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“Nationals October 2019

It’s okay to be complicated

| May 26, 2019, 01:00 PM

“It’s okay to be complicated,” is the lesson I learned, reading the introduction to “Frederick Douglass -Prophet of Freedom.”  This ambitious biography, written by Douglass enthusiast, David W. Blight, skillfully soars past the heroic image most people have of the Maryland abolitionist.  It captures the human element of Douglass, carving away the preconceived notions many people have of the man.  The work reverently honors his legacy, but reminds us all, that he too, was a human being.

I felt such a strong kinship with Douglass when I began to learn that behind the stoic image of the great orator, was a person who wrestled with confusion, self-doubt, and ongoing personal evolution.  Before he was a legendary figure who stood in the presence of world leaders, he was a passionate hothead who sometimes found himself at odds with his closest allies.  Douglass had to grow into the man he was, and the path to that greatness was replete with learning experiences, some of them painful.

Reading this biography challenged me to examine my own personal journey into local politics.  For me, it started with a spunky conservative blog, and culminated to an overly ambitious challenge to a powerful Democratic incumbent for a seat on the Anne Arundel County Council.  A sense of uncertainty constantly haunts me, as I try to find my place in this community.

I live with a persistent concern for the well-being of our challenged communities.  Destructive social policies leave their ugly marks in our county.  They are most potently felt in neighborhoods bereft of economic opportunity and crushed by a sense of hopelessness.  My desire to reach beyond traditional Republican networks in our community leave some conservatives wary of my motives, and cynical of my prospects as a Republican leader.  At times, this tension is strained further when my message conflicts with the messaging of traditional conservatism.  My desire to adjust the priorities in the party is sometimes misinterpreted as weakness on key issues or sparks a perception of disloyalty.

By contrast, I have in no uncertain terms expressed my fiercest commitment to conservative principles of restrained government, lighter tax burdens, and personal opportunity linked with responsibility.  I am vocal in my criticism of expanded education bureaucracy that limits parental access to alternatives for education.  I remain skeptical of ambitious plans to increase the tax burden on residents to solve local problems.  My vigilance against the rise of extreme radical leftism makes me reluctant to strike accords with some local organizations.  This is best demonstrated by my public hesitancy to commit to supporting the community group ACT.  I was sharply criticized for this decision, and still feel the impacts of that fateful gathering.

Charting such a nuanced path can be difficult at times.  People are uncomfortable with that which they cannot easily understand.  The political wild-card is not easily embraced and spends so much time struggling to make themselves understood.  As I learned from Frederick Douglass, we who choose this path may not immediately see the fruit of our labor.  Sometimes we wrestle with personality flaws that land us in hot water, or struggle with internal battles that few others see.  Such is the cost of being human.

I hope to encourage my fellow “complicated” figures.  I’ve met several of these people.  They don’t easily fit in any political mold.  Some lean to the left, and some lean to the right, each with nuances that define them.  Frederick Douglass reminds us that the path to changing the world is full of surprising twists and unexpected turns.  He also inspires us to consider that we could be the voices that one day transcend the status quo.  As we continue to evolve in our thinking, and mature in our methods, I invite us all to think about the role that we may play in guiding discussion in our community.  Let’s embrace who we are, even if we are “Complicated”.

–Torrey Snow, President, Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland

Category: OPINION, Post To FB

About the Author - Torrey Snow

Torrey Snow moved to Maryland in 2006, after graduating college with a degree in Biblical Studies.  He took a job at a local school, and immediately immersed himself into the community.  He worked primarily with families in local under-served communities. In May of 2007, he married Joanna, his wife of 11 years.  He transitioned careers to Corporate IT in 2008 and currently works as a Manager for a finance systems administration team. Torrey and Joanna have a daughter whom he “unashamedly dotes upon” and two “wonderfully rambunctious” sons.   As of May 2019, the family has another little one on the way.

After a 2018 bid for the County Council, Torrey transitioned his passion and energy into establishing a vibrant Maryland Chapter for the Frederick Douglass Foundation. The campaign opened numerous doors in the community, and helped him develop strong partnerships with the Maryland Republican Party.  By establishing an organization to engage with local communities, Torrey believes in the power of Douglass to inspire his community to support the strengthening of family units, encourage access to quality education, and support strong economic development.  Torrey can be reached at [email protected] or on his personal webpage,

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