Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jcunninghamwrites.
This past weekend, I got to see several presidential candidates live on stage and even get to meet with a few of them with a much smaller group than the nearly 1000 attendees of the annual RedState Gathering. Given the number of quality candidates in the Republican field, this election cycle is poised to be one that has a lot of focus and emphasis on ideas, which is great for the country as a whole.
One thing I would like to discuss, however, is what happens when we take this political stuff way too seriously. A modern-day icon of conservatism, Andrew Breitbart was hated by the Left and adored by the Right for his beliefs and the actions he took to further his cause. As I discussed in a recent post at RedState, I largely came into the political writing arena without ever having really witnessed Breitbart’s rise. However, many people who got to meet him and even know him well have become my friends in the meantime, and each one of them has something in common – like Breitbart, they have adopted the persona of the happy warrior.
The happy warrior is someone who can charge into a grim situation with a smile on his or her face, not letting the bleakness of a situation get him or her down. Far too often, we allow ourselves to get too wrapped up in politics, get too angry about what’s going on (or, in some cases, what isn’t going on), and we end up living miserably. People have become too slavishly devoted to their ideology and have rejected, often times, alternative views to the point where we get irrationally angry when they are brought up.
It is so important in this day and age – the age of social media and permanency on the Internet – to maintain a sense of humor. It’s important to not let ourselves get too wrapped up in ourselves and our “side.” My Twitter page (@JoePCunningham) is about 90% politics, sure. But the other 10% is me writing jokes, retweeting other jokes, or just chatting with the friends I’ve made through this whole process. I cannot imagine a more depressing life than being 100% devoted to politics. Not even politicians, consultants, and pundits do that.
Most importantly, it is key that we maintain faith in something other than ourselves and our opinions, and those of other people. Politics at times has become a golden calf at whose altar we worship rather than focusing our thanks and prayers toward God (or whatever deity you may believe in). If you choose to be invested in politics, I certainly don’t blame you. It’s interesting and compelling. However, never stop being a happy warrior as you fight for whatever cause you think is worth it. Life is too short to let yourself get too serious about something so fleeting as a political thought.