For over four years, politics was the main staple of my out-of-school life. When I was 12, I dedicated 40 hours a week to campaigns. At 14, I made 22,000 phone calls for Scott Walker and spent a lot of time on other local races. At 16, I did the exact same. In between, I began blogging on top conservative sites, getting interviewed and even speaking around the country at large conventions. For a short time, I thought the political life was the life for me. Now, at 17 years of age (just one year after speaking before Sarah Palin at CPAC 2014) I’ve been distancing myself from politics for two key reasons.
1.) The Hatred and Negativity: Over the first few years of being active, I thought the Democrats were the enemy. I disliked anyone who disagreed with me on the majority of issues. Why? Because politics had taught me to think that way. The media, politicians and other political groups teach us to constantly slash our opponents. That’s why there’s such a divide in this country. Liberals need to realize that conservatives aren’t always wrong. Conservatives need to realize that liberals aren’t always wrong. Most importantly, we need to stop destroying politicians who try to work at a compromise. It’s usually not a bad thing. If our nation’s activists and voters continue to be so narrow-minded, our country will keep falling flat on its face.
In addition, the infighting between political parties (especially Republicans) is outrageous. In fact, I’ve been told my writing is “too moderate” or “too conservative” to post on blogs.
On a more personal note, I’ve received death threats, attacks at my home and countless threats on social media just for my beliefs. It never stopped me from speaking out my opinions, and I’m also not looking for sympathy, but it shows how ignorant and nasty people will get at political opposition.
2.) Behind the Scenes, It’s Fake: During my two year stint on the national political scene, I worked with many large groups and organizations. Unfortunately, many of these groups began to reveal the abuse in politics to me for the first time. I saw some of the top organizations in this country immensely abuse their money, donors and staff. I eventually cut ties with each organization. I began to see the selfishness in politics as well within these groups. I saw leaders of organizations (and even politicians) do anything and everything they could to rise to the top. This included threats to other people who could stand in the way, as well as illegal monetary matters. The same thing happens inside Capitol Hill, something I know for a fact. Ever seen the TV show House of Cards? America’s political world is eerily like that show right now.
Again, on a more personal note, I began to see young conservatives battle it out for the “top spot” in the the youth political scene. To be a well known activist in today’s youth political arena, you don’t have to do any grassroots work. Currently, we see young conservatives on Fox News and other media outlets just because they’ve posted a “riveting” YouTube video or “captivating” graphic on social media. After their first major national news hit, these young conservatives attempt to gain money, stardom and even power in politics. For a while, admittedly, I was also trying to gain that prize. After my first interview on Fox News, I began to care less about my influence in the government and on elections, but more on my “stardom.” Unfortunately, there are few people (young or old) in the political arena who are active for the right reasons. For a short time, I thought that way too, until I realized how flawed my thinking was. I was becoming a different, more selfish person. Unfortunately, I’ve seen that happen with countless other activists.
In short, I believe that politics in the United States needs to change quickly. Hatred and negativity towards any opposition needs to be minimized dramatically. Additionally, we need to take a hard look at the organizations, activists and politicians who influence our government. Good people are being driven away from being activists, running for office and even voting. That shouldn’t happen.
As for me, I’m staying active locally, running a young Republican group and serving on the Outagamie County (Wisconsin) Republican Party Executive Board. Of course, I’m tweeting occasionally as well. Overall, the break from politics has been cleansing for me, my friends and family. I’m not taking a leave from politics because I am giving up the fight. I am taking a break because it was becoming a negative in my life (due to the reasons listed above).
Good people like Dana/Chris Loesch, Bethany Bowra, Caleb Bonham, Kristina Ribali, Aaron Gardner, Michael Withem, Ben Howe and other good folks (who have helped me immensely) are a rarity to find in politics. I was lucky enough to stumble upon them and be supported by them at every move. I will be forever grateful for them. Lastly, I want to thank my family, friends, and even a few fans who supported me through the years.
Politics is still a love of mine, and I hope I am back again someday.
Have Questions? Tweet me @BenjiBacker or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org