Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election day message

Good morning. This is where I am supposed to make a last-minute appeal for you to vote, or tell you for whom to vote. I won’t. It’s likely if you’re reading this, your mind is already made up. It’s even possible you will have voted already.

I don’t make endorsements. Having done it in the past, it just seemed silly each time. Besides, it’s not like I hide my biases.

I’d like to thank my readers and commenters for at least trying to keep it civil during this election season, and for putting up with me when I have been less than. It’s been a fun, rollicking, and even informative atmosphere around here.

As readers of this blog are aware, the choices today are not the choices I would have put on the menu.

The Democrats have nominated a left-wing neophyte with a gift for oratory and a cult of personality that is disturbing in a republic. His politics, his personal associations, his lack of experience, all render him to be unfit for the office he is seeking.

The Republican alternative is someone who has dedicated his life to his country, but often sees that mission embodied in him. His calls for politics above party are really calls for his aggrandizement above party, and the spotlight has always shown his way whenever principle could be sacrificed for his political career.

Neither are defenders of free speech. I doubt either of them could articulate the principles on which this country was founded. I’m sympathetic to those who will vote for the Democrat on the grounds that if we are to have modern liberalism, let’s have the liberal party in office to hold them accountable. I’m also sympathetic to those who, as much as they want to have a historic racial healing moment in our body politic, are unwilling to entrust the guidance of this nation to someone so ill-prepared to sit in the Oval Office.

But let it be said I do not question either candidate in their love of this country. For better or for worse, whoever is elected will try to act in the best interests of this nation as he sees it. We can only pray that on those areas where we are in agreement the next president achieves success, and in those areas where we disagree we hope the perspective and responsibilities of the office changes his mind.

Regardless of who wins, there will be the inevitable, intellectually empty calls for bipartisanship. I have long defended partisanship as the necessary result of competing values over the large stakes under the power of government. If the government had less authority, the need for partisanship would be much less. Of course, if the government had less authority, then today would not matter nearly as much, and I would not miss it’s importance being diminished.

Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to the matters of how the state and the country will be run in the aftermath of today’s results. I’m looking forward to those debates. Let us start those debates by recognizing that a little less than 50% will be disappointed by today’s outcomes. Let us also recognize that government is limited in its scope and its ability to move quickly because the Founders were clever enough to recognize that sometimes the People choose incorrectly. To today’s victors and losers I urge one word, “patience.”

Finally, there have been far too many people calling this, “the most important election in history.” I would argue for the election of Julius Caesar as Consul of Rome, but others with an eye on history may have other elections in mind. But certainly this election pales in comparison to 1860 or 1864 in importance. Or even 1796, the first post-Washington election. In 1980, the country was in dire straits economically and was seemingly unable to continue the Cold War. In 1940, the world was faced with an endless night of National Socialism, Communism, and Japanese imperialism.

So if the voters get this election wrong, I think we’ll survive.