Election Reflection

Extending Sean Lucas’s good observations about the post-election hyperbole among public commentators and my brief comments there, I wonder about the state of hyperbole everywhere. A couple of reflections:

  • Shortly after the election, David Brooks remarked on the significance of the fact that the candidates for President were pre-Boomer McCain (b. 1936) v. post-Boomer Obama (b. 1961). Thus, this election may be epochal because it represents the end of sustained political dominance by the Boomers and the rise of the post-Boomers.
  • Understandably, the hand-wringing is more acute for the Republican Party because many of its segments have no idea what they have to do to bring Xs, Ys, and present-and-future Zs into their ranks en masse. The result of the Presidential election prompted unexpected visceral relief or excitement among many young conservatives, even among those who still voted for McCain. The mixture of relief and excitement varies greatly in its composition, but arises from at least two hopes: (1) that Obama will actually govern in a way that counters many of the moral failures, injustice, and oppression wrought by the Bush administration, and (2) that the failure of the vacuous Republican election message is an opportunity to turn the Republican Party back away from obeisance to Enlightenment Liberalism, statism, and unconstrained vision (using Sowell’s terminology from Conflict of Visions). Of course, history will demonstrate that Bush and Obama each brings his own different moral failures, injustice, and oppression to bear on our society, and history will judge their relative weight.

  • The secular messianism of many Obama followers will ultimately disappoint. A principled Administration is, however, preferable for everyone over the relatively recent history of Clintonesque thumb-in-the-air pragmatism and Bushesque end-justifies-the-means pragmatism.
  • An Obama Administration that acts according to principles will be good both for those who agree with those principles and those who disagree with them. If you will allow a little Chesterton:

    It is not merely true that a creed unites men. Nay, a difference of creed unites men–so long as it is a clear difference. A boundary unites. * * * Our political vagueness divides men, it does not fuse them. Men will walk along the edge of a chasm in clear weather, but they will edge miles away from it in a fog.

  • The myopia of many in the church is profound.
  • Since the election I have heard some in the church cite as the only reason to be thankful for Obama’s victory: (1) anticipated direct religious persecution by the Obama Administration, and (2) judgment by God against the United States for the moral decadence that the victory itself both symbolizes and accomplishes.

    I agree that “there is no authority except that which God has established” and positively “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Rom. 13:1. Surely, then, we cannot dichotomise and reduce God’s posture to any one President merely to “blessing” or “judgment.” Every President is a mixed bag, the actions of each jusifying a mixture of blessing and judgment.

    Immediately prior to that verse, Paul gives us our task:

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Whew! That’s enough to keep us all busy.


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