I attended a large reception for new pro-life members of Congress and their spouses on Monday night. It was wonderful to see their enthusiasm for their new positions and their desire to change the world for the better. As CEO of the largest public policy women’s group in the nation that helped to support these candidates, I cannot wait to work with them to pass life-affirming legislation.
They remind me of another group of freshman coming into Congress ready to shrink government at any cost and to fight for morality and American values. I worry about these men and women, many of whom have young families. Although I don’t always get to say this, I have to admit that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was 100 percent right in Politico on November 16. I met Joe years ago when he came to Washington as a member of the House in the 1994 Republican revolution. He experienced first-hand many of the same challenges this folks will face. Joe’s admonition to them to “Protect Your Family” is spot on!
It is so cliché — but true! — that families are often broken under the strain of the demands of Congress. It may be tempting for the members to bow to political pressure to leave their families back in the state so they can “stay in touch with the district,” but it is downright foolish. The impact of living a life as a new congressman without his family in Washington, D.C., can be devastating. It is crucial to have the support of one’s spouse and family while attempting to change the nation for the better and dealing with all of the political pressure that comes with the position.
There is no better watchdog group than wives and children. Wives expect to know where their husbands have been and who they are with most of the time. Children don’t read their parent’s press releases. They just want their dad to pitch them a ball or their mom to help with homework. Wives don’t care how brilliant their husband’s salient points were in today’s floor debate. They are going to say, “Pick up your socks, and grab a gallon of milk on the way home.” Now that’s staying in touch with real America!
Newly elected congressmen and senators should leave all the political posturing behind and make sure to keep their families together during this important transitional time. Joe is right. To paraphrase a Biblical teaching, what does it prosper a man to gain the whole world but lose his family? My prayer is for both the new members, their spouses, and their children to remain close and remember why they came to Washington.