When did it get to be pro-family and conservative for politicians to abandon their wives and children hundreds of miles away while they galavant (my mom’s word) around Washington with adoring staff and interns? Hasn’t the cliché and nonetheless pathetic stories of high-flying Governors and Senators cheating on long-suffering political spouses taught us anything?
In an effort to tar opponents as being too “inside the beltway,” political strategists have made Congressional families part of the fodder. The recent political attacks on Members of Congress for moving their wives (or husbands) and children to Washington are ridiculous and, worse yet, dangerous. Just to name one such case, Jerry Moran has been beating up on Todd Tiahrt for bringing his wife and children to Washington back in the nineties instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in Kansas.
Women know that spouses and families are the anchor and counterweight to the ego-stroking madness that thrives in Washington. Too often, Governors and Congressional Members are left alone to the fawnings of staff and not made to face up daily to their own human frailty.
Spouses and children are the perfect antidote to “Potomac Fever.” They remind public servants in a very personal way not only of why they serve but also what they believe. Even the normal everyday banter of telling one’s husband to pick up his socks and help with the laundry or drop by the grocery is helpful. A child’s plea to help with homework or coach a little league game is much more likely to keep a representative in touch with constituents than leaving the family behind in the district would. A wife’s question about her husband’s schedule and companions will do more to foster accountability in government than a million watchdog groups.
Clearly, marital infidelity is not a new thing and will never completely vanish as the seamier side of Washington. However, shouldn’t conservatives be above the rest in supporting each other’s family decisions? In Todd’s case, it was not only the right decision for him, but it had ramifications that most of us can’t even fathom. The Tiahrts tragically lost a child. Although nothing can heal that pain aside from the supernatural balm of God’s love, they have said publicly that they are comforted that they made every moment count with him.
Now that is real life. Shame on us! Let’s stop holding up fake litmus tests to being pro-family and really be pro-family.