Derek Johnson Muses

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This Election that Debated Nothing

When they election was complete, I was relieved, because, of the five presidential elections I can remember, this was worst in terms of what was debated. The debates amounted to two tax accountants telling people how loopholes in the code worked for them, as if we were going to just vote for whoever gave us the biggest check.  Even four years ago, Obama talked ardently about vision and governing fairly, and, even though I disagreed with things he said, at least it was more important than the deficit roundabouts that Obama and Romney had this year. Even foreign policy got shut out.

Partisanship aside, what I felt got left behind in this election was a serious debate about leadership and where the country is headed. In many ways, this election didn’t work because we were numbed by Obama’s message of “coming together” from four years ago. Obama sold a message of compromise and being an outsider who understood all perspective, and the country naively acted as if he had no perspective himself. The result was, in this election, all we talked about sterile spending issues and Obamacare, and ignored the “hot button” issues.

In a way, it’s funny. Obama is asking the country to put aside our differences and solve problems, which sounds good and is necessary in some cases. After all, don’t both sides get tired of arguing over abortion and realize the issue won’t get solved this generation or the next? While all of that is true, ignoring huge differences doesn’t solve them, it only makes them worse in the long run. As a conservative myself, I hope what this sets up is a run by a strong conservative in 2016, even if the prospects look bleak at the moment.

As I observe the Republicans, they seem to be neglecting the key principal to winning national elections is finding the candidate who can appeal to the broadest part of their base, to both the business Republicans and the religious Republicans. Entrapped by the fear of backlash from the gay lobby and the lifestyle left, Romney downplayed his pro-life, pro-family positions, when he should have been taking advantage of Obama’s War on Religious Freedom, AKA the HHS Mandate and public support of gay marriage. Yes, the national media would have sabotaged him, but religious conservatism and moderates would have run to the polls.

I’m a Christian conservative who grew up hearing stories of the Moral Majority and the glories of the 1980 election. If you had told me six years ago that a Mormon would be the Republican nominee for president, I would have said, “At least he’ll be tougher on social issues than any Christian.” No wonder there is talk about forming a conservative-Christian party.

But I’m hopeful about the conservative movement, because it’s the one that fights for principals, even when everyone else tells them they are wrong. Recently, I’ve been reading in Suzanne Venker‘s book The Flip Side of Feminism about how the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated in the 1970’s. The conservative lobby educated people on the bill, and in spite of the fact that the state senator received so many threats and smear tactics from the left, the amendment never passed. That gives me a lot of hope when I hear the national media telling the conservative lobby that they should just go home and they’ve already lost.

But in spite of all this, I’m still hopeful because my faith is in God, not the political process.  I know that, whatever happens, God will be still be the one who saves, thanks be to him.


"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." Psalm 121:8

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