The subject of my inaugural “Twitter Personality”profile was someone I had not yet met in person, Brittany Cohan. She proved, however, to be a fabulous choice. The first of the previous two statements is also true for this week’s “Twitter Personality”…and I have confidence that full evidence of the second will also be borne out in due course!
Molly Teichman and I were both at CPAC this last year, but were never introduced. I started following her on Twitter while CPAC was in progress after noticing that we had a mutual friend. If there is one word that sums up the way Molly projects via her Tweets, it would be “vivid.” Or “ALIVE.” There is a constant joy that transmits through what she communicates that is simply radiant and highly compelling. She draws us in, effortlessly and energetically, to the orbit of her small town life, where, day in and day out, she occupies her time raising three kids and being a supportive wife to her attorney husband, Brent, while actively involved in their mid-sized Missouri town.
Molly talks a lot of politics, but it is always so practical…just as you will glimpse in her answers to this week’s questions. Theory, she can handle, but she is at her best when engaging the broad impact of today’s government policies on life as we actually live it, with those whom we love the most. Molly’s Twitter handle, @Mommentator, is no idle moniker; it so aptly describes her perspective.
Though Molly and I have not yet met, I had a hunch I would enjoy this interview…a premonition that proved consummately accurate. Molly’s wisdom belies her youth…and she serves it up with such vigor and zip! This is a woman of deep integrity…faithful to God, devoted to her family and friends and dedicated to the ennobling of her country.
If you don’t follow our @Mommentator, you’re missing out! Let’s push those numbers up over 4,700; she’s within easy reach, as we go to publication.
10 Questions for Molly Teichman
1. When did you first know that you were a conservative and how do you define the term?
I always knew I was conservative! My parents were of the mind that politics were not to be discussed, although they demonstrated a conservative lifestyle. But I could feel a nagging (call it conviction) for the conservative viewpoint.
However, as a child, I was prone to harass my mother, always questioning her point of view or her Oprah-television-program-watching. I was a high school and college debater, so I was taught to argue both points of view, convincingly so. It wasn’t until after I got out of that stage that I decided to spend time reflecting on my conviction, naming it and embracing it. I’d say I was probably 22 years old. I began to pray for God to care for my path and lead the way. It took some years to get the answer.
The term Conservative means, to me: A person who depends on self-reliance and self-sufficiency in order to provide for their basic needs, asking of government only the protection of their well-being during life’s journey.
More importantly, what it does not mean is skewing “protection” to mean “common good,” wherein the individual hands the reigns to government control, benefiting a pluralistic society.
2. Tell us a little bit about your background: where you grew up, went to school, etc.
I was born in Jefferson City, Missouri. My parents divorced when I was small, so my first memories were of two homes with very different lifestyles. My mother was a nurse, with a secure and warm family. My father worked for the Missouri House of Representatives in the print shop.
He, like me, was an only child from a small family with odd tendencies.
My mother married again, moving us to Michigan, because her new husband was doing his internship and residency in Internal Medicine. After 4 years outside Detroit, we moved back to Missouri to a small college town where my step-father began his career. I went to Warrensburg High School and there met my husband, Brent Teichman, who had moved to Warrensburg, just prior to beginning his junior year of high school. I went on to debate at Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) and the University of Central Missouri (UCM), receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Speech Communication. After college, Brent and I got married and began our family while he was in law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After he graduated in 2001, he opened his own private law firm in Odessa, Missouri, and we have raised our children here ever since.
3. You and Brent are a relative rarity in the conservative Twitterverse; a husband/wife team who both tweet often! You’ve shared where you and Brent met. Tell us a little more about how it happened and what attracted you to each other?
Brent’s family moved to Warrensburg when I was a sophomore and he was a junior. As the “new kid”, he was instantly an interesting phenomenon. He spent most of his first year in school soaking that up – and by that, I mean dating every girlfriend of mine I can think of.
The following summer, I was out “cruising” with my friends when we stopped to get gas. He was hanging with some football buddies outside the real estate office across the street. He yelled, “When are you gonna go out with me?” (I couldn’t hear him, and he repeated this a few times.) I just laughed. He said, “Come over here.” Well, I’m sure you who know me are fully aware that I would not and, indeed, *did not* go over there.
Later, after driving around endlessly, but finally finding ourselves in the same location, he asked again and my reply was simply, “Call me.”
He did and we had a great date. He had just gotten a piranha so we rented the old 70’s movie, “Piranha,” and went to dinner. He never called again.
As luck would have it, we had classes together when school started. “Honors Contemporary Issues,” to be exact. On Fridays, we always watched “The McLaughlin Group” in that class, and this was when he chose to ask, “Why didn’t you call me?” I laughed again, “I don’t call boys.” And so we went back and forth for several weeks until we decided that we lived close enough to take a “walk” together, without either one having to call the other. We dated throughout the year and some of the next, when he was in college. We always remained friends, but didn’t get serious until after school was over.
Brent was attractive to me because he is so very steady, but varied. Brent was a football player, was on the forensics team and also starred as the lead in every musical. (He is a beautiful singer.) I’ll never forget how he’d walk into high school with his “Bush/Quayle” button on his lapel, or how he’d wear those heinous “Rush Limbaugh” ties to college…yeah, I said COLLEGE classes. I would roll in with sweats and ask for a pen from my neighbor. Brent’s convictions are strong, unyielding and interesting. I knew I’d never tire of his antics.
4. What are your thoughts on conservative parenting in today’s culture?
My friend Jenny Erikson once tweeted this quote: “A child, like your stomach, doesn’t need all you can afford to give it. ~Frank A. Clark”. It is now on my blog permanently. I think it sums it up nicely. As the generations have worked to provide a better lifestyle for their kids than they have themselves (and honorably so, in most respects), we’ve overextended this concept and ruined ourselves. Adversity creates character. Compromise and decision-making are the only way to test a child. Is it an example of how too much “GOOD” can be bad? I think so.
I think politics are an open topic of conversation for children. We teach, more obviously, by our actions than by any statements which we profess. More specifically, we teach the following:
- You can’t spend more than you have in your pocketbook
- You have to balance what you “want” with what you “need”
- You must respect others’ points of view but defend your own with facts and conviction
Are these not *exactly* what the Tea Party has risen to profess? What better classroom for children than the current political landscape to illustrate how these topics make (or break) their lifestyle as they grow into their own person?
My children, Jackson (9), Emma (7) and Lillianne (4) know they have responsibilities, and when they fail, they will have to pick up the slack. NO other person is responsible for them, even at their young ages, when it comes to their responsibilities. And the responsibilities grow with time, adding one-by-one, as their maturity can balance them. And by the time my batch is ready to go into the world, though I love them dearly, they have only God to guide them – for they are His, after all. Anything less than this is a breach of contract, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t really want God coming back on me for failing to care for his people.
5. You Tweet, blog, podcast and are a key member of the Smart Girl Politics nucleus. Inquiring minds want to know how you manage it all successfully?
I own my interests. They don’t own me. I blog when I want to. I follow through on my commitments, but am simultaneously not afraid to cancel any of them, based on my family’s schedule. I’m not watching Google stats. I’m here because I have always found a path and as long as I’m supporting the cause and still speaking my own truth, I have no stress with it.
Smart Girl Politics is an awesome demonstration of being actively involved but allowing women to be good mothers/wives. I work with Teri Christoph on the Smart Girl Nation podcast. While we constantly have to juggle our schedules, we can quickly get a status update on g-chat, figure out when to get together, and when to take a break. Being mentioned any time with the Smart Girls is a sincere compliment.
Technology is a partner I’m naturally curious about. I began to blog only to develop my writing. I decided I’d enjoy writing most about my passion, which is politics. As it is, it benefits my local community, the Republican campaigns in my area, and my friendships across the nation… I feel like I’m a blind woman walking down a long road. But I believe it was laid there intentionally for me, so I trust I’m where I’m supposed to be.
6. Who are 3 of your heroes and 3 of your nemeses?
A) Dana Perino – smart, driven, articulate, lady-like
B) George W. Bush – Bottom line with GW — he works from his own conviction and makes no excuses
C) Chris Christie – That guy says exactly what I’m thinking
I would trip, in public:
A) Nancy Pelosi (a given) – never has hatred for an opposing viewpoint been better demonstrated than by this small-minded, religious-bashing “leader” of the Left
B) Marc Lamont Hill – I can’t stand people who intentionally debate issues with circular logic and fast talk. He sits comfortably in the arms of his “intellectually” bankrupt friends, who are quite impressed with themselves for making up new “facts”
C) Keith Olbermann – 911 ™ — search this on YouTube, watch it, weep for your country and then start a petition to send him to a deserted island. I could hardly speak for days after this incoherently insane tirade.
7. What are some of your favorites in life: books, movies, musical artists, TV shows, vacation spots, hobbies…and other miscellaneous causes of joy?
Former dancer – my girls dance, too. I love to see their joy and determination in mastering a talent.
My son is a mama’s boy – he likes to cuddle and talk.
I love to read. When I get away from politics, I like the true and poignant truths demonstrated in Elizabeth Berg’s fiction.
I like to garden and cook. I’m no artist, but everyone has something in them that is artistic. This is mine. I have an herb garden and experiment with different foods all the time.
I like all kinds of music and movies; however, I don’t like to clutter up my mind with the personalities of the artists. I find it all rather inconsequential.
I like the sun… the beach is good. Mountains aren’t bad, either, but I prefer small doses of fresh powder and skis.
Long live #sgpsnuggieclub and may #Thune2012 become reality.
8. What has led you and your family to locate and remain in central Missouri?
Brent grew up on a pig farm outside Lexington, Missouri, which is just 45 minutes from Warrensburg where my family settled. His father decided he wasn’t going to stay there his whole life like the generations before and began a series of entrepreneurial experiments. One led him to Warrensburg, where Brent and I met.
Brent and I chose to stay in Missouri because, after taking the Missouri Bar Exam, he just wanted to get to work. We live equidistant between the Lexington farm and my parents. We chose this place because, when we did the market research, there were few attorneys here and we knew he’d have a better chance at being successful. That was 9 years ago.
We dream of moving. We aren’t exactly wired that way. I am not sure when it will happen, but I’m convinced that we will relocate… I’m still waiting for that answer.
9. Though we haven’t met yet, I’ve followed you and your work ever since CPAC; I remember that because I followed you then at the behest of our mutual friend, Sarah Peppel. You are a very animated and passionate activist. What worldview informs that?
It’s always interesting to see yourself through someone else’s lens. Scary sometimes? Maybe.
I am a Christian…who cusses occasionally. Hmm…I still contemplate that. Oh, and I like gin and tonic; however, I oppose both drunkenness and unruly behavior.
But here’s the deal with loving Jesus: we follow by faith. In faith, you trust the teaching or truth of Jesus because you have reliance that it will deliver you. I find, in the current conflict between Right and Left, that most conservatives have this notion, whether they profess to be a Christian or not. The Left is lost to this notion, though they may be Christians.
They cannot wrap their brain around the idea that Christians *are not* judging them, but when asked, they have been *called* (which, to Christians, is like hearing Jesus whisper in their very ear) to speak up, especially when asked. How then, in this intimate moment of conviction, can the Left denigrate the ideas of Christians, yet herald the rights of other religious groups?
Government should be asking us for answers…it is, after all, OF us, BY us, FOR us. So, while I’m honest in celebrating 20 years of commitment between a loving couple of gay men…they must know something about respect for one another that many couples can’t figure out…I still know that God frowns on the union. So, when it comes to making policy, and they’re asking my opinion, I’m going to point it out. I’m not going to hide my head in the sand because a secular worldview tells me that I’m a bigot. I know that my reliance on this truth will deliver me. I can’t live in the short-term bickering on this planet.
I also believe in listening and respect. I am currently in disgust at the Right, for wanting to kick out Karl Rove for disagreement. I worry about whether or not we are ready for the big job which faces us after November. This kind of inside bickering is not a demonstration of leadership qualities. I even *follow* Democrats and respectfully disagree with them on Twitter – it’s shocking, but works in the few instances when you can find a Democrat who demonstrates respect in return.
God is the single Giver of all blessings. Until we get him back in our State Houses and in our daily dealings, we will continue to be in His shadow. We continue to be rich in blessings, despite being outside His Grace. How much greater would we all prosper if we were within the full glory of His face?
10. What do you see as your present urgent task, as well as your ongoing role in the conservative movement over the next decade?
First, I must deliver 3 strong, morally convicted children into the next wave of activists that will profess their ideas on their campuses, in their jobs and to their own children. I owe that to my community, my country.
Secondly, I will volunteer for campaigns on my local level and sit in positions of leadership. I will continue to educate others that the “frustration” they feel in government can be easily overcome if they’d shift the power from federal to state and local government. Here, in the “drilled down” environment, you can affect change.
Third, I will pray. And I will go when called. I never know where. But I will.