I may muster more time to respond to Tuesday’s elections, which held few surprises. A few thoughts for now.
A pleasant surprise was the ease with which Democrat Glenda Ritz toppled State School Superintendant Tony Bennett. The local paper was also surprised, thinking it a rejection of school reform.
Don’t be so sure. Bennett’s reforms were top-down ideological diktats, subversive of local control and designed to do more for his reputation as a tough reformer than for actual education. Some of the diktats (I’m relying on Mrs. Tipsy, affiliated with an educational institution) were absurdities like requiring large blocks of uninterrupted reading time for children at an age where they can’t do anything for that long.
A second surprise is that my most Christian (heterodox) friends, many of whom suffered Obama Derangement Syndrome, are quiet or are posting benign things along the lines of “Be still and know that I am God.” The craziest talk I’ve heard was among those whose real religious commitment is marginal.
The real stunner for me was 3 referenda recognizing same-sex marriage and a 4th declining to protect more traditional marriage in a state constitution.
It took about 50 years to go from “unthinkable” to democratic adoption (in New York State – and see where that got them?) and just another 17 months to get referenda approval (albeit in Blue States). That merits a lot of comment. I haven’t seen any yet that I’m content to channel as if it were my own opinion.
On the election generally, I’d say this inspired madness was my opinion (if only I were wacky enough to come up with it).
Catholic academic Jeffrey Polet at Front Porch Republic attempts an election post-mortem that includes this:
I still have eager young students who seek to know the truth about human life. I would express hope that my Church could offer a helpful alternative voice in our national debates, but it is difficult to retain such hope when 53% of Catholics voted to reelect an administration that has been relentlessly hostile to Catholic beliefs and institutions.
An Orthodox Priest explains why Obama won the election with intriguing focus on young and minority voters:
So let’s get to the real reason these ‘darker’ and ‘younger’ and often ‘Christian’ Americans voted for Barack Obama. We need look no farther than the President’s inspiring Election Night speech. Here are two powerful quotes, representative of the real reason Obama was re-elected:
“What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
Near the conclusion of his speech, President Obama spoke these powerful and true words:
“We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.”
These concepts are the real reason President Obama carried a large percentage of the minority vote, and not an insignificant number of the young Christian vote. But again, we must ask why. The reasons are both religious and cultural, yet they have this in common: all of these voting sectors are tired of the old Republican mantras of “rugged individualism” and American exceptionalism ….
(Emphasis in original; H/T Byzantine Texas)
I do not claim that these two are representative of their traditions, by the way, but I’m really intrigued at the implications – very Front Porchy, actually – of the Orthodox priest’s analysis.
Less sanguine is another (and probably younger) Orthodox Priest, responding to calls for bipartisan cooperation and compromise:
[T]here are goals that some of our politicians have that I absolutely refuse to work with anyone toward putting into effect.
I will not work with anyone to pay for, encourage, or permit abortion on demand. Likewise, I abhor faceless drone warfare and extra-judicial assassinations, undeclared wars, interventionist foreign policy, the surveillance state, the notion that all property belongs to the state and may be confiscated at any time for any reason, the increasing centralization of political and economic power, the sanctioning and subsidy of every base human impulse (and I don’t just mean sexual ones), the drive to shove religious liberty and even discussion out of every facet of public life, and several other things besides. Most of these convictions are based directly on moral principle determined by my core beliefs, while others are derived from those principles.
To “work with” anyone to accomplish these goals is a violation of my beliefs. I am also saddened by the reality that most of these things, either by explicit commitment, by omission or by the weakness of political will, are indeed the goals of both of the major American political parties.
Thus, when I read these calls for us to “set aside our differences” and “work together,” while I fully understand and appreciate the sentiment behind them, it’s hard to read them as saying anything much different than “Stop believing in your principles and work with me on mine instead.”
Roads from Emmaus (emphasis added)
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