Representative Bachmann began serving her Minnesota district in 2007, but she has gained particular prominence in the last year because of her affiliation with the Tea Party Movement. She has received a lot of media attention and her political star seems to be on the rise. Like many, I strongly disagree with much of her politics and I’ve been frankly horrified by some of her polarizing rhetoric, which has often vilified Democrats. Her political positions seem to be based on misinformation at times, which is quite concerning for a number of reasons. And her political posture seems chronically angry and antagonistic, which is not productive or promotive of healthy discourse.
There is much I could write about Representative Bachmann to express my disagreement and disappointment with her use of the political arena. However, I am not going to dwell on the negative. Even if she vilifies those who think and/or vote like me, I’m not going to waste my time to do the same. Instead, I would like to flag some common ground I see.
First, I note that Representative Bachmann does appear to be a sincere Christ follower. In reading about her, I see that before she got into politics, her life choices seemed to revolve around her faith. Though I glean that she and I might not share a lot of common ground in our respective Christian theology, I understand her faith seems to have directed her choice of law school, her family composition, her career choices, and her community activism. Representative Bachmann has apparently been a life-long Lutheran. She attended a Christian law school, Oral Roberts University. Prior to her graduation, the law school became affiliated with Regent University, which was founded by Pat Robertson. Representative Bachmann and her husband have raised five kids and been foster parents to 23 children. They have also owned a Christian counseling business. Representative Bachmann was raised in a Democratic family, but as an undergraduate determined Republican values were more in line with her own. She has publicly indicated she believes God called her to run for Congress; she and her husband fasted for three days in their discernment of God’s calling.
Second, I appreciate that Representative Bachmann is a professional woman. Like me, she has earned a bachelor’s degree, a juris doctor and an LL.M. in tax. Also, like me, she worked in the area of tax law when she was a practicing lawyer. She is well-educated and has held her own in the professional world. She is now one of the few female political leaders of prominence in our country. She is a trailblazer in that sense. Although she herself may chafe at the label, some would consider Representative Bachmann a feminist for this reason.
Third, by all accounts, Representative Bachmann is a caring mother. She gave up her professional career in tax law to be a stay at home mother. It is impressive to raise five children. My husband and I have just two, and are always awed by parents who are outnumbered by their children. Raising a large family is not for the weak or passive; it is a difficult, on-going challenge. But of course it has great personal rewards.
I particularly admire the fact that Representative Bachmann has been a foster parent to so many children. Children tend to be among the most vulnerable in any society and children without parents are arguably the most vulnerable. The Bible tells us repeatedly to care for orphans. I applaud Representative Bachmann for taking that command seriously to make a home for children in foster care.
They are fat, they are sleek,
They also excel in deeds of wickedness;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper;
And they do not defend the rights of the poor.