In sight of the Deluge
The Republican revolution of 1994 ended last night.
The Democrats control the House, will most likely govern the Senate and controlled most of the governorships up for election this year.
Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.
Captain Ed offers some insightful post-election analysis.
Mark Shea waxes Chestertonian about the fall of the hubretic former majority:
Some folks are already forecasting the Apocalypse. I urge such people to get out more. And as you take the Autumn air, remember the hysteria of the Left two years ago when Bush won. It's true that he's bungled things quite badly in many ways, as the Left feared. But the world is still here, the concentration camps remain unbuilt, and the gassing program has been indefinitely delayed. I submit that everybody take deep cleansing breaths and remember the elections are followed by--other elections. If the idea-free Dems prove themselves to be as idea-free as they appear, then they too will be gone again in a couple of years.Good advice.
The Left, being largely composed of secularists, generally has no transcendent vision of things. The loss of an election is treated as a world-historical ultimate, with prophecies of apocalyptic doom and a strong tendency to blame the voters as stupid or evil for not seeing the Ultimate Goodness embodied in liberalism. Those who profess the gospel must not follow suit. Politics is provisional, temporary, and deeply not-eternal. A loss is loss, not a sign of the End. So the Right should pick itself up, ask, "what happened?", learn from prudence and not from a mindless ideology, and move on.
There will be other days.
Then, of course, there's the absurd:
We have the culture we want. We have the leaders we want.
When those whom we the people elect forget to honor our convictions, we remember to boot them out of the capital. The Republican Congress--especially under President Bush--had become just such a motley crew. After twelve years in power, the Republicans had become just as prone to corruption and wasteful spending as their Democratic predecessors had been. When bloggers of every stripe have to hunt down the porkmasters, then the Republican leadership has passed its sell-by date.
As for the war: yes, it's execution has left far too much to be desired. And as the blatently obvious civil war continues to consume the newly-liberated nation, the repeat-track message from the White House struck the joe-and-jane six-packs in the US as a departure from reality or cynical manipulation.
Conservatives tired of the Republicans hosting a Real-Politic domestic policy and a Wilsonian-idealist Foreign policy. If the GOP wants to regain their trust, they had better return to the principles that their core constituents treasure. Otherwise, the visionless Democrats will hold sway over the ambivalent center; they'll lock up Congress for more than two years and perhaps regain the Executive branch in 2008.
Our misguided politics stems from our misconstrued anthropology. Our society races between the erroneous extremes of our flawed conception of humanity. Either we belong in the cogs of that perfect machine, community, or we must celebrate our absolute individuality to the unteenth degree. We're either part of a mass or a sacred individual.
What we're not is people. We lack the fundamental understanding of the human being as a person.
Our personhood is defined by our integrated individuality in relationship with everyone else: God, family, friends, neighbors, collegues, strangers, nationals. Our participation in family and community rooted in place marks the simplest unit of our society. When we recognize this essential truth of our shared lives, we stand on the bedrock that makes effective and ethical policy possible.
The sooner our society embraces the truth, the sooner we'll have the leaders--and culture--that we need.
Unfortunately, a rather annoying human reality called original sin keeps getting in the way of this collective epiphany of ours. Its the reason why the central truth of Catholic Social teaching that I've inadequately summarized remains untried to this day.
Thus, another election has come and gone.
The revolution is over. Long live the revolution.
Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
Just give it time.