Note: The author would like to thank the Psalmist, Switchfoot, and Samwise for inspiring this column.
Back in May of 1999, I made a decision to leave the Democratic Party. It was an easy decision. I had been a Democrat for 11 years. I voted for Dukakis when I was a committed leftist. But, later, when I became a pro-life conservative, there was no room for me in the party. So I became a Republican and also joined the NRA. I’ve been a straight shooter ever since. Excuse me if that last line sounded heterosexist. I’m a work in regress.
As a committed conservative – one who many people think should be committed – I place ideology above party loyalty. It is true that I will not vote for any Democrat under any circumstances, not even if they seek my vote for local dog catcher. The image of Florida Democrats interpreting “chads” is burned in my memory forever. Mike Adams clings to a grudge longer than Al Sharpton clings to a discredited rape victim. But that doesn’t mean I will always vote Republican. Each candidate has to work to earn my vote. That is especially true if I view him as a member of the establishment, rather than a product of a grass roots movement.
Mitt Romney is not nearly as conservative as I would like him to be. So I did not feel comfortable supporting him going into the Denver presidential debate. I’m sorry to talk about my feelings. I know I’m a member of the NRA but I still have feelings. Just ask Ingrid Newkirk of PETA. I send her Christmas cards every year – although I know she does not appreciate that they are home-made and feature pictures of the deer I kill during the holiday season.
Sorry to digress. Now, let’s get back to my feelings.
Some people will say that the Denver debate changed their vote from Obama to Romney. But I am not among them. My vote was changed from going-to-sit-this-one-out to Romney. But it did not take a 90-minute debate to do it. It only took one line. He didn’t have me at “hello.” He got me when he scolded a boyish eye-contact-avoiding president for over-spending. Specifically, he got me when he looked right at Obama and characterized the current spending problem as “immoral.”
It was a home run. And it cut right to the heart of the nature of our spending problem. It is more than just a spending problem. It is a moral problem. To fail to grasp the depth of the moral deficit that makes possible our fiscal deficit is to misjudge the American political landscape altogether. It is to misapprehend the nature of the American constitutional experiment altogether.
Our nation is rooted in a deep tradition of respect for property rights. It is a tradition that was well understood until the Greatest Generation gave birth to the Gratest Generation (mis-spelling intentional) – a generation that now controls our nation’s purse strings. That generation has turned its back on core principles expressed by our Founders. In the process, it has jeopardized the existence of the republic.
Our Founders knew that our rights had a necessary moral component – a necessary moral dimension. In saying they were given by our Creator, they implied as much. But they implied much more than that. The most obvious implication is that God-given rights may not be taken from us by man.
But that idea is lost on the current political class. And they need to rediscover it.
Our Founders would have been shocked to see a budget devised by promise-breakers who knowingly lie to future generations in order to attain the power necessary to fund their deception. The promise-breakers know the collapse is inevitable. But they expect to be gone before it actually happens. Much has been said about a generation that has killed millions of its own offspring. More must be said about the millions it has robbed in order to ensure perpetual comfort and to avoid financial sacrifice.
In Denver, Romney spoke harshly to the current leader of that generation. His words echoed over the mountain tops and traveled through the valley in the shadow of debt. They reminded some of us that the shadow proves the sunshine. And that means there is some good left in this world and that it is still worth fighting for.