[Six years ago, I posted this the day after Barack Obama won his first term as president. I suppose it’s obvious why I’m posting it again today.]
I have so many things to be thankful for this beautiful blue-skied day, and given that we conservatives are grieved over America’s choices yesterday, I’m going to share them, just in case it will cheer a heart or give some perspective. Of course, StandFirm has a few reasserting Anglican readers who are secular political liberals—and I’m hoping that they’ll recognize that this article is for . . . well, conservatives.
What do I have to be thankful for?
1) God is still God.
He is the measuring stick whereby all Justice, Truth, Love, Honor, Mercy, Beauty, and Goodness is measured. When things have gone wrong in my personal life—when it’s lacked justice, truth, honor, mercy, beauty, or goodness—I’ve been able to cling to the fact that all of that exists in reality. It may not be what I’m experiencing—but out there, it exists. Truth exists, Justice exists, Beauty exists, because God is.
We are blessed by that alone. But beyond that, He that represents—that is made up of—Justice, Truth, Love, Honor, Mercy, Beauty, and Goodness chose to reveal all of that and more. He revealed it through nature. He revealed it in His word written—Holy Scripture. And He revealed it most finally and completely in Jesus. He did not leave us with a vague Platonic abstraction but with a concrete reality. Plato knew that the Ideal existed. But 2000 years ago, a bunch of Jews, Roman citizens, women, soldiers, lepers, and Samaritans got to see the Ideal in the flesh.
Beyond all of that—beyond the fact that God exists, and with His existence all else that is good and worthy in the created realm, beyond the fact that God self-revealed to us His reality—there is Christ’s personal call to me, and His pursuit of me and His healing of so many sins, horrors, sorrows, and fears.
Hallelujah, I’m saved in every sense by Jesus Christ.
Every day is a privilege and a blessing. He might have left me alone, but He didn’t. Thank God.
2) We are privileged to live in the freest country ever in history.
A country where we can choose—if we desire it—to accomplish almost anything that we can think of. Sure, through our own incompetence, we elect the occasional criminal, or sociopath, or buffoon. In the case of our President-elect, we elected a man who despises the Constitution, adores and supports the killing of infants, and holds as his friends and confidants and allies people who hate America and wish to end America as best they can.
These things happen sometimes.
But unlike Rome and its Nero, we are privileged. We can reverse that, should we choose to. God, for some reason, chose to put us into this time in history and this country, not in another far more repressive time or country. It is a great privilege and blessing. And it is a great responsibility.
There is no question that there will be painful—even dire—consequences for our decisions yesterday, and not just yesterday, but for the conservatives’ decisions over the past many years. I’ll get to that later.
For now, imagine if you were an Iraqui citizen. Two days ago, you could count on America. Now—not any longer. My heart aches for Iraq—for they are the ones who are doomed beyond imagining.
Further, there will, of course, be more dead babies. Contrary to the unfortunate and ill-informed statements of some, abortion had decreased under the past 15 years of conservative gains. Now, that is over. Abortion will become easier, more convenient, less rare, and certainly more revelled in and encouraged. As a liberal sacrament, increased abortions will mean that more babies will never see the light of day, never have the opportunity to look into the eyes of a Mother, never get to take a first step, never own a puppy, never wear a white dress to first Communion—and God will judge this country for it.
There will be other less serious consequences, but consequences none the less. But setting those aside, we live not in Babylon. Not in Rome. Not in Ninevah—but in America, where in an unprecedented fashion, citizens get to work for reform and renewal, should they so choose.
It is also a country that—according to a recent survey—is conservative by a large percentage. And this is further borne out by the victory in California, on Obama coattails, on an anti-Republican night, with a facts-on-the-ground environment [it’s always harder to overturn actions then prevent them, because people are by nature unwilling to take away something that has already been purported to be given] of Prop 8.
So how was Obama elected? It’s simple. The same way that revisionist Episcopal clergy enter conservative parishes. And my bet is that if you’re a conservative Episcopalian reading this, you’ve experienced that.
Even in the Episcopal Church, almost no one wishes to claim the name “liberal” or “revisionist”. They know those words for the negative descriptions that they are. That’s why you hear liberal Episcopalians claiming that they are “conservative” and “orthodox”. They know what’s attractive to people.
Throughout the election cycle, Obama had to continually run from—escape—who he was, and what he believed in. He succeeded in doing that and here we are. But his flight from himself, his core principles, his allies and friends . . . that’s a compliment to conservative principles. Because . . . he knew.
3) It may be—may be—that the elected leaders of the Republican Party will come to themselves and say “I do not wish to eat the husks any longer. I must arise . . . “
It may be—if they choose to step away slowly from the denial—that they will ask themselves “why has this happened to us” and really assess how they came to this place. And if that happens, then many of us conservatives will be saved from the long 5-decade effort towards creating another party that will promote conservative values.
Of course, one should never underestimate our ability to run from pain, deny truth, and cover our eyes. That’s human nature. But there’s a chance, some chance, that the leaders of the Republican Party will reassess the bloated government, redistribution of wealth, slow creeping socialism, obliviousness to the Constitution, high debt, corruption, and so much more that they have caved in too—we’ll see.
4) God may have chosen to judge our nation in a temporary fashion—much like Ninevah—so that He could hold back on more complete devastation and judgement.
Our response should be the response of Ninevah—repentance for our part in what has happened to the country, and a humbling of ourselves, and a turning around from our path. If God’s judgement on our nation ends it finally, then so be it. We certainly deserve it. But it may be, again, that God has said “let me give you a taste” so that we may all come to ourselves, arise, and go to our Father. God is merciful and chooses to correct slightly first, in order to prevent a far more severe correction later on.
5) This isn’t the Episcopal Church.
Our country is far juster, far more interested in the rule of law, far more stable, far more popular, far less vicious, and far more conservative. It is completely within our power as conservatives—with God’s help—to transform this country’s political landscape if we so choose. It will be very hard and very long. The next two years will be appallingly painful. Every week or month, we’ll be reminded of the judgement of God—and our challenge will be not to get angry, or despairing, or inactive, but rather to humble ourselves all over again, repent, acknowledge the horrible consequences of our compromises, corruption, passivity, and loss of principle, and continue turning away from the wrong path and seeking the right one.
6) I don’t have to fight with my conservative friends who are members of the Republican Party anymore.
No more hissing, clawing, or spitting arguments. We all understand, and we all get to work together, as conservatives, on the task before us. The nation is now more sharply divided, and grows more so every year, as the Left move farther left. As we grow farther apart in our values, principles, and foundational worldviews, the political decisions and choices will grow more intense and horrifying for all sides. Because a good thing for a secular political liberal is a horrible thing for a conservative. And vice versa of course.
But at least we have comrades. That’s a good thing. And we know what we have to do.
7) I think we can safely say that the MSM has eliminated its credibility by its Pravdaesque overt support of its candidate.
This is a good thing. Every cycle that the MSM does this, it’s weakened further. More viewers and readers leave. More media outlets go out of business.
All of that helps a lot. Slowly but surely the media is being made over in this country. I expect that to continue and escalate in the coming months, thanks in large part to the media’s actions over the past 9 months.
8) There are plenty of things we can do.
Of course, there are plenty of things we could not do, too. We could declare complete defeat, announce that we are doomed, and lie down, refusing to move. We could continue allowing decisions made by purported conservatives to slip by us with nary a raised voice of protest, or lifted finger of resistance. We could continue to accept “leadership” by unprincipled non-conservative Republicans, rather than the principled conservative Republicans and other conservatives out there. But setting those bleak possibilities aside, what can those of us who are political conservatives in the secular world do?
—We can repent, which I’ve already spoken of ealier, of our part in the outcome of this election. And yes, conservatives had a part.
—We can ask God to please send revival to our country. It is by His will and choice that this ever happens—but remember the verse in Chronicles: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
God can do this. But revival begins with me and you, repenting and humbling ourselves.
—We can throw ourselves into the work that we ought to have been accomplishing over the past 8 years and weren’t. This means finding conservative—not Republican but conservative—candidates for local and state elections. It means bringing people up through the “feeder chain” to run for office. It means personally carefully selecting candidates for whom to volunteer—I’ve already selected mine, Jim DeMint. It means doing all in our power to elect conservatives to the Senate and House in two years time. It means connecting with other conservatives and forming the think tanks and institutes that we need. It means studying how folks like Buckley and Reagan and Goldwater worked and prayed and strategized for their own revolution—and seeing where their followers went wrong. It means, maybe, checking out some coordinated movements that are springing up. It means taking the time to learn and educate others about conservative principles—a long, slow process, but important. It means connecting with those of like mind locally—I’ve already sent out an email to 30 friends in my local area so that we can get together and discuss. That is just the tip of the iceberg of what an ordinary citizen can do. This person here has a few ideas worth noting. In my review of blogland, there are scads of such articles of analysis and reflection, with excellent ideas.
But in general, it means getting off our duffs and smartly putting our backs into the hard work of the next years.
As I’ve said before, quite a few times over the past years, one of the things that disturbs me the most about us—conservatives—is that we feel free to complain, and gripe—all the while living in the freest country ever—but we do very little about what we are complaining about.
Friends, secular political liberals worked hard for this victory. And they deserve it.
We worked hard for this defeat. And we deserve it.
But we don’t have to wallow in this. There will rarely be anything in your life that through thoughtful research, warm connections, and hard work you can affect so simply—not easily, but simply—as the political state of this country.
Now’s our chance!
Update: 8.5 The victory in California, on Obama coattails, on an anti-Republican night, with a facts-on-the-ground environment [it’s always harder to overturn actions then prevent them, because people are by nature unwilling to take away something that has already been purported to be given] of Prop 8.