For the last thirty or so years, every election has been termed “the most important election in history” or described in similar hyperbole. Outcomes of elections are important, but few are “game-changers” as pundits regularly claim. For the first time in my life, we face an election that truly fits all of the exaggerated billings of the past. This election is truly the most important one in history.
An Inflection Point
The United States of America is truly at an inflection point where the outcome of this election will determine whether we continue to veer off-course or return to a conventional trajectory. The issue is whether we reinvent this country in ways that have failed everywhere else or return to the traditions and outcomes that have been the envy of the world. Those are the stakes expressed in raw terms.
The key figure in this election is one Barack Obama. What he represents and insists on imposing is a revolution in values, markets and what has been known as the American way of life. His opponent, Mitt Romney, hardly seems ideological enough to combat this direct assault on liberty. Romney seems to be a good and decent man, one that you might admire as a competent and fair boss. He does not convey the same intensity of mission as his opponent. Competency would certainly be welcome, but it is not sufficient. Soviet bureaucrats were competent as they administered to their unproductive tasks. Competency in pursuit of wrong goals is a liability rather than an asset.
The bases of the two parties do not appear equal in intensity. Many opponents of the president believe this election to be like those of the past. On the other hand there are Obama-detesters who have come to their strong positions via two routes — 1) the man is incompetent and made things worse; or, 2) he is out to destroy what was America. This anti-Obama feeling is strong and represents a larger minority of the opposing party than it did four years ago. Still it does not come close to matching the core of dependency voters who view each election in terms of life and death (or living well versus living). This intense core far outnumbers the Obama-detesters.
It is difficult to adequately express the importance of this election without sounding overly political or alarmist. David Solway achieves such a balance in his description of what is at stake:
The United States of America is now something alarmingly close to what we might describe as the rogue regime of Obamerica. The “end,” in the acceptation of “purpose,” of this strange new nation appears to be the reversal or erasure of its Republican heritage and its replacement by what Barry Rubin calls a stealth-leftist anti-American substitute. The projected “end” of Obamerica would seem to be nothing less than the material end of America as we have known it throughout its storied history. Its free-market economy is currently in tatters, its competitive edge and productivity blunted by a meretricious “stimulus” and by redistributionist economics, its Triple A credit rating downgraded amid concerns about the government’s budget deficit and rising debt burden, and its unemployment numbers beyond acceptable. Racial and ethnic divisions have been exacerbated by the president’s incendiary rhetoric. Owing to Obama’s policies, America’s network of reliable alliances is in disarray as the program of appeasement and rapprochement with its adversaries grows ever more emphatic. At the same time the power and authority of the erstwhile “leader of the free world” has started demonstrably to wane. And if Obama has his way and is re-elected, he will enjoy, as he confided to former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, even more “flexibility” to pursue his ends.
The looming choice for the U.S. on November 6 of this year is stark and unforgiving. The re-election of Barack Obama will mean the “end,” in its terminal sense, of the America of yore, of the constitutional republic on which the West has grudgingly depended for its defense and prosperity and whose citizens were once the envy of an ungrateful world. An unprecedented experiment in free market economics and individual liberty will have fallen victim to an unscrupulous agenda that intends its demise. Only the end of Obamerica can prevent the nation’s decline. History is about to be made — or unmade. A victory for Obamerica can come only at the expense of America itself, and a heretofore undefeated nation will go down to the first and greatest — and quite possibly lasting — defeat in the chronicle of its tenure.
This is what is at stake and what American voters will soon determine. Will it be Obamerica or will it be America? May they choose wisely.
It is truly frightening that one election can have such importance to a country.
Elections Were Never Intended To Be Life-Changing
The Founders never intended for an election to be so important. The Constitution was designed to keep government small and unobtrusive. The role of government was limited to ensure against its increasing power and importance. Its primary purpose was to provide defense nationally and protect property rights domestically. These services were public functions based on the assumption that they could be provided more efficiently jointly rather than privately.
The Leviathan that government became was never intended. Its current size, power and responsibilities contradicts the intent of the Constitution. If the Founders could see what their efforts spawned, they likely would conclude that living under King George was a better way of life than what we have evolved into. “Taxation without representation” seems better than the taxation with representation that we have today. It is hard to imagine things being much worse.
No election was ever intended to have the potential to change the framework of this country. That framework was intended to be beyond politics and beyond majority rule. Yet here we are, facing just such an election.
Barack Obama’s opportunity was not created by Mr. Obama. Two hundred years of political meddling and emasculating the Constitution have brought us to this point. From the very beginning, the Constitution came under attack because it prevented political figures from imposing their views of what was right on the people. Power-hungry politicians and rent-seeking voters were present from the beginnings of this country.
The Constitution was an enemy because it provided shelter from political dominance. Public nuisances, convinced their world vision was superior to others, began to chip away at the Constitution. The erosion over two hundred years has left us with nothing but a quaint historical artifact. The Rule of Man is now thought more important than The Rule of Law.
The New Consequences of Elections
Elections, designed to be rather meaningless events, suddenly have become the most important things in many peoples’ lives. The dependency class has a vested interest in whomever promises them a better standard of living at the expense of others. This constituency has no “skin in the game” so always votes themselves more. Both political parties have pursued them, ensuring the increase in their numbers and importance in elections. Today they represent almost 50% of the electorate. The late Milton Friedman pointed to 50% as the tipping point in a democratic society. This point could not be remedied via political means.
Barack Obama represents an existential threat to the way of life of the American people. If he gets elected, what we know as America will be forever changed. Electing Mitt Romney likely would delay this outcome. Even Ronald Reagan merely slowed the decline temporarily and Mitt Romney does not seem to be another Ronald Reagan.
If Obama is defeated, and I expect he will be, a bullet has been dodge. Romney’s economic policies will undoubtedly be better than Obama’s which never amounted to anything more than the hot air of hope and change and payoffs to political friends. The economic hole is deep and will be difficult to overcome even with proper economic policies. But an economic recovery does not end the real problem facing this country.
The underlying and seemingly unsolvable problem is the emasculation of the Constitution. That has enabled the Rule by Man to trump the Rule of Law. Arguably that is the root cause of our economic and other problems. Government has become too large, too powerful and too intrusive. Sadly, history shows that lawmakers never relinquish power willingly.
The country is divided along several lines — racial, ethnic, income, cronies, etc. The most important, for purposes of understanding politics, is the dependents versus the productive. The Democrat Party has played the dependency game to its advantage. That is why, despite the worst economic and foreign policy conditions in over eighty years, this election is considered too close to call.
Fortunately Barack Obama is an incompetent ideologue or his election would be ensured. Hopefully he will be defeated and the closeness to the end of the American way of life will shock people back to their senses. Barack Obama is merely a symptom of a bigger problem. Elections were never intended to be life-changing events. From here forward, every election threatens to end the American way of life unless and until we can return to our Constitutional roots. Few politicians want to see that happen.
Unless government can be re-caged, we will always be one election away from disaster. Defeating Barack Obama only pushes the problem off one election. At some point the American people will choose wrong and their way of life will be gone. Democracy always destroys itself.
This post originally appeared on American Thinker