Since this is an election year, and an important one here in the U.S., and since I have been a bit remiss on doing the research that would support a post of a different nature, I have decided to make my one and only political statement. (I actually haven’t so much been remiss in my research as I have been busy with summertime yardwork and reading Edward Gibbons’ exhaustive history of Rome.) Of course, I still reserve the right to make an occasional statement that could be considered political – remember, I have lots of opinions on lots of things – but this should serve to document my political history and current leanings. So, I guess that you could call this something of a manifesto.
I grew up in a family where my paternal grandparents were old-school Republicans and my father was a union steward Democrat, so whenever an election was coming up I was exposed to a good deal of old fashioned debate of the issues and candidates. I listened carefully to the opinions of my grandparents (who never did believe that Nixon really did what he did) and my father, and then started to make my own political choices. In short, I went radical.
Now do bear in mind that this was the late 60s and the anti-war and hippie movements were in full swing. In junior high we idolised the protesting college kids and took advantage of every opportunity to protest some decision of the school administration or another; petty things done more to be cool than out of any real political conviction. But as I progressed through high school I began to believe in the radical viewpoint, actually believe in it. I read Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and even owned a copy of Che Guevara’s biography (“Viva la Revolucion!”). I became the editor of our high school’s newspaper and used that platform to launch fiery attacks against the administration. I was, in short, a firebrand and somewhat of a pain in the school’s butt. And then I graduated…
I am of the firm conviction that nothing diminishes political radicalism quite as much as having to get a job and become a part of the real world; after all, if your boss does something that you don’t like and you start chanting slogans and threatening civil disobedience you generally end up looking for another job. Besides which, Vietnam was becoming a non-issue and I lacked a convenient platform for my views. Then, to everyone’s surprise, I joined the Navy in an effort to get educational means and job training. I was still pretty liberal, but in the military if you have too harsh an opinion of those placed in authority over you they can ground you (it’s called being put on restriction, meaning you have to stay on base or the ship, and yes, I did a couple of brief stints of military “grounding”).
But still, my thinking was changing in ways that I had never suspected they would. I was a firm supporter of Carter when he was elected, but in 1980 I only voted for him because Anderson was out of the picture and I just knew that Reagan would start WWIII. But my opinion of Reagan began to change after Grenada as I saw the badly bruised morale of the military began to revive. By 1984 I had gone and become a Reagan convert as well as a convert to the Lord, and while I don’t agree with everything that he did in office I still respect him for winning the Cold War, and to this day I believe that he was robbed of his share of the Nobel Peace Prize that Gorbachev won – the deciding factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union was the fact that they were unable to keep up with us in the arms race.
Over the last twenty-odd years I have remained pretty conservative, especially in foreign relations, but I finally quit being a good little Republican close to fifteen years ago. I still voted primarily Republican, although I always thought it foolishly naive to vote a straight party ticket. I wasn’t even particularly disenchanted with Republicans. The real issue was that I had begun to resent having my political opinions decided by any one party. I was reasserting my old independence of thought, and I was glad to do it. I still vote, but my voting is based on my conscience, not the party line.
So today I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I’m not an adherent to the Libertarians, although I think that they have a lot of good ideas. I have no use for communists (how ironic!) or Nazis and I have only a modest toleration of the extreme environmentalists. I am pro-Israel, but that is moderated by the belief that they are not perfect anymore than we are here. I still believe that abortion is the killing of a human being, but I believe that the legalization of marijuana would make the same sense as the repeal of Prohibition did in the 30s. I believe that the government has an obligation to the citizenry, an obligation to provide a secure environment for people to follow their dreams, but that no government has the right to dictate to its people what they should believe. These are my political beliefs and I’m sticking to them, although my political fervence has been additionally tempered by my faith.
That’s right, tempered by my faith. As a follower of Jesus I find that I really must listen to the dictates of my conscience, that still, small voice as it was once called, and as such I find that the political arena is too full of compromise and back room dealing for me to ever be comfortable in it. Politics can best be described as the striving of various factions against each other, and especially in today’s political climate there is far too much divisiveness for me to be comfortable with. In short, the affairs of Caesar are far too odious for me to be a part of without being soiled by the odium. I never did buy into the politicalization of the Church which started at least back in the 80s , and I recall being very disappointed to see more and more ministers preaching politics on Sunday instead of the Gospel; it was as if they believed that they could bring about Christ’s kingdom by their own efforts, and those efforts were doomed to fail. (Mind you, I also believe that one of the worst things in the hsitory of the early Church was when Constantine made Christianity the official state religion – too much wealth and power that caused far too much corruption.) Christ’s kingdom will only come about by the intervention of God and the return of our Lord, and even a cursory glance at the Biblical prophecies should reveal that.
So here I am in an election year, uncomfortable with the choice presented to me. On the one hand, I have a member of the wealthy elite and a dangerously controlling cult, while on the other hand I am presented with a dissembling socialist and apparent Muslim sympathiser who is poised to make the biggest power grab in American history. On election day I will vote not for a candidate that I can believe in, but for the lesser of two evils, and even then the outcome will probably turn out the same – I have heard as many good arguments that Romney will be the first American dictator as I have that Obama will. All I can do is cast my vote and hope for the best, but at this late date, I’m expecting the worst.
I will close this post with a quote that I recently ran across by famed American news commentator Edward R. Murrow: “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” I’m afraid that the wolves are howling around our doors.