Lines in the Sand

Earlier I promised to throw in my two cents on the election now that it seems Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee. I asked you to check out a post by Pastor Douglas Wilson and one by Daniel Alders. Where Pastor Wilson refuses to support Romney on principle, Mr. Alders on principle cannot let Obama win.

These are not uncommon arguments, and they’re both worth taking a minute to consider. On the one hand, Mr. Alders is right: Obama can cause more damage than Romney, and can do so faster. He is also right that we have virtually no chance of electing a third party candidate as an alternative to Romney or Obama. In choosing not to vote Romney, and certainly by encouraging others to do so, we increase the chance of an Obama win when we have a chance to stop it. We are, indirectly, giving a chance to a candidate who is against much of what we stand for.

On the other hand, if we are to support Romney, we are directly supporting someone who is against what we stand for. Now, admittedly, Romney is less of an atrocity than Obama, but that doesn’t stop him from being atrocious. Within certain limits, we might be willing to put up with the badness of a more centrist or even liberal Republican. For instance, I might have considered voting for Santorum despite my differences with him had he managed to win the primaries. But how far is too far? Where do we draw the line?

Romney is a notorious flip-flopper, and his stance on abortion is uncertain. Political decisions can be gambles, and I might have been convinced to roll the dice on his commitment to his most recent views, but my patience has worn thin, and this is not the only place he has problems. He’s easy on domestic partnerships for homosexuals and recently hired an openly gay man as his spokesman on foreign policy. He opposed the recent healthcare law, while having supported something similar in Massachusetts. He also favored a bailout of the auto industry. And I find it hard, in good conscience, to vote for a Mormon, especially when folks today are so willing to declare Mormonism Christian.

In all that I see as much danger for this country as there is in voting for many Democrats. I see plenty of risks and dangers, but not one redeeming value. He is a statist, socially moderate at best, and inconsistent. I cannot in good conscience vote for such a man.

It is reasonable to point out that Obama is worse, but I’m not being asked to support him. Yes, this means there is a larger chance Obama will win, but I have two things to say to that. First, if Obama wins, it’s no secret that he’s a liberal statist and his mistakes will all be ascribed to liberal statism. But if Romney wins, he is a Republican, and therefore his mistakes will be ascribed to conservatism. And, if Joel Osteen’s equivocation is any indication, possibly to Christians.

The second thing I have to say is this: we cannot continue to give ground. Liberals have had such an impact on this country since the sixties because they were tenacious, snatching at every inch available and giving up nothing. Conservatives, on the other hand, have fatalistically resigned themselves to cutting their losses. We elect Statism Lite and expect it to weigh down the radical statists.

But with this strategy, we never gain ground. We never win battles, we only fight to the draw. If we never grow a backbone, if we never stand as a counterculture and fight for our beliefs, we will never change the direction this country is going. We complain about compromise in Washington, but every time election season rolls around, we compromise at the voting booth in the name of cutting our losses. Fine, maybe we won’t lose the country all at once, but we will prove to the liberals that their victory is inevitable and they should keep trying.

No, we have to be every bit as tough as the opposition. We must demand grit and a commitment to the truth. If we want uncompromising candidates, we too must be uncompromising. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. So, for me, this is the line. I will not vote for a candidate that means nothing but a slow death.

So where does that leave us if Obama gets reelected? In other words, have we gained anything, and are we to be held accountable for what Obama does? First off, we have gained our integrity. And if that doesn’t sound like much to you, maybe you should reconsider whether those corrupt Washington bureaucrats really do represent you well. We have also taught the Republican establishment that if it wants our loyalty, it needs to give us something to work with. This means that the next time around, maybe we’ll get the guy we want.

But are we to be held accountable for what Obama does wrong? Quite frankly, absolutely not. It’s a twisted logic that makes a man who refuses to choose between two evils into one who supports the worse of them. A refusal to support either candidate does not mean you support the one that wins- it means you didn’t support either one. Pretty straightforward.

Maybe such a person didn’t do all in their power to stop the bad guy, but not everything in our power is the right path to take. We still have a system of values, and it doesn’t go out the window when things get scary. One of the things that system does not allow is fighting one wrong decision with another. And so I will not vote Romney.

A note to those perusing this site who are more familiar with my artsy posts, reviews, and other less touchy subjects: I have friends and family who are Democrats and other brands of liberal, independent and libertarian. I love these people very much. But I believe what I believe, and I won’t change that in order to avoid offending them. If our friendship is worth keeping, it can survive these differences. Plus, I’m pretty sure we still have in common the love of wood smoke and good stories.

Have a blessed week.