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.