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Commentary: Boebert incident shows you're always under surveillance
Lauren Boebert/Getty Images

Commentary: Boebert incident shows you're always under surveillance

The top story last week was U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) misbehaving in a theater. In case you somehow haven’t heard, a Denver theater kicked her out of a live performance of “Beetlejuice” for singing too loudly, recording, vaping, and fooling around with her date.

Yes, that was the top story. Nothing else of importance was going on.

Unfortunately for Boebert, she committed the worst of all offenses: a woman having fun in public.

The surface of the Boebert story is pure tabloid fodder, but a real story lurks underneath the lurid surface: every move you make is being watched and recorded for future use.

Who among us has not gotten a little handsy in a dark theater? Well, say goodbye to that, because the cover of darkness is no protection these days. Every moment of Boebert’s silly escapades has been captured on video for all eternity: taking a pull off her vape, her date touching her chest. We even have footage of the couple departing the theater.

It’s incredible how we have wall-to-wall footage of Boebert acting like a teenager in public and no footage of Jeffrey Epstein hanging himself in a jail cell surrounded by cameras. We have no video of whoever left a baggie of cocaine in the White House. And still no Nashville shooter manifesto. Or a motive for Stephen Paddock’s shooting spree — remember that? Or Ghislaine Maxwell’s client list. I guess a handful of people still have some measure of privacy.

As for the rest of us, Boebert’s troubles are a stark reminder that we live in a panopticon in which there is no room for indiscretion, spontaneous fun, or foolishness. The very joy of experience has been drained from American life because we live in a surveillance state.

I’m just glad I’m not a teenage boy dating in this twisted era. No wonder movie theaters are struggling.

But, of course, it’s not just theaters. Your smartphone constantly tracks your location — as many January 6 participants can attest. Your smart TV tracks every interaction — my old Roku TV phoned home once a second. Why do you think TVs seem to be the only products getting cheaper?

Don’t let them use your virtue against you

Was Boebert’s behavior unbecoming of a member of Congress? The late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), dubbed by the press as “the Lion of the Senate,” all but murdered a woman. Retired Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), nearly equally revered in the mainstream, had a bordello operating from his home.

Yet somehow, these men are considered two of the most respected political leaders of the past five decades. Years after their scandals had passed, Bill Clinton said they were on “the right side of history.” Of course, President Clinton was no stranger to lurid political scandals, even in 1996. In terms of unstatesmanlike behavior, Boebert acting like she’s Forever 21 at a silly show seems relatively minor compared to taking advantage of an intern.

Some conservatives have been quick to denounce Boebert for her un-Christian and unladylike behavior.

But why? What do they hope to accomplish?

  • Repentance? In my experience, berating people for their bad behavior only makes them dig in their heels.
  • Publicly signaling how virtuous they are? To whom?
  • To distance themselves? Why? So people who already hate them might hate them slightly less?

Of course, the left has been having a ball with the story, and it only makes it more fun when “conservatives” rip each other apart. I hate to break it to you, but everyone on the left clutching their pearls over Boebert is full of it. They’re taking advantage of your virtue and good nature to trick you into helping take down an irritating political foe.

Many of the same people on the left acting stunned by Boebert’s behavior also have defended:

The people attacking Boebert aren’t doing so out of virtue or moral outrage, but because it weakens their enemies — i.e., you. If this were one of their own engaging in the same behavior, they’d call her “empowered,” say she’s “living her truth,” or, better still, say she’s “living her best life.”

Never forget that every last one of these people is a hypocrite. Why hand them the rope they’ll hang you with?

That said, I’m not here to condone Boebert’s behavior. But what should the proper Christian response be?

Three fingers pointed back at you

If you’re religious, let me ask you a question: Why are you worried about Lauren Boebert’s behavior when you should be focused on your behavior?

After all, our leaders reflect who we are as a people. If we want a better class of leadership, we must first be a better class of people.

I was tempted at first to lambaste Boebert for her antics. But I’ve been captivated recently by a quote from the late Fr. Seraphim Rose:

Don't criticize or judge other people — regard everyone else as an angel, justify their mistakes and weaknesses, and condemn only yourself as the worst sinner. This is step one of any kind of spiritual life.

Before I called out Boebert, I took a minute to stop and consider my sins. I have fooled around in theaters many times. When I vaped, I certainly did so in places I wasn’t supposed to, like airplanes and hospitals. I’ve recorded bits of live shows. I am certainly guilty of being too loud and singing poorly.

When we inevitably stumble, our enemies are quick to use our hypocrisy against us. We can — and should — promote virtue in the public sphere, but that should start first by acknowledging that we are deeply flawed in our own ways.

Instead of heaping more condemnation on Boebert’s head, pray for her, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and her four children.

And God forbid you act at all out of step in public. Because it’s not just God watching now.

This article was originally published by RETURN.

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