There’s a lot of shouting around the blogosphere, even here, from those who backed President-Elect Obama. The main theme I’ve noticed so far is joyful celebrations about “the death of conservatism” and “the American people have seen through your shams” and “the dustbin of history” and “Republicans are dead” and the like. There seems to be, at least from certain elements, more glee that Republicans lost than Democrats won.
Apparently those of us who didn’t hop on the Obama bandwagon are supposed to just quietly shuffle off into corners and die quietly, then wait for Eric Idle to come around with his cart for our rotting carcasses. That, apparently, is our civic duty, now that the Democrats hold the presidency and both houses of Congress.
My first response is that history doesn’t ever end. There are no happy endings, no unhappy endings, no endings whatsoever — things just go on and on. So to declare that the results of a single election (even one as sweeping as yesterday’s) will have that much effect on our political climate is just plain stupid. John McCain still won about 47% of the vote, and that is not a sign of a dying electorate. Or, as a great philosopher once said, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
The Democrats hold nearly all the cards now — both nationally, and here in my own home state of New Hampshire. (If I drank, I’d need one right about now.) But pending President Obama suspending elections and rounding up dissenters for concentration camps, there will be more elections in 2010 and 2012, and anyone who tells you how they will go is seriously delusional.
My second response is the one I should have thought of first — to utterly reject the argument.
I have certain principles. I had them before yesterday, I still have them today, and I will keep them long after President=Elect Obama takes the oath of office. I did not derive them from any expression of public approval or disapproval, and they will not be swayed by any expression of public approval or disapproval.
I have certrain beliefs. I had them before yesterday, I still have them today, and I will keep them long after President=Elect Obama takes the oath of office. I did not derive them from any expression of public approval or disapproval, and they will not be swayed by any expression of public approval or disapproval.
I have certain ideals. I had them before yesterday, I still have them today, and I will keep them long after President=Elect Obama takes the oath of office. I did not derive them from any expression of public approval or disapproval, and they will not be swayed by any expression of public approval or disapproval.
I do not consider myself to have an overarching ideology. My principles, beliefs, and ideals were assembled on a point-by-point basis, derived from careful and rational thought on each issue individually. As such, the assigning of any such labels or categories to me means nothing, and the rise and fall of those labels and categories trouble me not one whit.
I do not belong to any political party. I have occasionally registered with one or the other for the purposes of participating in primary elections, but but more often than not I tend to split my ballot in the general election. (Yesterday was an aberration, the first time I can remember ever voting a straight-ticket slate. In 2004, with four major races, I voted for two Democrats and two Republicans.) So the rise and fall of any particular party doesn’t bother me much, as long as the checks and balances that are a part of a two=party system is maintained and neither party gains so much influence that it can act without being checked.
Yesterday, many of my principles, beliefs, and ideals were rejected by the majority (and, in some cases, the plurality) of the electorate. I do not take that as a rebuke in the least. Rather, I see it as a challenge — to continue espousing the things I believe in, as strongly and persuasively as I can, in hopes that I can sway others to see things as I do.
No, I do not take it as an “opportunity” to re-examine them. I do that on a regular basis anyway. I have arrived at them by my own experiences, thoughts, studies, and contemplations. As those are ongoing processes, they have already been tested and revised and corrected when needed. To say that I suddenly need to re-evaluate these things because of an election is to say that I do not hold them that dearly at all, and they are subject to the approval of the majority.
They are not. And they never will be.
I have a great deal of concerns about President-Elect Obama’s administration. I have spelled them out quite thoroughly over the past year or so here. Further, I am even more troubled by the agendas of Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi — as Obama has absolutely no record of ever speaking up and challenging his party’s leadership, but evinced a “go along to get along” attitude whenever given the opportunity.
I very well may be wrong. Lord knows I’ve been wrong before, on enough other issues. President-Elect Obama just might pull off his plans, and they very well might make things better despite my fears to the contrary.
At that point, with actual facts before me, I will re-evaluate my principles, beliefs, and ideals, and how they apply to certain issues.
But not yet. Not with no evidence to the contrary other than “a lot of people disagree with you.”
A lot of people thought the earth was flat.
A lot of people thought the sun revolved around the earth.
A lot of people thought that Man would never fly.
On the other hand, a lot of people thought that Man would walk on the moon by the end of the 1960’s, too.
I shall wait and see.
Until then, though, I will remain true to my own self. I will not bend and sway with the polls — either the meaningless ones conducted right up through yesterday, or the only one that really mattered.
The public be damned.