Although I’ve never ran for office or been involved in a campaign, all indications point to it being a rather emotionally draining experience. I’d imagine it to be particularly hard when you go from being the front runner to dropping out. It happened to Cain in a particularly humiliating manner.
Sometimes the best way to deal with humiliation is to poke fun at yourself and have a good laugh. It takes away from the punch of having your critics laughing at you when you’re standing there laughing with them. It tends to help that people generally like people who can laugh at themselves. It’s effective because it’s a display of the greatest of the seven virtues: humility.
There is understandably a lot of disdain for Colbert around here. After all, he mocks and satirizes conservatives. I’m not going to defend the guy. The thing about mockery and satire, however, is that they are only effective tools when (A) they resonate with popular perception and (B) the targets in question take themselves way too seriously.
I’m 30. I’m part of the younger generation that is old enough to be taken seriously. I’m going to be blunt and I’m going to take fire for this but we, as conservatives, oftentimes take ourselves way too seriously. You can accuse me of anything you like so long as you reflect on the fact that what Colbert does works as well as it does for a reason.
We will make fun of the left and are willing to push them to the margins but if they say even the smallest thing about us, even in good fun, we cry foul and complain about persecution. We can dish it out but we refuse to take it. Worse, we refuse to acknowledge our many shortcomings and instead choose to project them on the left while playing the part of saints. It used to be that the conservative response to criticism was to man up and take responsibility for our mistakes. Instead, our default has become to deny any and all accusations of even the slightest wrongdoing as being propaganda from some vast left wing conspiracy. It turns people off and it’s hurting our cause. When someone gives us a good-natured ribbing our our first response is to call that person a vicious liar, it might be that there is something in ourselves we need to reflect on.
The worst of the Seven Deadly Sins is Pride, for that is the sin of the devil and the sin from which all other sin proceeds. The greatest of the Seven Virtues is Humility, for it is in humility that one dies to one’s self and takes up Christ’s cross. It is humility that leads one to lay aside human reason to embrace the Reason of God to approach Christ as little children. It is in humility that one confesses one’s sins before God and man and repents of them.
Mockery and satire only hurt the proud, while those who are truly humble cannot be mocked or satirized. This is why Galatians 6:7 tells us that God will not be mocked — he could not be, no matter how much the devil might mock. The devil, on the other hand, is easily mocked and takes offense to even the smallest of slights.
The Colberts of the world would be ineffectual if we truly were as humble as Christ calls us to be. The insidious thing about pride is that it easily masquerades as humility. If one is offended at being told one is not humble, one is not humble, for the humble already know they are not as humble as they ought to be.
If America is a Christian nation (and it is) then the heart of America should be Christ and the role of conservativism is to preserve that. The cause of Christ is not advanced by what symbolic causes we embrace but rather in how we follow Christ in our daily lives. Our greatest sin as conservatives has been in playing the same game as the left, relying on human machinations and dirty politics instead of simply embracing the simplicity of Christ and allowing God to do the heavy lifting. This seems impractical and politically suicidal and yet it is exactly what Christ in the Gospels tells us to do. His Kingdom is not of this world and thus our concerns should not be for this world. Someone infinitely wiser than myself once said, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
I admit to not being much of a fan of Herman Cain over the course of the campaign. With that said, I think more of us can afford to poke fun at ourselves and that what he is doing is not bad. It is no sin to admit one’s shortcomings and failures — it’s among the highest of virtues. The conservative cause will only be saved and advanced by embracing the virtues Christ demands of us. God will do the hard part. But as long as we insist on playing the left’s game of vicious politicking, we will lose. This country is headed downhill. Such has nothing to do with “not fighting hard enough” or the fact that the left lies about us on a constant basis. Instead, the problem is that we have tried to fight too hard out of concern for this earthly realm when God has commanded us to focus on how we live our own lives and our entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom and to let Him take care of what happens in this world. The more we focus on how others live rather than ourselves and the more we fight to advance Christ’s cause here in this country, the more we will fail.
We can’t save our own souls and we can’t save our country. Only Christ can do that. Let God do His job and take no heed at those that mock. If we take offense to when we’re mocked and slandered we’re just not doing “it” right.
If regular viewers of both shows instead spent just one of those nights every week reading the great books of conservatism, there would never be another Democrat president and Comedy Central would be out of business.