Cindy O'Laughlin -Count the Cost

April 22, 2024

Some things are very costly. Most of us consider our actions and words ahead of time (if we’re adults) because we know there can be a high cost. This week I witnessed someone who bravely stood up and spoke regardless of the cost to herself because she knew the stakes were high for others. She felt compelled to speak.

Politics can be a high-stakes game. In my opinion, many people feel the cost is too high to be honest so they try to have it both ways; safe and yet at the same time contend they are “leading.” This isn’t to say it is up to me to decide if a person truly believes something different than I do or if they have decided the cost is too high to speak against the crowd. Nobody knows exactly what is in another person’s mind.

For myself, when I am speaking against the status quo I try to do it in a way that is factual and nonconfrontational. Appealing to peoples’ common sense and using personal observation to demonstrate my point. The conversation doesn’t start unless I have spent time really studying an issue to determine if my belief is founded upon fact or a long held bias that may not be supported by fact. I ask others whose opinions I value and compare their conclusions to mine. All of this to say sometimes a long held belief turns out to be untrue and then you have a hard situation; do you acknowledge this and act upon it? In politics this can be magnified by 1000%. The cost can be exceedingly high and today’s world is filled with people who are angry, afraid, confrontational and unwilling to rationally engage on solutions. They feel they are seeing the world disintegrate right before their eyes, their hopes for the future are being destroyed, and they want this reversed. I feel this way also but there must be a rational plan that is well designed and can be implemented with the least amount of collateral damage to innocent people. Everything political involves a lot of innocent people who are “following the rules politicians set.” To change something CAN be very destructive for everyone caught up in the net and should only be done after careful thought and review.

This week the House passed a huge Senate education bill. The bill includes many things but to sum it up it gives parents more education choices for their children while at the same time also increasing monetary support for the traditional public schools. To be clear, it does not fund education choice at the expense of traditional schools. Private dollars will fund the choice. The bill required 82 votes for passage and it received…………82 votes!! Those who voted for it were under immense pressure to vote no. The education bureaucracy has more lobbyists than any special interest in Jefferson City and they employed every tactic to defeat the bill. They failed.

Traditionally Democrats vote with teachers’ unions and always vote against choice for parents. Republicans split over this but increasingly vote for school choice. This week three brave individuals voted their conscience and voted FOR the bill. One of those was Representative Marlene Terry. I included Representative Terry on one of my podcasts a couple of weeks ago (Hard Truth with Cindy O’Laughlin) and she explained her position. Marlene and I met when she asked for a meeting and she explained that she had read my columns for a while and had always thought she disagreed with my school choice position.

And then her grandson came home from school and told her he needed to go to a different school. He is an honor roll student and his current school at that time was not giving him the challenges he needed.

Describing this to me she related that this went against everything she had ever believed. She told me she thought she knew what went on in the schools but actually she didn’t. She found out that many of the things she’d heard from me and perhaps others turned out to be true. This forced her to change her position.

She stood up and spoke of her decision and it was a very compelling speech. You can access the speech here:

Marlene counted the cost and rather than do what was best for herself she did what she thought best for the students. She counted the cost and she was willing to face the consequences and do it anyway. I can’t tell you how incredibly brave this was. It is one thing to vote for something when most others are with you and it is quite another to step out and vote against your party’s position because you feel morally compelled to do so. In today’s world when the slightest disagreement can result in your being eviscerated on social media and in the halls of the capitol it is beyond brave to vote against your entire party. Two others joined her; Representatives Nickerson-Clark and Butz. They too stood for what they felt was right.

The only way to solve today’s issues is to be willing to count the cost and do it anyway when you feel it is the right thing to do. Every issue is a ticking time bomb that can explode in your face and to step out in front and actually lead is very hard. Marlene Terry has my undying admiration for being the leader she was elected to be. I know we do not agree on every issue but she is brave enough to question long held beliefs and work to find the solution. She is one in a million. I am hopeful others who witness this will find the strength to follow her example. #FocusonProblemsNotPolitics