but when the rubber meets the road – when it is time to walk the walk – they are either going to fold or they are going to show their true colors.

Even further, if in fact you are one of the few people that are elected as a public servant and you are going to stick to your values in a particular issue, why are you not screaming from the top of the mountain to get people’s attention when something nefarious is going on – maybe then you wouldn’t have to always be alone?

You see, we have fine examples of this right here in Springfield, Missouri. We have people that I think truly believe they are conservatives and libertarians representing us, yet they are the same ones who have supported tax increases in the past and either support directly or through inaction social agendas that are anything but libertarian, conservative, or any combination thereof.

I suppose I have been guilty of something similar in the past: I represented a people and was very good at sticking to my guns at the dias, voting on issues, and in the public’s eye. However, at the same time I was preaching family values and personal responsibility, my personal life was a wreck. Since then I have asked for much forgiveness of others, and have had to find it in my heart to try and forgive myself. But the thing is that I first had to recognize the faults in my actions and the flaws in my character.

But, Nick! Isn’t it much more easy to rationalize what I’ve done rather than face my faults and flaws? Well, sure it is; after all, Al Capone truly believed he did nothing more than help his community as a benefactor.

So therein lies the question: will the conservative and libertarian candidate that turns soft after being elected due to fear of standing for what they supposedly believe in ever come to realizing what they have done and who they have become? If not, then there is no hope that things will change.

The frustration that I have, in the end, is the lip service paid – sure – but also the fact that very few citizens/voters are willing to call out the individuals who are servicing us with rhetoric that will never match their actions.

And this, all because we have either been lied to, the candidate-turned-elected official has lied to theirself, or because he is too weak kneed to stand for what he thinks is right.