Election Reflections

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Nov 20, 2008 1 Comment ›› John Eidsmoe

Election Reflections

Wednesday Morning, Nov. 5, 2008: As I left the house to feed my horse this morning, I noted that the trees were the most brilliant autumn gold I can remember. And I thought to myself, God is still on His throne, and despite the election results last night, life will go on.

Please don’t misunderstand me: The election was a major defeat for those who believe in traditional values. The new President-elect has the most liberal voting record of anyone in the Senate, especially on sanctity-of-life issues, and we have good reason to believe he harbors an agenda more radical than even his voting record would suggest. And his election is accompanied by substantial Democratic gains in the Senate (though not the 60 senators needed to invoke cloture) and in the House.

But rather than despair, we have some good reasons for comfort. First, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin fought a good fight and made a respectable showing. Despite being heavily outspent, despite the clear media preference for Sen. Obama, despite probable voter fraud, and despite the current unpopularity of the Bush Administration, McCain/Palin still received nearly 47% of the vote. They turned an unpopular war to their advantage by stressing that McCain called for the surge while Obama opposed it. But then, suddenly or so it seemed, the economy collapsed, and the blame fell upon the Republicans. Never mind that the economy seemed fine until the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, or that the Clinton Administration’s policies led to the easy credit that made the collapse inevitable, or that McCain had been calling attention to this impending crisis for years. We blame the incumbent President, the incumbent President is a Republican, and McCain was to be his Republican successor. Under these dire circumstances, McCain/Palin did the best they could and fared better than expected.

Second, being out of power, at least temporarily, is not necessarily a bad thing. The last Arizona Senator to run for President, Barry Goldwater, lost in a landslide of such epic proportions that many thought the Republican Party was dead. But Goldwater became a respected elder statesman, reshaped the Republican Party into a much more conservative political force, broke the Democrats’ monopoly on the “solid South,” in a sense became the father of the modern conservative movement, and paved the way for the era of President Reagan. And never in my memory has the conservative tide run so strong as it did in the early years of the Clinton Administration; witness the 1994 Republican victories and Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”

Third, support for Obama does not equal agreement with his radical policies. Many supported him because they found him attractive, energetic and charismatic. Many voted for him because they wanted “change” and “new ideas,” but few could point to any specific new ideas that Obama had proposed or articulate what changes they thought he would bring about. Many seemed very confused as to what Obama really stood for.

And fourth, even with a Democratic Congress, President Obama will have to make major compromises to enact even a portion of his agenda. The Democrats have a majority in both houses, but it is not a monolithic majority. Each member of Congress has his own agenda, his own constituencies, his own promises to keep or break, his own pet projects, and his own allies and enemies. President Obama’s proposals will see many changes and compromises before they become law, if they become law at all.

But now the bad news: This election is a major setback for those who believe in the sanctity of life. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973 by a vote of 7-2. Since then, the pro-life minority on the Supreme Court has grown from 2-7 to 3-6 to 4-5, and the swing Justice, Kennedy, voted with the pro-life bloc to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart. The next President will, in all probability, appoint at least two new Supreme Court justices, possibly more. Many had hoped that President McCain would have made conservative court appointments that would lead to overruling Roe v. Wade. Obama’s appointees almost certainly will be pro-abortion (I won’t use the word “pro-choice” because the baby doesn’t get a choice), and they will probably serve on the Court for many years to come. This is a major disappointment.

And the pro-life movement did not fare well in referenda this year. In Washington State, a measure to allow doctor-assisted suicide was approved by the voters with about 59% of the vote (full returns aren’t in yet). Michigan voters narrowly approved a measure to allow embryonic stem cell research, and in California a measure to require that parents be notified before their minor daughter can have an abortion has apparently lost by a very narrow margin. In 2006 in generally conservative South Dakota, a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited almost all abortions was rejected by about 56% of the voters. This year South Dakotans defeated by similar margins an amendment with a few more exceptions like rape and incest. And in Colorado a measure that would have defined personhood as beginning at conception was defeated by a heavy margin.

Measures that would prohibit same-sex marriage fared better, passing in Florida by 62%, in Arizona by 56%, and (as of this time) in California by 52%. An Arkansas measure that would prohibit same-sex couples from adopting children passed by 57%.

When Walter Mondale conceded the 1984 election to Ronald Reagan, he told his supporters not to be discouraged, because ‘in every defeat are the seeds of victory, and in every victory are the seeds of defeat.” What must we do to find and nourish the seeds of victory in this defeat?

First, we need to understand Biblical principles of government. A new generation of evangelicals has arisen that does not have the same background of Biblical training that was assumed in previous generations. Meanwhile, liberals have decided that they cannot defeat the Christian Right with Secular Humanism, because Secular Humanism does not satisfy people’s deepest needs. Instead, we are now seeing the rise of the so-called Evangelical Left as an alternative to conservatism. We need to carefully teach our young people what the Bible says about the laws of God, the sanctity of life, the sinful nature of man, and the need to limit the power of the State.

Second, we need to understand the United States Constitution, our charter of government, and its compatibility with Biblical principles of government. We need to build a corps of citizens who understand the Constitution, who know the limits it places upon government power, and who will demand that those who seek or hold office honor those limits, and who will insist that the courts strictly construe the Constitution for what it says rather than treating it as a “living” Constitution (read: “silly putty” Constitution) that can be molded to mean whatever an unelected federal judge wants it to mean..

Third, we must not overlook the importance of local government. At this level government most directly interfaces with the people, and at this level potential leaders get the training, experience and exposure that prepares them for higher office. Don’t forget, an Illinois “community organizer” was just elected President, and the mayor of a small Alaska town was almost elected Vice-President.

Fourth, we must encourage young married couples to take seriously God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 2:28, 9:1). The single most encouraging trend in the culture war today is that people who hold traditional values, such as homeschoolers, conservative Protestants, traditional Catholics, and Mormons, are generally having large families, while liberals are practicing zero population growth and aborting their young (unfortunately, they make up for it by illegal immigration). The long-term effect of this trend upon the culture war is self-evident.

Fifth, we must emphasize, encourage, support, and protect home schools and Christian schools. Having large families helps us win the culture war, only if we instill our values in our children. I am thankful for Christian teachers and their witness in the public schools, but in general the public schools are teaching ideas, values, and worldviews that are at odds with Christianity. As Martin Luther said, “But where the Holy Scripture does not rule I certainly advise no one to send his child. …I greatly fear that schools of higher learning are wide gates to hell if they do not diligently teach the Holy Scriptures and impress them on the young folk.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 6, Weimar Edition).

Sixth, we must support our military forces. An Army Times poll suggests that servicemenbers overwhelmingly voted for McCain/Palin. We need to pray for them, encourage them, and help them to understand Christian values and Biblical worldview. We should also be alert to attempts by the Obama Administration to compromise military strength by cutting military spending and shifting funds toward programs of income redistribution.

Seventh, we must pray for our nation, our state, our community, and our children as never before.

As I said at the beginning, the rich golds and reds in the autumn leaves outside my door have never been more brilliant. But as Don Feder suggests, they are also a sign of decay and death. Is America today in the autumn of its life, with winter yet to come? Does the brilliance and splendor of our civilization foreshadow our coming doom?

But just as the brightly-colored leaf piles hide decay and dissolution, so also they form compost for new life in the spring. May it be so for America. And may it be so for us. Therein may we find the seeds of new life, and therein may we nourish them into victory.

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  1. Dr. Allen Unruh (http://www NULL.draunruh NULL.com) says:

    Bravo Justice Moore;

    I’m the Chiropractor you met in Colorado. We gained another 20,000 votes in SD on our pro-life initiative, but Obama came here three times and registered another 12,000 liberal voters, and there was rampant voter fraud and we ended up losing. The Bible says, “Never grow weary in well doing.” We shall press onward and forward to the high calling of God. Planned Parenthood and the Hollywood Elites out spent us 4 to 1. South Dakota is the Gettysburg in this civil war for the unborn, and we will never give up. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. One man with truth constitutes an army, one man with God is a majority. If you have a regular e mail, put me on your list. Dr. Allen

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