Sunday, November 23, 2008

Okay, Here It Is

17 days ago I said I would post my observations about the election “next week,” so obviously I fell short. It’s not that I don’t have observations and opinions – it’s just that I’ve already written so much about Barack Obama that I feel like I should wait until he is actually doing things from the Oval Office before I pick up that sword again.

But of course, observations about the election and criticism of the president-elect are not the same thing, so now I’m keeping my word and offering some thoughts.

I’ll begin by harkening back to Part Three of my Obama’s Lies series, in which I wrote about a deceitful ad that accused John McCain of being an anti-Hispanic bigot. Obama ran the ad only in Spanish, and only in four states – each of which has a large population of Spanish-speakers and each of which voted for Bush in 2004. In my post, I said, “If this ad causes just one of those states to go for Obama this time, it will very likely decide the election for all of us.” As it turns out, all of those states voted for Obama. This is one of many instances of Democrats seeking to divide the country along ethnic lines in order to increase their power.

Next, I’ll mention a moment during Obama’s acceptance speech that seemed to validate the most unflattering thing conservatives have always felt about liberals: That they don’t think American ideals are worth defending. The moment occurred when Obama, to his credit, tried to give a respectful nod to people who favor a strong national defense by saying, “To those who would tear this world down, we will defeat you.” But the crowd’s reaction was complete silence – you could hear crickets chirping because not a single note of applause rose from the otherwise boisterous mass. And people wonder why conservatives suspect that liberals aren’t committed to the U.S.A.?

However, the most disturbing thing about Obama’s ascendancy is the way it always brings Simon & Garfunkel to my mind. Specifically, I keep hearing that great lyric where Paul sings, “All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” For whatever reason, people look at Obama and view him however they want to – and because in almost every instance they view him through a prism fueled entirely by emotions, no appeal to facts or intellect is able to penetrate it.

By intuition, conservatives have long known that a huge percentage of Obama’s supporters have no idea why they support him. And that intuition has been backed by lots of anecdotal evidence, such as the responses I get every time I ask one of his younger-than-me fans to name just one thing about his policies or philosophies that they think is good. They never answer the actual question, yet they are always quick to enthusiastically say “Just you wait!” or “You’re going to be happy even if you won’t admit it!”

But now we have more than just intuition and personal anecdotes to confirm that Obama’s voters are, in general, an alarmingly ignorant bunch: We have a Zogby poll of people who voted for Obama, taken after the election. It shows that 56% of them do not know about his connection to William Ayers, 57% of them do not know the Democrats control Congress, 71% of them do not know that Joe Biden had to drop his presidential campaign because he was found to be a plagiarist, and 82% of them do not know that Obama won his first political campaign by having his opponents kicked off the ballot. And the poll was multiple choice!

This “ignorance problem” is compounded by the horrific erosion of our educational system over the past few decades, which has resulted in vast numbers of people having no grasp of America’s history or its place in the world. These people exist without any understanding of the principles that led to America’s founding, or how those principles make America more just than other nations, or how those principles make America more successful than other nations. They exist without any understanding of the reasons so many people have given their lives to hand America’s blessings down to their children and grandchildren. Such ignorance is fertile soil in which demagogues can plant the seeds of ever-expanding federal power – seeds which, by sprouting into vines that grow slowly but oh so steadily, can snuff out the electorate’s freedom without the electorate even being aware of it.

So we conservatives clearly have our work cut out for us. However, you will not find me sliding into the abyss of despair toward which so many other conservatives seem willing to march.

This is not the first time we have been faced with daunting challenges. Look at our history, and you will see the entire half-century leading up to Ronald Reagan’s landslides consisted of one massive obstacle after another: FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s defeat of Goldwater, The Great Society’s seemingly unstoppable tsunami, the leftward lurch of the GOP under Nixon and Ford.

Since authentic conservatism overcame that onslaught, there is no doubt that authentic conservatism can overcome today’s challenges – which we should look at as a golden opportunity to resurrect conservatism from an age in which Republicans abandoned it by expanding government and spending like drunken sailors and adopting the Democrats’ template rather than asserting their own.

Yes, making the resurrection happen will require us to work diligently, if we are to communicate our message to those who have little knowledge of history and little experience analyzing facts. But even in the recent election results, there is evidence that we hold a strong hand and that Americans in general favor conservatism over liberalism. It’s worth noting that most of the Democrats who were elected to Congress for the first time in 2006 succeeded by portraying themselves as more conservative than the Republicans they were up against, and it’s worth noting that many of them (North Carolina’s Heath Shuler comes to mind) won re-election this month because they governed more conservatively than their Republican predecessors. It’s definitely worth noting that when conservative initiatives (as opposed to Republican humans who have lost our trust) were on ballots this month, they almost always won, even in California. It is the GOP’s abandonment of its conservative roots that has led to its present weakness.

The truth is on our side, and genuine love of country is on our side. And those things, if combined with dedication and diligence and good cheer, will prevail.

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