Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"My Fellow Americans?"



My Fellow Americans?

By: J. Hunter

It is impossible for me to deny that I am still depressed about the November election results. As you probably noticed, the blog has been virtually silent since Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were rejected by the few voters who bothered to show up on November 6th. If I were a dispassionate political nerd, the election would be fodder for countless essays and articles. I’m not though. I’m a conservative Republican political nerd. And as such, the election has done nothing but demoralize me.
 
Conversations since the loss have called on Republicans to rethink their ideology—an impulse I mostly reject. That said, I cannot help but admit that I have lost faith in a belief that is central to conservative ideology—that the American people can be trusted to do what is right.

In the summer before the election, someone dear to me asked me why he should vote for Mitt Romney rather than Barack Obama. This person is an Army veteran, a right-leaning independent voter, and someone who in many ways epitomizes the American mean. I gave a full-throated rebuke of the Obama presidency and explained how Romney was the right man at the right time to fix America’s woes. I was respectful of the president, as I am generally, and did not oversell Romney by complementing his shortcomings with my own policy preferences.

Just a few days ago, I spoke to this person for the first time since the election. He told me that he voted for Obama because John Sununu (not the Republican nominee) purportedly said something incendiary about the President.

This person went on to decry a laundry list of troubling trends he sees in the country—things that President Obama and the Democrats support. Indeed, he raised his voice crying out against the idiocies of the Democrat Party while I nodded and fueled the fire. When we exhaled, though, I was bitter because he was complaining about the very thing that his vote endorsed.

Leading up to the election I wrote a series of articles for a particular first time voter to dissuade her from voting for Obama and convince her to choose the Republican alternative. These essays are available on the blog for you to read and to decide whether my tone was disrespectful or condescending. I contend that it was not. Nonetheless, this voter, a friend of mine, still voted for Obama, and has admitted to regretting her choice from the moment she walked out of the polling place.

Furthermore, as a college student in the liberal stronghold of Chicago, Illinois, I knew surprisingly few liberals who were enthused to vote for Obama, and not a single one who would even attempt to defend the prospects of a second term.

Now, one could counter that I have only offered anecdotes that should not convince me to lose faith in the electorate on a whole. If that were my only evidence, I would agree. However, there are two more issues outstanding that fuel my pessimism: First, the momentum for the last three weeks of the election was clearly in Mr. Romney’s favor.[1][2][3] Second, voter turnout was abysmally low.[4][5]

From these facts I deduce that though Americans largely believed that the country was on the wrong track, that President Obama was not doing a good job in his post, and that Obamacare was not good for the country, it appears that eligible voters who held these views either voted for Obama anyway or just stayed home altogether. If this is the case, then the American people failed in November—and I hold them in contempt for doing so.

Don’t tell me that I believed something that the polls weren’t saying—Nate Silver points out that the polls largely leaned Republican.[6] I just read what was out there.

Don’t tell me that Mitt Romney was not conservative enough—he was inarguably more conservative than John McCain, and McCain performed better in 2008 than any other conservative on the ticket that year.[7]

Don’t tell me that Romney was not specific enough—whatever he lacked in plans, he made up for in his record. Meanwhile, the President had no plans to overshadow his own lousy record.

This simply hasn’t made sense to me.

Since the night of the election, I have ached to understand what went wrong with the election and with my fellow citizens who screwed up big time. As a result of their actions, we’re stuck with a president who continues to be unserious about the fiscal cliff and federal spending, a president who exploits tragedies like the Newtown Massacre to push silly ideological policies that will not solve the problem, a president who got caught deceiving the country about Benghazi and then tried to reward an ambassador for lying for him, and a president who, above all, is smaller than the office he serves.

Yes, I’m still depressed about November. If you are a conservative who stayed home on Election Day, stay the hell out of my way—I have nothing but contempt for you. If you’re an independent, chances are you voted for Mitt Romney.[8] If you’re a liberal, I think I now know how you felt in 2004.

Conservatives cannot be conservatives without perspective, and with that in mind, I know that Republicans have fared worse—like in 1964. I plan to get back on my feet and continue this blog and advocating for our timeless principles starting now, but this election has wounded me and I’m not quite ready to remove the bandages. Nothing hurts more than my shaken faith in the American public, though. I feel like I don’t know my neighbors, my countrymen, my tribe. Conservatism relies on the natural wisdom of the non-professional political class to guide this nation to ever increasing greatness. For this reason, I pray my sentiments change.

Article Sources:

[1] http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/15/swing-state-report-momentum-romney/
[2] http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/10/31/new-poll-shows-romney-with-momentum-in-pennsylvania/
[3] http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/opinion/bennett-final-debate/index.html
[4] http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/turnout-steady-in-swing-states-and-down-in-others-but-many-votes-remain-uncounted/
[5] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/11/less-people-voted-than-in-2004-or-2008.html
[6] http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/which-polls-fared-best-and-worst-in-the-2012-presidential-race/
[7] http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2012/12/19/how-to-run-ahead-of-the-ticket-n1469671/page/full/
[8] http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-romney-independent-vote-polls-moderates-election-2012-11

Photo Sources: "Sad Patriot" from http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_md4u7iQOO71rkd8gso1_500.jpg; "Sad Romney" from http://jeenyuscorner.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/romney-sad.jpg

2 comments:

BJ said...

I'm grateful for your honest and heartfelt writing. I have been in a similar place. I simply don't understand what happened. However for whatever reason, I feel more energized and enthusiastic than ever. I have been slowly and painfully writing an essay on what exactly happened. Obviously I don't pretend to know all. But this process has been enlightening. I'll send it to you whenever I finish it. Until then, it's good to rest and recharge. We're going to need you more than ever during these difficult times.

J. Thomas Hunter said...

http://blkandred.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-free-exchange.html