Athena Pappas | Patriots Freedom
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
It’s cold and raining outside, but that doesn’t bother you. You’ve got a roaring fire going in the fireplace and you’re curled up on the sofa wearing your coziest pajamas, your warmest robe, and those plush slippers your son gave you for your birthday. There’s a cup of hot cocoa on the end table next to you, and your chihuahua is curled up in your lap. It’s a comfy night at home, just the way you like it. You deserve a little R&R time, a little peace and quiet.
In so many ways, that picture—cozy, comfortable, happy—is reminiscent of American conservatism in the 80s, 90s, and even parts of the 2000s. Didn’t we enjoy our time in the warmth of the fire as Reaganomics made the headlines? Weren’t we cozy in our easy chairs during the Bush Sr. years? Didn’t we smile and sigh as Billy Graham came and went from the White House? Why, even Desert Storm didn’t throw us off too much because we were all on the same team, fighting the same enemy. Us against them. America against the bad guys.
The majority of what we saw from Washington was comforting. Barbara Bush was adorable. We could almost picture her baking cookies with her grandkids. And we loved those family photos from Kennebunkport.
Sure, there were a few hoops to jump through during those weird Clinton/Lewinsky years, but we weren’t personally affected. Our First Amendment rights weren’t at risk. Bush the son got us through that horrible season of 9/11, but we convinced ourselves the craziness of the world would eventually calm down.
Then came Obama.
Read that sentence one more time.
Then came Obama.
And nothing—absolutely nothing—was ever the same again. Our days of comfy conservatism were immediately placed in the rear window. Suddenly, everything we said and did was wrong. Bad. Evil. The narrative shifted, not in a gentle, comfortable way, but in a jarring, “What in the world is going on here?” way. We hopped from infraction to infraction, unable to do anything right. And all because we were playing for the wrong team.
Suddenly, we were all racists. (What?)
Suddenly, we were all forced to comply with government healthcare mandates. (Since when?)
Suddenly, the great divide between our two major political parties became as wide as the Straits of Gibraltar. (What’s going on here?)
We were like kids in the deep end of the swimming pool, struggling to keep our lips and noses above water. We gasped for air and prayed for someone to throw us a life preserver.
Someone did. A well-to-do businessman descended the golden escalator of Trump Tower with a message on his lips: “Today I’d like to announce that I will be running for President of the United States.”
Enter Donald Trump.
From the moment he came on the scene, all was right with the world. We saw possibilities. Hope. A future. We released a collective sigh of relief when he miraculously took his seat in the Oval Office, as if we’d somehow dodged a Hillary-themed bullet.
Well, most of us. Some conservatives pulled out their “Never Trumper” signs and remained defiant. But even those who most opposed him were later pleased with his policies, so they jumped onboard the Trump train.
We watched in awe as he began to actually do what he said he would do. Wow! Did politicians really keep their word?
Oh, that’s right. . .Donald Trump wasn’t a politician.
Then, as we settled in at the fireplace with cups of cocoa in hand, the unthinkable happened: The Left declared war—on him and on us.
I suppose we should have expected it. We had already experienced a taste of their bitter herbs during the Obama years, after all. Had we only experienced the warm-up act? Was there more to come?
Ready to fight for our new leader, we tossed the coffee cups, flew off of the sofa, and went to work, ready to defend our fearless leader. Immediately, we were labeled.
“Wait, I’m a racist?”
“Wait, I’m a xenophobe?” (I’m going to have to look that word up!)
“Wait, I’m sexist? Really? That’s the craziest accusation yet!
“What do you mean I hate people of different genders? Do you know me at all?
On and on the accusations went. And we suffered attacks, as well: job losses, censorship, and even loss of friendships from any and all who disagreed with our choice of political candidate. Never mind the fact that we weren’t sitting in the Oval Office, ourselves. We were guilty by association.
Our own kiddos turned on us, our neighbors eyed our American flags with suspicion and fear, and our fellow parishioners at church were split down the middle on potential solutions to the problem.
And now, here we are, in 2021: Trump has been ousted. Biden’s the new hero of the hour, and conservatives—many still in shock—have settled back onto the sofa, coffee cups in hand.
Time to rise and shine, friends! This is one battle you won’t want to miss. For the sake of your children and grandchildren, it’s time to rise up.
Sitting in your pajamas won’t change the country. It won’t purchase freedom for that great-granddaughter. The days of comfy conservatism have frittered away. So, put down that cocoa, grab that proverbial sword and let’s get going. There are liberties we must defend!