Somebody wrote to emotionally defecate on me:
“so how do you feel now, Mark, knowing that you helped reelect the Butcher of Kenya? you are the traitor here, and no one else. I sincerely hope you repent before you die. The supreme court will be the biggest death panel in the history of the world, thanks to those who helped usher in the true Dark Ages, which begin this very night.”
My reply: Thank you for that hysterical rant. Here’s some reality: I did not help elect Obama since I did not vote for him. I didn’t owe Romney my vote since I do not work for him nor for the GOP. He was applying for a job from me and his qualifications, like Obama’s were unacceptable so I refused to hire them. Dems believe we belong to the State. Movement “Conservatives” believe we belong to the Party. These are lies. They work for us, not we for them. The Right needs to stop living in utter delusion and begin to treat with reality again if it hopes to succeed. First hint: when you nominate a candidate as crappy as Mitt Romney, consider the possibility that when you get your butt handed you, it’s not because some obscure blogger would not eat the crap sandwich, but because you stupidly nominated an incredibly crappy candidate and then insisted everybody eat a crap sandwich. That’s stupid politics, and people who practice stupid politics lose and deserve to lose. Here is what, right now, the Thing that Used to be Conservatism should be focused on: “What did we do wrong? How can we do better next time?” First step: stop believing idiots who tell you that Obama is a Kenyan, as well as every other stupid paranoid conspiracy theory pedaled by FOX and World Nut Daily. That’s living in illusion. You need to face reality.
So, for instance when I post a link to a story like this, detailing just how crazy the Right can be and linking all the source materials documenting that fact, the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism has not, for 10 years, typically said “Yikes! That’s pretty bad! What can we do to learn from our mistakes and not foster belief in idiotic conspiracy theories, but rather treat with reality?”
Instead, the typical response is “Eek! A ritually impure source of information! Anybody who gets information from that source is bad and all the information that source relays is worthless because it was relayed by that source and not by ritually pure sources who tell me what I already think, always condemn my enemies, always tell me how good and smart I am, and never ask me to think anything that discomforts me or challenges my tribe’s penchant for loony conspiracy theories.” What that results in, over time, is things like last night, where a shocked “conservative” movement was stunned to discover that all the predictions of a Romney win–a Romney *landslide* if you please–were bunk promulgated by people who were not treating with reality. Now there is a great temptation to continue the pattern the Right has pursued for 10 years: looking for heretics, seeking fifth columnists to blame, searching for conspiracies, and kicking people like me as baby-killing “traitors” because we could not muscle down the load of bull that Mitt Romney was selling as he advocated for grave instrinsic evil (including, yes, abortion “for the health of the mother”). This is a stupid course to pursue, unless you want to keep losing.
Happily, there remain, on the Right, conservatives who are actually able to conserve things and learn from the past. If the Right wants to actually win in the future they need to honor and promote such people, and stop honoring and promoting people who encourage them to live in illusion.
Here is more reality. The Thing that Used to be Conservatism did not lose because of a conspiracy, or because some guy on a blog was so prolife that he refused to vote for a GOP pro-abort as well as a Dem one. It did not lose because Dark Forces were in league against us. It did not lose because the American electorate has been taken over by fiends and fools. The proportion of fiends and fools is relatively stable in our history. It did not lose because the governor of a state slammed by Sandy took his responsibility to the people of NJ as a priority over politics or said “Thank you” to Obama for helping hurting people, thereby revealing himself as a monstrous turncoat. The Thing That Used to be Conservatism lost because “conservatives”, of their own free will, chose to nominate Willard Mitt Romney.
There’s your problem right there.
And your secondary problem–as with the choice to pretend Romney was “prolife”, and to nominate John McCain, and pretend Sarah Palin was a brilliant choice, and support the Iraq War, and support Bush and a brutal draft-dodger Veep who said “deficits don’t matter” and lie that torture is an American value compatible with the faith and do the many other stupid things the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism has done–is that instead of learning from our sins and mistakes and repenting them, we have instead chosen to surround ourselves with a leadership and a pundit class that tells us our failures are somebody else’s fault. It’s the media’s fault. It’s Obama’s fault. It’s Hollywood’s fault. It’s the fault of third party voters and bloggers with some miniscule readership. (Fun Fact: So far each state reporting an Obama victory won it with at least 50% of the vote. Which means all those people who voted 3rd party instead of Romney had nothing to do with Obama winning re-election.)
No. It’s the fault of the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism. Romney was a terrible candidate. His campaign consisted, in large measure, of telling the rank and file to shut up and get in line. It consisted of ordering people to not believe their own two eyes when this cynical duplicitous liar claimed to be prolife and then made very clear that he supported abortion for “the health of the mother”. It consisted of telling the workihg class and troops living below the poverty line that this bought-and-paid-for plutocrat who dismissed them as part of the 47% cared about them. It consisted of telling people who knew perfectly well that this liar–who forced Catholic hospitals to dispense the morning after pill and assured women that no employer could stand in the way of their contraceptive candy–was serious about the HHS mandate. It consisted of believing that this man who surrounded himself with exactly the circle of maniacs who unleashed the Iraq War would be for peace; and this man who railed at Obama’s weakness in foreign policy could be trusted when he agreed with almost every syllable of it in the debate. It consisted, in short, of completely selling its soul to support a man who was a moral void–and then shouting at those who could *see* he was a moral void that *they* were the problem.
The Thing That Used to be Conservatism is very seriously sick and will die if it does not recover its bearings. I want a healthy conservatism because I want somebody who can credibly oppose the evils of the Left. The way to get that is for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism to become conservative again: to do what the 12 step groups call a “fearless moral inventory” and to stop lying to itself. I don’t say that in order to “save America”. America is terminally mortal, like all earthly things. I hope it prospers for a good long while. But that’s because I hope for a stable civil society in which the Real Story–the progress of the gospel–can continue unmolested. That hope is dimming because the GOP could not produce a candidate capable of beating “the worst President in history” as they perpetually tell the faithful. If Obama really is that terrible, what does it say about how wretched a candidate Romney was that he could not beat him? My concern is and always has been the way in which our politics is increasingly corrupting of our Faith, and in no small measure the way in which it has taught Christians to look first for somebody else to blame when the GOP loses. The Thing that Used to Be Conservatism should have undertaken a massive reassessment when it launched a war in defiance of the Church’s guidance and found no weapons of mass destruction. Instead it lied that the war was really about Iraqi freedom. It should have done it when it plumped for torture. Instead it lied that it was “enhanced interrogation” and was keeping us safe. It should have done it when it said “Deficits don’t matter”. Instead, it helped drive the economy into the ground. It should have done it when it lionized Glenn Beck and drank in every nutty conspiracy theory it could. Instead, it clings to the nuts. It should have done it when it took a pounding in 2008. Instead, it simply flushed the Bush years down the memory hole and learned nothing from McCain’s defeat. And it should have done it when it nominated Mitt Romney. Instead, it shushed every warning about the guy and tried to run a campaign of shouting at people to shut up and trust him. Perhaps now, at last, it will take a good hard look at the world of illusion it has woven around itself.
The way out of illusion is simple and hard: repent and believe the good news. Jesus remains the way, the truth, and the life. I can’t guarantee he will help the GOP win any power. It’s not really his thing. And if we go to him seeking earthly power first we will get nothing. But I can guarantee he will help people live in reality and not illusion. And if we seek first his kingdom, we have it on good authority that other good things will be given. But first we have to really seek first his kingdom.
I’m hopeful that now, at long last, maybe that painful process will begin.