Monday, September 10, 2012

How To Survive The Election

Now that the country has endured two political conventions, the campaign has officially begun. Everything that has happened over the past 18 months of primaries, caucuses and debates was all prelude and doesn't matter now. Thirty percent of the American people probably couldn't tell you who the candidates are, and probably at least twenty percent of them couldn't pick Joe Biden out of a lineup. Luckily for our Republic, most of these people won't bother to vote. This is a very good thing.

From the days of Plato through the imaginations of Jefferson and Madison runs one common theme. For democracy to function properly there must be an informed and enlightened citizenry. If the "man on the street" interviews conducted outside the two convention sites these past few weeks are any indication, we are doomed. Earnest men and women eagerly offered opinions on what ails the country. "The President needs to pass a law that outlaws corporate profits." one woman suggested. Put aside the fact that the President doesn't "pass laws" since that's the job of Congress, what would this woman have the President offer in the place of corporate profits,...corporate losses?

For those of you who consider yourself conservative, who have a generally negative view of government and long for the days of Calvin Coolidge, these next two months are going to be long and frustrating. I offer the following tips for surviving the 2012 Presidential Election with your sanity intact.

1. Stop complaining about media bias. It has always been so. The press loved FDR, Kennedy, and Clinton every bit as much as they love Obama. Even though they hated Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes, those guys won seven elections despite a hostile press. Journalists are inherently liberal and they always will be. Get over it.

2. Even though there are a percentage of democrats who are genuinely Marxists and many who are socialists, most of them are neither. They just disagree with you about the role of government in society. That doesn't make them horrible people. Don't define an entire political party by their extremes. Remember that among the republicans there are a percentage who are unrepentant bigots. Recall how outraged you feel when you are lumped in with those people by media types. Please, a little good faith goes a long way.

3. Stop trying to make the case that if you're a real Christian you can't possibly vote for a democrat. This is foolishness on steroids. Yes, the democratic party embraces positions that go against biblical teaching like abortion and gay-marriage. But there are many democrats who don't believe in either of those things and still vote for the democratic candidate, many of them faithful Christians. I see on Facebook all the time posts that talk about how they can't possibly understand how any Christian could vote for a democrat. Really? I can easily understand how a Christian with a deeply held commitment to the downtrodden of this world might vote for a democrat. Frankly, it would be quite natural for a Christian concerned with the fate of the poor, sick, disabled, widowed and orphaned might be drawn to a political party known for policies that provide government subsidies for such people.I personally can make the case that those very same programs do more harm than good to the people they are intending to help, but to suggest that Christians who support democrats are somehow apostates is ridiculous and insulting. I'm against capital punishment on the grounds that giving the power of life and death to something as corruptible as our justice system is a usurpation of vengeance belonging to God alone. Does that make me a bad Christian because I support a political party that is in favor of capital punishment? No, it makes me a pragmatic citizen trying to make the best I can of a bad and flawed choice. I take the good with the bad, just like my fellow believers on the other side of the aisle.

4. Enjoy Joe Biden. What a Godsend. That this fool of a man could rise to such a place is exhibit A in the argument against career politicians. If Obama wins, all Christians should place the president's continued good health at the top of our prayer list.

5. As the election nears and it appears that Obama will win reelection, let not your heart be troubled. During an election, the power and importance of politics gets blown out of proportion. On November 7th, my life will go on it's merry way no matter who wins. I will not quit my job, sell all my worldly possessions and move to Montana...and neither will you. We will all survive, yes, even four more years of Obama. I am the captain of my own ship, the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does not set my course.