Monday, November 19, 2012

Political Conservatives Give Thanks

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth
by Jennie A. Brownscombe. (1914) A mythologized painting showing Plymouth settlers feasting with Plains Indians.

[From Billlifka] The Presidential Election is Over. Now What?

As Thanksgiving Day, 2012 approaches, some followers of the political scene will give fervent thanks while others remain mired in the gloom that follows a defeat of their chosen standard bearer. A majority doesn’t give a damn one way or the other. Arguably, the latter group has it most wrong. The election results will make a huge difference in their lives and the younger they are, the more difference will they experience. One hopes they will remain happily in ignorance to celebrate with those whose candidates won, at least for Thanksgiving.

Downcast political Conservatives are the focus of this essay. May it help them reflect on the blessings that still remain, those which could return and the role citizens could play in causing a return. Some are moving from the United States and others are checking the possibilities of their doing so. Many who are less financially well off and more combative are promoting secession proposals. There are worse reactions but, also, better ones that provide more personal satisfaction and a likelihood of success. First, one might recall the blessings that remain.

60% of state governors are Republican. Typically, they’re not at the rightmost limit of the political spectrum but they’re far removed from the other limit, especially on Constitutional issues and fiscal constraint. (Thank you for this blessing.) A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives is Republican with such members sharing the values of the Republican governors. (Thank you for this blessing.) Like the title of their organization, legislators in the lower House are the most representative of high officials with the roots of their constituents closest to them. That these governors and representatives remain seated suggests a very different “mandate” than that brandished by the president and his cohorts. (Thank you for this blessing.)

The U.S. Constitution remains the fundamental law of the country. (Thank you for this blessing.) It’s being weakened and disregarded, but it’s there. When Obama appoints more Supreme Court justices, major damage will be inflicted, no doubt. That won’t happen without loud protests from a minority in the senate that might draw attention to real issues rather than flaky debating points of the campaign. (If so, we will give thanks for that blessing.) The economy remains weak and it may “go south” again if Obama plays political games in “fiscal cliff” bargaining in December or in a resumption of his regulatory and redistribution extremes in his first term. Consequences of these could reach catastrophic proportions and Americans of all economic levels would suffer immensely, especially those at the lowest levels. On the other hand, that might awaken citizens to the dangers of big government moving the nation away from individual freedom and a market economy. (If so, we will give thanks for that blessing.)

If more citizens remember to whom we are giving thanks there may come a time when religion will be on the rise rather than on a decline. People have a way of turning to God when in trouble. (If that happens, we will give thanks for the blessing.) Republicans have two years to get their act together. There’s not much wrong with their platform, if they stick to high impact matters. They must learn how to talk to Hispanics and young women. They must jettison the few really dumb candidates who somehow get on the ballot. They must set aside petty squabbles. It’ll take great effort but it’s possible. (If it happens, we will give thanks for the blessing.)


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