Last night was painful. There is no sugar-coating it, not only did Romney lose, but conservatives lost just about everything else too.
Frankly, I went to bed last night fairly despondent about the future prospects for America. I was disappointed, even disillusioned, and troubled by what I had just witnessed.
However, the sun still rose this morning. God was still on his throne. And I woke up to the noise of 5 children and one incredible wife. (She wasn’t making noise, just the children.)
None the less, I feel like a boxer who got knocked out and is just coming back to his senses while still laying on the mat. However, as I finish my second cup of my favorite India Monsooned Malabar coffee I think I’m starting to see more clearly again.
Now I know all the right cliches that we Christians are supposed to say, and perhaps even what you’re expecting me to say right now: God is sovereign – clearly Obama’s win was His will – God is allowing Romans 1 to play out – we need to pray for our leaders – we must respect the president – America is just our temporary home, we’re citizens of God’s kingdom – etc.
But you already know all that – I know that – I believe that – I try to live that.
I am still disappointed. The America that I love is fast becoming something that I don’t recognize. The fact that it is only my temporary home is comforting, but it hardly eliminates all the pain.
Frankly, upon reading some facebook updates from last night and this morning, I couldn’t help but be somewhat annoyed by the well intentioned (and theologically correct) reminders of those truths mentioned above. It struck me as something akin to sitting your child down for a talk about forgiveness when he just got punched in the nose by a bully before you’ve stopped the bleeding nose. Or perhaps like trying to console a grieving man by pontificating about the glories of heaven when his wife died just 15 minutes ago.
Despite my thoughts on the timing of such reminders, I don’t deny that we do need the reminder on occasion, so let’s return to the substance. In that respect, nothing about our Scriptural duties changed last night. Nor would anything have changed if Romney had won. (Thankfully, such is the nature of all timeless truths of Scripture.)
What did change is that we, conservative Christians, got our head handed to us on a platter. And it seems to me that we may be eager to absolve our own responsibility as citizens by offering platitudes about trusting God. I don’t mean to accuse anyone of intentionally doing this, but each of us ought to consider his motivation carefully. After all, no one would deny that it is easier to “trust God” with the outcome than to actually try to impact the outcome.
Last night, American voters in states across the country said they want bigger government, less freedom (including less religious freedom), more progressive economic policies, homosexual “marriage”, recreational use of marijuana, further erosion of states rights, and they want to keep Obamacare. (I realize some of those issues are more clearly addressed in the Bible than others, but there are biblical principles that apply to all of them.)
Just look at the data, Romney got fewer votes (57.7m) than McCain in 2008 (59.9m). Yes, the margin was much closer because Obama got substantially fewer votes as well (60.5m instead of 69.5 in 2008), but that still doesn’t bode well for anyone who has a different vision for our country than Obama’s. Simply put, we’re not convincing anyone else that we have the solution.
As expected, Obama did have a problem with enthusiasm – his people did not show up to vote in numbers matching last time. The problem is that no one else was was able to communicate a compelling alternative. My sense based on the data thus far is that many of the “undecided” voters may have just stayed home yesterday, rather than voting against the incumbent like many expected.
The Democrat’s message is clear, they are Santa Claus and will give everyone everything for free. It sounds good.
We must figure out how to clearly communicate an alternative. We must point out the flaws in liberal policies but do so in a way that is winsome at the same time. The core principles espoused by conservatives today are still, generally speaking, the same principles that have made America great for the past 236 years. Somehow, we must get that message across. Specifically, we must:
- Communicate this message in a way that is clear, concise, and compelling. I realize it’s hard to take on Santa Claus, but we must point out that Santa Claus is paying for your gifts by running up a credit card using the stolen identity of your 4 year old.
- Communicate this message in spite of the predominately liberal media. There is virtually no objective journalism anymore – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC are all clearly biased in favor of the left. FOX is on the right, but a 5 to 1 skew hardly gives Americans a fair picture of the news.
- Communicate this message in spite of an education system that has been overrun by progressives, and has indoctrinated a whole generation to be inclined toward liberal and socialist policies.
- Communicate this message in a way that it can be embraced by minorities, especially Hispanics. Demographics are destiny, and simply winning the white vote won’t win elections anymore.
There are certainly other messaging issues as well. And the messaging problems go beyond economics, just ask Richard Mourdock about effective messaging on the abortion issue. I’m not asking us to sacrifice principles that have made this nation great, but we must communicate them in a way that wins elections, or else the principles do us no good.
So what does all this mean? Yes, God is sovereign over the nations and over the hearts of men. I don’t mean to diminish that truth in any way. However, God’s normative method of accomplishing his purpose is to work through us in what typically appear to be fairly unremarkable ways. And in that respect, we’ve got a lot to do.
P.S. I’ve noticed a few people trying to blame last nights result on election fraud. I’m not ignorant to the fact that there may indeed be fraud at times in elections – that is always a possibility. But that is not what happened yesterday. This wasn’t a couple states with inexplicable outcomes. This was almost every state voting left of what many (on the right) expected. Blaming yesterday on fraud is like blaming the refs for one bad call when you lost a game by 5 touchdowns. It only makes you a sore loser.