- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It’s hard to say when this election got out of hand.

Some would argue it was the uproar in the Kentucky race for United States Senate, tarnished as it was with ridiculous accusations about Rand Paul’s religious beliefs and a godhead called “Aqua Buddha.”

In a cycle that included Christine O’Donnell’s regrettable “I’m not a witch,” Meg Whitman’s undocumented housekeeper, Nikki Diaz crying on the shoulder of serial woman-scorned-attorney Gloria Allred, and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III shredding a copy of the “cap-and-trade” bill with real bullets, there has been no shortage of memorable, if not teachable, moments.

I think the election reached its fever pitch the night we had a family dinner and my 13-year-old daughter explained to her grandparents that the problem in America is “the rent is too damn high.” Unfamiliar as they were with the illustrious Jimmy McMillan, late of the New York gubernatorial contest, Amy brought my laptop to the dining room to play (yet again) the Youtube.com video of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party’s mesmerizing candidate.

Too much election coverage in my house, or just a young teenager who wanted to get away with using the word “damn”? Hard to say.

One thing’s for sure: My teens aren’t the only ones who have been paying attention.

Only two years ago, America gave birth to its first “rock star” president. Barack Obama catapulted onto the political scene as a new and sensational celebrity. His concert-sized audiences and fainting fans, along with his politically “lite” message meant not to inform voters but to harness their emotions, captured the imagination of a new generation of the electorate.

It didn’t hurt that a starstruck media maintained then-candidate Obama’s uber-cool image: young, hip, biracial, brilliant and liberal.

Unfortunately, a cool president does not a job market make. And what sounded two years ago like a call to idealistic action now plays like the tired, overwrought lyrics of a Dashboard Confessional song. (If you’re over 40 or have no young people around the house, you’ll just have to Google it. Sorry.)

When last week the president whined to Jon Stewart, “Yes we can, but …” the nation’s youths exhaled a collective, cynical groan.

Welcome to politics, kids.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have stopped simply grumbling among ourselves while shelling out more and more in local, state and federal taxes, flushing our hard-earned dollars down the proverbial toilet of government spending.

We stopped simply huddling together at cocktail parties and youth sporting events and in the parking lot after church, talking incredulously about the latest leftist assault on our values and our sensibilities and our pocketbooks.

We realized it would do no good to just shake our heads in mutual disgust at stories about graphic sex education for kindergartners, and unions mandating membership for private child care providers, and college professors teaching their radical anti-American beliefs to our young adults.

The conventional wisdom is that this vote is a rejection of President Obama and the radical Democratic agenda. Overwhelmingly, the analysts say, we are sending the message that big government solutions such as national health care and “cap and trade” and federal bailouts are wrongheaded.

But this election cycle was more than that.

We traditional, conservative Americans started paying closer attention. We realized that despite the liberal media’s portrayal of us, we’re not alone, we’re not stupid, we’re not unsophisticated and we’re not victims. We’re patriots.

We’re not just rejecting the Obama agenda. We’re asserting the principles upon which our nation was founded — the constitutional framework that protects us from government intrusion and allows us to enjoy the blessings of liberty.

This election cycle has reminded us that we don’t want to be “fundamentally transformed.”

With such a vital lesson to learn, it’s been one continuous teachable moment around our house.

Contact Marybeth Hicks at marybeth@marybethhicks.com.