Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This Election: Conflicted, But Convinced


To say that this election has many Christians conflicted would be an understatement.  On the one hand, we have a candidate whose odious and horrific comments regarding women have caused us, myself included, to cringe.  On the other hand, we have a candidate who has distinguished herself by routinely lying and by lining her pockets at the expense of United States.  As conflicted as I am, I am equally convinced of several things.

Many folks have prided themselves in standing on “principle” this election:  translation?  They will either not vote or vote for a third-party or write-in candidate.  I am convinced that these are meaningless gestures, and that the larger issues of “principle” are somehow lost.  The choice is as clear as it is simple--a vote for anyone other than Donald J. Trump is a vote for the left and more of the progressive agenda of the current administration.
I have heard people that I love and respect comment that this election is about the lesser of two evils, which makes voting for either candidate, evil.  As Eric Metaxas remarked in his Wall Street Journal Op-ed piece, such talk is sophistry.  Neither candidate is pure evil.

So what are we left to do?  As conflicted as I am, I am equally convinced that the Left, both here and abroad, has done more damage to the United States and Western Civilization than any other worldview.  Hilary Clinton is a candidate of the left, pushed further left thanks to the popularity of self-professed Socialist Bernie Sanders.

I am convinced that the policies of the left have hurt the poor, the disenfranchised, and minorities.  Every major city in this country has been under the control of the left for decades.  As a result, they remain crime-infested, impoverished, and despair-filled communities with no hope of any real change.  The War on Poverty, championed by the left, has spent trillions on failed project after failed project.  Minorities have been pandered to and taken for granted.  Despite talking points to the contrary, it is the party of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., the party that championed civil rights before it was politically expedient, and the party that spearheaded abolition that possesses the principles and values that can offer substantive solutions to the problems faced by minorities and the poor.  That is the party of the right.

I am convinced that history confirms that the strategy of the left is not to engage those they differ with, but to silence them.  The left in this country has used the IRS to silence those they disagree with, and the Justice Department and FBI have ably demonstrated that those with the “right (meaning “left”)” values are above the law.  A Hillary Clinton administration will eviscerate the first and second amendments, and everything from the Internet to the pulpit, from the bedroom to the boardroom, will become increasingly regulated by the government or foreign authorities.  On the basis of what "principle" can we vote for that?

The left has always known that the legislature is not needed to pass laws as long as one controls the courts.  Clinton will nominate Supreme courts justices who will continue to shred the constitution and legislate from the bench.  Clinton proudly applauded when the courts denied bakers and photographers the right to conduct their businesses on the basis of conscience and faith.  The courts have rendered decisions regarding marriage that fly in the face of common sense and millennia of human history, and again, the left rejoices.  How na├»ve must we be to think that it will stop there? A number of people have suggested that a Trump presidency will inevitably result in the creation of a “banana republic.”  Where have these people been?  We are already there!  It is the very principles and values of the right that make such an outcome LESS likely, not more. On the basis of what “principles” can we stand idly by and watch this happen?

I am convinced that our immigration system is broken, and I am equally convinced that amnesty and open borders will not fix it.   Affirming, as the left does, that foreigners have a RIGHT to immigrate here, will only serve to weaken our national sovereignty and make our country less safe.  I am equally convinced that building a wall or deporting millions of immigrants will not fix the problem either, but I certainly know which candidate is more willing to look at the problem seriously.  One candidate sees potential and prosperity coming from immigrants while at the same time carefully vetting those who enter our country and deporting or imprisoning those who commit violent crimes while here.  The other candidate sees little more than potential voters.  On the basis of what “principles” will we seek to address the problem of immigration?

I am convinced that the left continues to wage a war on children, and that, despite supposed compassion for blacks, the most dangerous place for a young black child to live remains their mother’s womb.  On the basis of what “principles” can any person of conscience support a candidate who not only favors broadening the availability of, and tax-payer support for, abortion, but has gone on record as being fine with the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion? On the basis of what principle will we encourage the expansion of the slaughter of so many innocents?

I am convinced that the left will continue to promote policies that will embolden our enemies and weaken our allies.  The candidate of the left has already demonstrated a cavalier attitude toward national security and a foreign policy that confirms that she believes that there is no such thing as American exceptionalism.  We will continue to sign treaties with our enemies while affirming United Nations resolutions condemning our allies.  We will continue to engage our enemies with kid gloves and continue to create power vacuums where the likes of ISIS and other terrorists groups will flourish.  We will continue to turn over our legitimate role in the world as the standard-bearer of freedom and liberty to thugs and dictators who lead countries that are either state-sponsors of terror or countries where human and civil rights are crushed at the first sign of dissent. 

The left will continue to convince us that they are the champions of women’s rights, all the while either overtly or tacitly supporting countries where women are at best treated as second-class citizens, or at worst tortured and sold as sex slaves.  Donald Trump has said things about women that are as demeaning as they are unconscionable.  But he does not have the blood of innocent women on his hands that the left does due to their ill-advised and feckless foreign policy.

I am convinced that the earth is getting warmer.  I am just as convinced that this is where the agreement of many scientist’s stops.  The computer models, upon which all of the climate change projections are based, are seen as dubious by many leading climatologists and outright fraudulent by many more.  Even if all the man-made carbon emissions were eliminated tomorrow, the change in temperature would be inconsequential. (I challenge my readers to do some research on their own, rather than accepting at face value the “97% of scientists” data.)  The real tragedy is the cost of pursuing the left’s so-called solutions.  We will spend trillions of tax-payer dollars depriving third-world and developing nations of the natural resources that made our own country great. On the basis of what principle will we console ourselves in the face of the inevitable starvation and economic stagnation that the left's policies will bring?

I am convinced that the left has always been fueled by manufactured hysteria, from acid-rain to mass starvation due to overpopulation, from heterosexual AIDS to the environment, from health risks to animal rights, from the threat of religion to climate change.  This kind of "crisis-mongering" is a critical part of the left's strategy, because it paves the way for the expansion of the state.  "Extreme times demand extreme measures," they opine.  The inevitable fruit of such thinking is increased regulation, increased taxation, and increased government intervention, which only serve to weaken an already stagnant economy and further erode our personal liberty.  On the basis of what principle will we vote to encourage government overreach?

I could go on:  health care, taxes, energy, jobs, education, the economy, etc.  In the final analysis, this election is about understanding the difference between a compromise of principles and a principled compromise.  I recently heard a popular talk-radio host listing the Biblical qualifications for Church Elders and then applying those standards to the candidates.  Yes, those standards are absolute, but we are not choosing an Elder, we are electing a President of the United States.  The leading function of the State and the leading function of the Church are as dramatically different as the two presidential candidates are.
  
As obnoxious as Donald Trump may be, I cannot in good conscience or on the basis of principle cast my vote for a candidate who will continue to ruin our country with well-meaning but horribly flawed policies. Trump is no Messiah.  He may not even be a conservative.  But in terms of who will do the least damage to our nation and the world, and who will, at the very minimum, buy us enough time to step away from the very real cliff at which we stand, the choice for me is clear.  As a Christian, I will have to give an account for the choices I have made in this life.  The very freedom to think that way, or to write such things, is at stake in this coming election.  That is the very real choice set before us—will we vote to continue the “radical transformation” of America, or will we vote for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as our founders intended?  While I am not absolutely sure of what we will get with Trump, I am sadly and painfully confident of what we will get with the candidate of the left.  Of that, I am certain.