So it came to pass that on that fateful day in November, the year of Our Lord 2008, the American people chose as the President of the United States a man destined for failure (more on this below). He ran on a platform of No Platform; a campaign of No Promises; a message of Hope and Change. And he won. And the expectations for him are not those that a human being can meet, nevermind just an inexperienced politico from the Chicago machine.
Like many conservatives, I have spent the last day and a half in a sort of a daze. Apart from the justifiable celebration that America has finally moved on from the 20th century by electing a black man to the highest office in the land (which gave me undeniable pride), there was not much reason for celebration for those of us on the Right.
Yet, this evening, today, I am slowly thawing from shock.
And I find that I am able to smile.
Rather than anger, I feel… pity. Yes indeed. I feel sorry for the ‘victors’ on the Left who are still deep in their revels. And I find myself trying to suppress feelings of anticipatory schadenfreude.
Oh the wailing and the gnashing of teeth that will emerge from the Left when they realize that The One is actually not a god but a human being, and a not very honest one at that. When they realize that all of their problems will not disappear because Obama has taken the office, what profound disappointment and disillusionment await them? When the anti-war crowd learns that Obama Administration will pursue four more years of failed Bush policies in Iraq and elsewhere, what sort of heartrending pain will they feel? When the free lunch crowd comes to realize that not even Obama can overturn the laws of the marketplace, what sort of wailing will we hear?
Sure, the media will cover for him, as they have from the very start of his public career. But even that has limitations. Americans, both Left and Right, will not believe that the Moon is made of Stilton simply because Tom Brokaw and Chris Matthews tell them it is. At some point, the truth will come out.
So what I find this evening is that faith endures. Hope may be a thing with feathers that so entrances the Left, but Faith, that blind, illogical thing intellectuals fear so much, is a rock in a stormy sea. It endures.
I had faith in the American people that they are not fundamentally socialist. That faith has been rewarded in a way, and betrayed in a bigger way. But I choose to see most of those who cast a vote for Obama as victims of the Obama Bamboozle Machine, rather than as willing fellow travelers on the Marxist road. Once they realize what it is that they have actually bought on November 4th, I suspect the buyer’s remorse will be strong and fierce.
And perversely, this electoral defeat renews my faith in conservative — that is, True Liberal — principles. This was no rejection of the fundamental tenets of individual liberty, free market capitalism, and traditional values. If anything, this election was a reaffirmation of all of those things. That Obama had to straight up lie and invent a fake identity in order to win is evidence that Americans are fundamentally conservative.
Combine the effect of the total domination of the Federal government by the Democratic Party — and one that is rather different from the moderate triangulating Democrats of the Clinton era, and one that is nothing like the older Democrats of JFK, Scoop Jackson, and even LBJ — with the unbelievable expectations of the Obama Administration by all of his core supporters, and I have to conclude that the Obama Machine will overstep its bounds. They cannot help themselves. They will, at last, reveal themselves.
I have faith that we True Liberals will rediscover our way. I have faith that the Republican Party will return to its conservative roots. I have faith that many of us will rediscover that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. I have faith that we will purge our ranks of those more interested in pork than principle. I have faith that we will replace the corrupt leaders of our party with True Liberals, rock-solid conservatives, who can explain and defend the principles of smaller, less intrusive government, support for free market capitalism, and a robust military as the best defense in a dangerous world. I have faith that those elected officials who are squishy wanna-be socialists will be eased out, pushed out, or forced out.
And once we have rediscovered our soul, and have recommitted ourselves to the Long War of standing up for our eternal values, I have faith that the American people will recognize that Republicans are the party of freedom, progress, and prosperity.
On Election Night, I read this entry by Lisa Schiffren over at The Corner, and have found it to be comforting:
So from me you get Rudyard Kipling, explaining here why, even if we lose today, even if our worst fears of impending socialism and apocalyptic doom descend upon the land of the free, the eternal realities of life will bring us back to basics.
Then she gave us the poem, Gods of the Copybook Headings, which I excerpt here:
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
My friends, faith endures.
Because our principles are not built on hopes and dreams, but on twenty thousand years of human history. Our beliefs are not figments of a philosopher’s sophistication, but the collected wisdom of a hundred generations of men and women who made mistake after mistake after mistake, and passed down that hard-won knowledge of how to survive and thrive in the real world we live in, instead of the dreamworld of the philosophers.
We have work ahead of us, to be sure. I am rededicating myself to settle in for the Long War against the foolishness that is communitarianism by whatever name it is called. But let us keep our heads up, our prayers in our hearts, and our ammunition dry. We have work to do. We have fights to win. And we will go into the Long War not relying on some feathery Hope, but standing on the rock of Faith. Because Faith endures.
(Cross-posted to The Minority Report)