I have a son. He was born on Friday, which is when I normally write my weekly article.
At first, I thought I would just skip writing this week given how busy and tired I am, and then I thought it might be nice to post on the New Guards Facebook page the reason why I wouldn’t be writing. But as mommy and baby sleep, I thought I would type a simple, admittedly ironic, message: log off and take a break from politics.
First let me tell you what I don’t mean by that. I don’t mean you should totally unplug and isolate yourself from current events. I don’t mean that you should be apathetic to the pressing controversies, scandals, and evils plaguing our nation. I don’t mean that our political climate is not dire and that the threats to our fundamental principles are not serious and imminent.
What I do mean is that too often I find myself on Twitter when I should be prioritizing my family with my preciously limited free time. Most of us are not nearly as influential as we like to think we are, and the desire (or perhaps need) for us to become that influential is not so urgent. I would not single-handedly jeopardize the future of America if I played with my daughter instead of listening to every single podcast I enjoy every single day.
There are certain principles I will fight for passionately and resolutely until the end of my life. But they will probably face no significant harm if I spend one less hour tweeting, reading, or commenting than I currently do. Twitter can wait, Aristotle can wait, and my politically ignorant friends and relatives can wait. But my daughter is a year and a half old, and she has a hard time waiting. Not only that, but I would feel much worse missing out on fleeting moments with her than I would missing a news cycle or two.
Still, one of the reasons I stand for what I believe in is to make a better world for my children — and I intend to continue in that effort. Both are worthy goals. So that means prioritizing better and honestly evaluating what is worth my time. Maybe law school, a political blog, and three or four snarky tweets a day are enough for right now. A handful of additional followers won’t get me where I need to go, especially considering the cost.
But more importantly, prioritizing my family isn’t vital in spite of political turbulence — very often, it’s the solution. Every political issue related to broken homes could be solved by prioritizing the family. I learned to treasure the Constitution in my home. I learned to treat people with respect in my home. And I learned to disagree civilly and articulate my views in my home. No professor, pundit, or politician ever taught me something about morality that I hadn’t already learned at home.
Incidentally, much of the same could be said if I substituted home and family for church and gospel. The point is that we tend to elevate politics as a means of bettering our cultural and social institutions, and that’s completely backwards. Politics is broken in large part because we’ve made it more important than family and faith. Whether we’re talking about whited sepulchres or motes and beams, the greatest hope for our country is to find the truth at home and bring it to politics, not the other way around.
If you, like me, have a tendency to lose sight of that, then I repeat, as much for me as for you: log off and take a break from politics. There’s bound to be something more helpful that you could do.