Looking back on the election, I have to admit to a certain amount of relief that John McCain lost. I know the media is saying that conservatism lost and is now dead, but they fail to note, perhaps even realize, that McCain is not conservatism. He just happens to have an R beside his name for party affiliation and the R party used to represent conservatives.
Now, you might be wondering why I feel a sense of relief and that’s really straightforward. Electing McCain would have simply delayed the inevitable. Given that McCain is not really representative of conservativism it would simply have been a continuation of policies that have grown the federal government well beyond the scope of what it should be doing as a government.
No, I’m not saying I voted for Obama. No matter how much relief I feel at the moment, nothing could have made me do that, in spite of the feeling that I believe this is necessary to conservatism finding its way back to where it should be rather than adjunct to the Republican party.
It’s necessary because we have taken too much for granted and instead of fighting we complain, myself included. Into life rain must fall. Without it there is no growth of the right kind. How much rain depends on how much growth is needed to be able to progress forward. Sometimes it’s a deluge. Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress is our deluge. We can deal with this just as we’ve dealt with other crises in the past.
Since the 60s we’ve grown into habits that have had bad consequences. For a brief time, it looked like the mistakes made then were going to be corrected. Unfortunately, our habits got the best of us. In our quest to shield our children and ourselves, we’ve also prevented them and ourselves from experiencing the consequences of their and our own actions. Without mistakes, people don’t learn and they don’t grow.
This is not a time to roll over and play dead, certainly. But neither is it a time to despair. It is a time to shine the light of real conservatism so that others can learn not only from our mistakes but their own. Let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences. They need this if ever they’re going to put things right. We need this, too, to remind ourselves what it’s like. In addition, because we’ve been through this before, we can take steps to minimize the damage to ourselves and still be stronger for it.
This is not a time to hunker down but a time to stand resolute. It’s not a time for shouting and mob rules but a time for calm and reason in the face of madness. It’s not a time to stand in the corner and be silent but in full view with full voice.
That’s where the relief comes from. For too long conservatives have been in a state of tension, knowing there is a battle to be waged between those of us who want a smaller more effective federal government and those who would look to the federal government for everything. While we have accepted this state of high tension in an effort to forestall a real engagement between the two sides, that’s all we’ve been doing: stalling the inevitable. It’s a relief to finally engage, the sooner to get it over with. The battle is not going to be any prettier than the state of tension has been. At times it will be uglier, but…
Let’s get to it.