Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pre-Election Thoughts

Sorry to all the few of you who have possibly wondered when (if) I was ever going to post again. You'd think that a political junkie would be going at it like gangbusters during this election season. As I indicated earlier, there were a couple of factors in my "radio silence"--first, I explained a long time ago that I'm conservative (and my reasons for it). And that therefore, since Obama is liberal, I wouldn't be voting for him. Nothing about that has changed, and harping on it wouldn't do any good. Secondly, I decided a long time ago to not sink to the lowest level in this political season. I read political blogs daily, and so I've had steady diet of negativity. I just decided not to play. And finally, as I indicated earlier, I just haven't been that enthused by this election. I voted for McCain an hour ago, as he's the least-bad option in this race for someone of my world view. But even if he were to win, I'd only be moderately less unhappy with the outcome. Hard to chearlead when your enthusiasm level is so low.

All that said, with a little over 2 hours until the polls close, I guess I should predict something. For McCain to win, EVERYTHING has to break his way. I happen to think it'll be closer than expected, and I happen to think the polls overstate Obama's case. Still, I can't imagine McCain catching ALL the breaks. Therefore, I predict that Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States. (However, I do entertain a small fantasy of pulling it off, just for the sake of seeing the heads of my smug liberal friends explode!)

So, what does this mean in the long run? Well, for starters, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world, for either the USA or conservatism. There was hardly any scenario this year that looked good for any Republican. Assuming we don't see an Obama landslide (which I'm not expecting), this means that the best-financed candidate EVER, in a race against a 72-year-old guy not even liked by his own party, running at a time when everybody has a huge case of Bush fatigue, the economy helpfully crashes, foreign policy recedes from the headlines, and the news media gives every possible advantage, can just BARELY pull off a win by pretending to be a center-right moderate. This country is a center-right country, period. That's not likley to change soon.

Secondly, despite all the hype to the contrary, this is NOT the "most important election of our time." Indeed, if I could have only had one, I prefer the victory 4 years ago to now. Had Kerry prevailed in 2004, we would have certainly lost the Iraq war and two conservative Supreme Court Justices would have been replaced by liberals (which also means that the Heller case would almost certainly have gone the other way and the 2nd amendment would already have been gutted, as just one example). Now, the war is all-but won, and the next two Supremes to retire will come from the left side (Stephens and Ginsburg). Assuming Scalia eats his Wheaties, we're looking at living to fight another day, in more ways than one.

I also don't think Obama will be as able to implement a far-left vision as some fear. You may remember Clinton coming to office with a very similar house and senate to what we're likely to have this year, back in 1992. He bit off more than he could chew, and 2 years later, the "Contract With America" put the clamps on him. I think Obama is a smart enough guy to try to avoid that outcome. At least I hope he's that smart. If he tries to govern as the same guy he acted like in the debates, that'll be fine. If he goes hard left, the voters will wise up. As I wrote earlier, it's still basically a center-right country.

One more note about the election. It's a great country we've got. And it's awesome that we, the people, get to choose our leaders. The system isn't perfect, and sometimes we get results I would not prefer. But I respect the system. If the people want this, then that's fine with me. I voted, fair and square, and if I lose, that's OK. (And conversely, if my side happens to pull the upset, I sure hope it doesn't provoke stupidity from the other side!)

Now the waiting begins. I'll be up late watching the polls close, and of course I'll be interested in the outcome. But I have been reminded again this week how little this really matters compared to the big stuff. Tomorrow I will attend the funeral of a young man I coached, one of the all-around best kids I've worked with in 15 years. That is REALLY important. As C.S. Lewis said a long time ago, kingdoms, nations, empires (and presidencies) are temporary. People, made in the image of God, live forever in eternity. Even as we pick a "leader of the free world" in tumultuous times, I prefer to spend the bulk of my energy on what lasts forever.


bekster said...

I share your sentiments. As this thing has been drawing to a close for these past few weeks, my thoughts constantly have been coming back to "God is in control." We shouldn't rely on the government for health and wealth; we should rely on God. Regardless of who wins, God's will will be done. We might cringe a lot and say, "Oh, God, are you sure?", but it will be okay. In fact, as long as the faithful are still faithful, everything will happen exactly the way it needs to happen.

This election process has been very interesting for me, and it has given me reason to consider why I would vote for one candidate over another. I knew I was going to go for the conservative guy, but I still wanted a better reason than that I always vote Republican. Once I was struck with the thought of how God factors into all of this (Him being the one to supply all of our needs), the only thing of true importance left to me was moral duty. If we're concerned about health care, taxes, or even the war, those are all things that God can handle. The only thing--and when I say "only thing" I am not negating personal or governmental responsibility to make right decisions about the aforementioned things--that we have to do is to uphold what we know is right. The number one issue for me in this election, knowing that God will take care of the rest, is abortion. My vote this afternoon was a vote to try to protect innocent humans from premature and wrongful death. This is an issue that has actual victims if not resolved in the proper way, so I could not in good conscience vote for someone who would leave a door open for what I consider to be a great crime. (BTW, I'm not trying to open the can of worms on this subject, just trying to declare what is valuable to me when it comes to voting.)

Anyway, I am very interested to know the outcome of this election, but, like you, I am not worried, even though I do think--although I'm still hoping for the opposite--that Obama will win.

Pete said...

Well said, Larry. It's great to have your perspective shed a little light in this gloom.

I just hope that he doesn't have (or acquire) the political firepower to overturn Roe v. Wade.

well, i'm off to bed. Tomorrow, we'll have a new president. I just hope people choose right!

Pete said...

Got any post election thoughts?

mnpolutta said...

I agree with you, Larry. I am deeply mourning that Obama won. I know God IS in control. He is Lord of lords and King of Kings. I also have considered that the Israelites WANTED a king...God warned them what would happen if they had a king...but they continued to whine and beg for one anyway. Of course, God gave them what they wanted and the Israelites had a lot of really bad kings who "did evil in the eyes of the Lord." The nation of Israel endured a lot of hardship because they got what they wanted. Now, I know that the USA is not God's chosen country, but we ("we" as a country) may very well have received what we wanted. I could go on, but I must go for now.

Pete said...

It has been reported that Obama got 96% of the "black vote." The problem here: I know that 96% of the "black voters" do NOT agree with his moral stand nor his approach to many issues. I believe that he received that level of commitment based on a skin-color issue. I know that many of my black friends are VERY pro-life.

It is sad that we cannot be blind to his appearance. I believe I had heard it said that FDR would not have won if he had campaigned during the TV era since he could not stand and thus would have communicated weakness... JFK won because he was better looking.

bekster said...

I agree with all of that and I also wish that people would vote for what they REALLY believe in instead of simply because of ethnicity...

BUT, I do think it is good that Obama didn't NOT win just because he is black. That's something, anyway.

Any authority he has, he has because God has given it to him (yes, just like with Saul, or Caesar, or whomever). This is God's will (I believe that Saul as king was also God's will, if not directly to bring about pleasantries for the people, then to prove a point or to set up the situation for good later), whether we understand it or not now.