Wednesday evening, October 4th, the nation was introduced to Mike Pence.
As Hoosiers turned on their television, they breathed a prayer for our Governor who was about to debate Senator Tim Kaine. I didn’t realize it then, but America had not yet met the man who has governed Indiana…. The man my daughter knows as “Mike.”
As the debate began, within minutes we saw the familiar soft etches of our kind governor peppered in with a SPARK! He had come prepared with anticipation of the expected talking points and jeers of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He countered each one with grace and class. I chuckled at some uncomfortable moments during the debate where his face so clearly contained the look of, “What in the world did you just say Senator?!? I think you got your talking points scrambled a bit!” Yet just like the Mike we know, he just responded with facts and class…never shaken once. He didn’t sit back and take the punches, he simply answered the questions through the interruptions (70 as one news article reported) with the facts needed.
The news media was at a complete loss as to how they could best attack his incredible performance. Even Chris Matthews surrendered his attack and tried to hold the tingle in his leg to a low rumble. The Twitter world was stunned. They tried as hard as they could to make him into a hateful bigoted man. They were unsuccessful.
America had finally met the real Mike Pence.
I’ve known Mike since his days in Congress. It’s never been a secret that I’ve always had a deep admiration for him. It’s not always been roses, and I’ve not always agreed with every decision he has made such as the re-branding of Common Core and the RFRA fix. We have policy disagreements such as the funding of preschool. Those are real disagreements and I never want to paint a picture of policy perfection. Honestly I’ve never met a politician that I agreed with 100% of the time. It is just silliness to think there is perfect leader. As a staunch supporter and Conservative leader, it was often difficult to write the tough things I needed to write. It’s hard to hold the “good guys” accountable. It cost me dearly at some points. Relationships were sometimes strained with the incredible people who worked for him who also love him dearly!
However through each of those tough moments, Mike listened and responded graciously. Our relationship and support was not dependent upon complete agreement with the decisions he ultimately had to make. He read our emails and listened.
The anchor through many of those disagreements for me was the deep faith of Mike Pence. It was visible in the days traveling with him on the bus through the southern portions of Indiana how deep his faith was. Let me tell you, that bus never departed without Mike praying for safety, wisdom and courage. During one of the bus trips, I witnessed a moment between Mike and his staff where a tough call was to be made and he said, “we are going to do it the right way even if it is tough… Because it’s the right thing to do.” It was a private moment, but when my “unpolitical” husband witnessed it, he said, “Monica, that man is the real deal.”
Throughout his governorship, those moments were clear, and we saw them many times. It’s those times that I knew even when I disagreed with him, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, before he made a decision, he sought the face of God first.
It’s not widely known that when you walk into his office you will find his well worn Bible open on his desk to the passage that he read that morning, right next to the red phone where only one person has the number and can call him at any time… His wife Karen.
Behind the scenes.
It’s the moments not seen under the spotlight and camera that I hold close. As long as I draw breath, I will never forget the precious time I had with Mike, Karen and their son Michael at the Bishop farm before he took the stage to an event we were hosting for him just a few days before Christmas. I had the privilege to gather in that small farm office with the Pence family to pray over them and with them. Then for the governorship… and now for the 2nd highest office in the land. What an honor of a lifetime.
This is who Mike Pence is. He is the real deal.
He’s never hidden his faith even through massive pressure of the media and political advisers. My husband and I had the privilege to attend his inaugural events when he was elected as our governor. Every bit of that weekend displayed the faith of this family. One of the highlights for me was the Sunday morning worship service before he took the oath of office. It was beautiful worshiping with the leader of our state. He was just one of us with one audience. Our Creator.
After he took the oath of office, he went directly to his new office and privately hit his knees in prayer asking God to help him lead well.
I am so glad the world got to witness the Mike we know and love Wednesday. Even with interruptions and insults flying, he did not shy away from telling the world where he stands on the issues.
He could have.
He could’ve had a clean script that was vague and clean. He didn’t. He was transparent and unscripted. The darts the media throws shows a man we have never met that does not exist. His kindness to every Hoosier, no matter the background or belief system can’t even be denied by those who hold differing policy opinions.
This is why I will vote for Donald Trump.
He wasn’t my guy in the primary. In fact at one time, I was a #nevertrump person! He is not the candidate I would choose. However, I know the man he stands with. Mike Pence… I know his core and I know his faith. Choosing Mike to run with him was an incredibly wise decision and it gives me hope that he will also pick conservative judges. Are we guaranteed this? No, but the odds are on our side. We know what Hillary will do. Donald has surrounded himself with strong God fearing men. This gives me hope. I believe God can use anyone. Flaws and all. It is my prayer that Donald will see what is deeply embedded in Mike and lead with his compass. Ultimately, it is my prayer that Donald sees the incredible power of the Savior that lives in Mike and grabs a hold of it himself!
The faith and character of Mike Pence is real. I hope one day you get the chance to shake his hand and experience what so many of us Hoosiers have experienced. A kind, gracious, humble man who has a heart connected to his roots, the people of Indiana and this great nation. That is the Mike I know… That is the Mike I will be honored to not only vote for on November 8th, but commit to praying for, as he serves this country.
Lead well Governor Mike.