A Few Post-Election Thoughts

From the cheap seats..

  1. I thought Romney would get a solid win. Boy, was I wrong.
  2. Pro-life politicians need to learn how to speak clearly, carefully, and winsomely at all times. That may be an impossible standard, given the media and electorate.
  3. People (including me) are fond of thinking that America is a center-right country that sometimes elects liberals to govern. I think we need to re-think that thought.
  4. It’s an odd country where the electorate is profoundly dissatisfied with the direction of the country and then votes for the status quo.
  5. Faithfulness begat Prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother. Cotton Mather
  6. The Democratic Party (and portions of the Republican party) has successfully turned politics into a religion. I’d be willing to bet that a large number of people voted for their candidate because they identified with his “tribe,” while being largely ignorant of his specific proposals.
  7. We may have reached the tipping point from a growth economy to a transfer economy. A growth economy enlarges the pie and lifts all boats (to mix metaphors). A transfer economy manages a shrinking pie. We just voted to fight over the shrinking pie.
  8. We’re witnessing the triumph of envy, resentment, and blame-shifting in American culture. The President ran ads saying that Romney is “not one of us.” He stirred up crowds with “voting is the best revenge.” For his entire first term, he blamed America’s woes on George W. Bush, House Republicans, the Japanese Tsunami, and so on. And 51% of the American people rewarded him for it. Class warfare worked. Demonizing success worked. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it worked because many of us are full of envy and resentment ourselves, and because we hate to take responsibility for our actions.
  9. The President vocally, clearly, and persistently advocated for same-sex marriage and the right to abortion. A substantial portion of the American people gladly embrace the culture of death.
  10. A sign of the times: A woman’s right to make herself barren is considered a part of reproductive rights.
  11. Jethro on leaders: Choose men who fear God and hate a bribe. Obama: Vote for me and I’ll keep the free abortifacients coming.
  12. This looks to me like a “father hunger” election. A fatherless generation is looking for a Father in Washington. The President won single women by 38%. The President, as a man abandoned by his own father, is in a unique position to appeal to the needs, desires, and fears of the fatherless (there’s a deep connection between father hunger, sexual “freedom,” and envy). He put out a famous ad about the life of Julia, a single woman who has most of her needs provided for her by the federal government, from high school through old age. In the liberal vision, the State replaces the father as the direct provider for the family. I predict that the State will make a lousy dad.
  13. On the father hunger note, I think Wilson’s book on the subject is probably one of the most important books on connecting the dots between fathers, envy, provision, abortion, environmentalism, homosexuality, the welfare state, and the gospel. Here’s a quotation I thought of last night: “Chesterton says somewhere that free love, sexual laxity, is the first and most obvious bribe that can be offered to a slave. The kind of freedoms for which the Left—ever friendly to the burgeoning state—agitates are the kind that can be indulged in a six by eight prison cell. You can look at porn in such a cell, you can fornicate in a cell, you can smoke dope, and so on. In contrast, the kind of liberties that conservatives want people to have are the liberties that allow them to move around the country, settle wherever they want, start a business, make money, and most important, keep that money in order to feed their families.” (Doug Wilson, Father Hunger)
  14. Get ready for the further Balkanization of America, the division of people along racial, class, and generational lines. I predict increasing generational conflict (old versus young, parents versus their children), centered around abortion, end-of-life health care decisions, euthanasia, the solvency of Medicare and Social Security, job creation, and so forth. Class warfare and the demonization of “the rich” (or at least the wrong kind of rich) will continue. And I have no idea how to think about racial polarization in the age of Obama.
  15. This is the flowering of the 1960’s sexual revolution (and associated movements). The media, government schools, universities, and culture-makers are overwhelmingly progressive and hostile to the gospel and the Scriptures. As someone said, you can’t fight a culture war if you don’t have a culture. Seems to me that figuring out what a godly culture is and cultivating it within our churches and communities is one of the chief challenges for Christians.
  16. Some day President Obama and all those who support the murder of unborn children will stand before the God who gives life. That’s a terrifying consolation.
  17. Upside: We’ll get to learn what it’s like to be Jeremiah and Ezekiel when Nebuchadnezzar was on his way to Jerusalem. I’ve always been curious.
  18. A hermeneutical question for Bible-believing Christians: Does God still judge nations today for specific sins, and do we have the ability to recognize his intentions in historical events? Natural disasters, willful blindness of leaders, societal disintegration: are these God’s judgment for specific sins and how can we know? It seems to me that recovering our prophetic voice means learning to stand in God’s counsel and then to interpret the present time in light of God’s authoritative word.
  19. A practical question for Bible-believing Christians: Will we hold the line on the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and gender in the face of increasing hostility, opposition, and marginalization? Will we continue to be the 7000 who don’t bow the knee to Baal?
  20. Here’s what I’m preaching to myself in light of the country’s downward trajectory:
    1. Love your wife. May she never desire to look to the State for provision and protection.
    2. Love your boys. May they never pray in their hearts, “Our Father which art in Washington.”
    3. Teach your students. May they think and feel and live like Christians all the way down.
    4. Pray for the mercy and justice of God. May His kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
    5. Remember that there are only two ways to live and two ways to die. And in God’s world, faithful death is always followed by resurrection.
    6. Cultivate a genuine counter-culture where God has planted you. Generational love and faithfulness; honor to godly authorities; wise husbands and fathers who provide for their households; strong wives and mothers who don’t fear what is frightening; care for widows, orphans, and the unborn and their mothers; and a readiness to give gospel love when the Lie comes undone.
    7. Hope in God and laugh at the time to come.

19 thoughts on “A Few Post-Election Thoughts

  1. Thanks Joe! Well articulated thoughts. Especially points 12 and 13.

    It’s extremely troubling to me that we have given up foresight and long term gain for short term gain. It’s doubly troubling to me that we would enter into willful slavery for fleeting pleasures. And I am not just talking about fleshly desires like drugs and sex. I mean instant financial relief from the government – a welfare state and transfer economy.

    One of the greatest gifts and commandments God has given us is to be an active part of his creation and dominion. He gave us work. He gave us purpose. He gave us a Redeemer. He gave us a Helper. Our Father wants us to explore his creation with him.

    America wales for a Father. So much so that we would take it in the form of a man who presides for 8 years and will never know us and makes promises he can’t keep.

    Misery loves company.

  2. One caveat for number 18, if God continues to punish nations for their sins, we should avoid the conclusion that Christians should then establish their own nation or territory to not be punished, or at the very least not as severely.

  3. Good thoughts, Joe. Here are a few of my own from the cheap seats across the pond:

    1. Whether it can be explained by demographics, governmental dependency, or the winds of moral or religious change, it does seem as if this election signals that a profound shift has occurred in American society. Pinning the election results on Hurricane Sandy, Obama’s smear campaign, or the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote abilities masks deeper currents that are flowing in our country.
    2. The country’s “downward trajectory” isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the church in every respect. The evangelical church here in England has gained certain strengths, I think, from living on the margins of the cultural mainstream. Not the postmillenialist’s perspective, perhaps . . .
    3. I read before the election that 157 of Princeton University’s faculty and staff donated to the presidential candidates: 155 to Obama; 2 to Romney. The two who donated to Romney were a visiting lecturer in engineering and a janitor. It wouldn’t surprise me if similar statistics could be produced for the other elite, secular universities. The political orientation of America’s colleges and universities probably shapes the cultural landscape more than we realize.
    4. As the State proves to be more and more of a lousy Dad, the people will eventually grow resentful. The largesse simply cannot continue. Witness Greece. Has America reached the GDP to debt “tipping point”? If not yet, we have to be close.
    5. As a friend of mine blogged recently, I am a believer in big government: “Of the increase of his government there will be no end . . .” (Isa 9:7).

    • Good thoughts, Alex. And don’t be so quick to write off optimistic eschatology because of the current trajectory. History moves toward the glorious future by fits and starts, through cycles of decline and renewal. America may be dying, but God is the God who raises the dead.

      In other words, I’m with your friend in point 5.

  4. I don’t know Joe. As someone who reads a lot of politics from a lot of sources every day I see Obama as a moderate liberal. If his politics on abortion were flipped I would see no good reason not to vote for him (or a democrat like him). Bill Saletan at Slate had an article today that says it better than I can.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2012/11/obama_the_moderate_republican_what_the_2012_election_should_teach_the_gop.html

    • Brad,

      Two thoughts. I’m not sure what’s moderate about adding 4 trillion to the debt in 4 years. Also, the political genius of Obama’s policies was to push many of the results of them until after the election (e.g. Obamacare). I think Obama is more radical than he’s portrayed himself, precisely because he needed to be re-elected. As one commentator put it, we’re about to experience Obama’s first term.

      Second, even if he were a moderate liberal in the mold of a Rockefeller Republican, that just says more about the fiscal confusion of the Republican party than it does give a reason to vote for him. The biggest issue on that front is the explicit appeal to envy and class warfare (the “eat the rich” mentality that many on the left have). For me, that’s reason enough not to vote for him.

    • Hi Joe,

      Before I respond, so you know where I’m coming from, I’ve voted straight-ticket republican on all state-wide and national offices for twelve years now, including this week. We’re on the same team.

      Regarding debt. Under Reagan, debt increased from 32.5% to 53.1% (as a measure of debt to GDP). Under Bush I it increased from 53.1% to 66.1%. Clinton in eight years effectively put us back to where Reagan left us – decreasing it to 56.4%. Bush II maxed out the credit cards and increased debt to 84.2% of GDP. In the last 32 years the only President to not rack up staggering debt is Clinton.

      Regarding envy and class warfare, if the sum total of conservative solution to debt reduction is to cut entitlement programs, are we not effectively declaring war on lower income people? We absolutely MUST reduce entitlement programs, but we must also cut defense spending and raise taxes. And why not raise taxes disproportionally on the upper income folks? Raising the rate from 33% to 40% for couples making over $250K (mind you that’s taxable, not gross, income) is hardly class warfare. I would prefer everyone’s rates went up, just that the wealthy’s rates would go up a smidge more than mine.

      I’ll go out on a limb and say Obama will make meaningful cuts to the budget in the next four years, and that House Republicans will do plenty of anti-new-tax posturing but for once ultimately come to a decent compromise.

      As I said above, I can’t vote for someone who is pro-choice. But toss that issue out and this is a guy who is arguably very moderate in a pragmatic way. I wish he was one of us.

  5. @Joe_Rigby. These 20 post election points are 100 percent correct! I totally agree, everyone who cares needs to read this, I am going to send it everywhere I can, thank you for absolute truth!!!

  6. I for one am not ready to give up on America yet, to surrender it as a lost cause. I love this country, and I’m inspired by those like Paul Ryan who have hope for its future.
    “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf.” Jeremiah 29:7

  7. Here are some thoughts on your blog posts one by one. I only write this out of my deep love for Christ, and our fellow man:
    1. –it just shows that you were eggregiously out of touch with the bulk of the country. I knew Romney would never win.
    2. Pro-life politicians are doing just fine with conveying their message; they are just not fully doing so. The unpinnings of deep arrogance is peeking out in your second statement on this.
    3. Yes, you must.
    4. the electorate was not ‘profoundly dissatisfied'; you again, clearly did not take time to listen to the other side. most in the electorate, as I heard it, wanted to see where current policies would lead.
    5. what are you saying here? the implications are dire.
    6 Large number of people voted for their candidate because they liked his POLICIES. your smug arrogance is peeking out again.
    7. this shows very little insight into true economics.
    8. Yes, most are guilty of not wanting to take responsibility for our actions; but to single out obama is ridiculous. Why not talk about Romeny? again, you are entirely dismissive of people who don’t agree with you politically.
    9. You are making a very vitriolic statement on two incredibly complex issues. It seems to me that you take enormous pride in your conservatism.
    10. YES, you’re right. it IS.
    11. Again, what are you trying to convey with this quote?
    12. I predict, with out the glory of jesus Christ in our lives, we ALL make lousy dad’s. why are you dismissing people for needing things differently from you? You hypocrite! How is needing a father THEIR fault? Why is it a moral strike against them?
    13. I don’t begin to know where to go with this.
    14. It’s always been this way, don’t blame Obama. “the wrong kind of rich”? I know the wrong kind of rich, those who see riches in dollar signs, tax breaks and subjugation of the poor and not those who see riches in the love and humility of Christ.
    15. Hostility to the gospel is omni present. How and why are you surprised? Christ predicted it 2000 years ago. of course the media is hostile, but SO ARE YOU and in a much more dangerous way.
    16. “you who are without sin, cast the first stone”; “Men look at the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart”
    17. The arrogance of this is truly unconscionable.
    18. I hope and pray that you stand in God’s council before you write another dismissive blog such as this.
    19. you shouldn’t “hold the line”. God needs no apologist, Christ does not need to be defended; all you’re doing is turning away those who need Christ’s love the most.
    20. How about you pray that God would grant you wisdom in this?

    Finally, a reminder, I write this because Christ is being misrepresented in this world and blogs like this only reinforce what it is many who do not believe think about christians. namely that we are judgemental, cruel, overly political hypocrites.

    I am stunned and absolutely horrified that you are in a place of spiritual leadership; leading people so callously to intertwine the glory of Christ with something so earth bound as politics and America. I write this because i say DON’T YOU DARE take my savior and make him so low as a political token for the way you want to see the world work. I won’t stand for it; no matter who is in office or if America even lives to see tomorrow.

    Thank you.May God be glorified in this an all civil discourse.

    • R.A.

      I’ll try to ignore the outpouring of the “love of Christ” and “civil” discourse in your accusations of vitriol, smug arrogance, ignorance, cruelty, and hostility to the gospel and just say a couple of things.

      On father hunger: I’m not blaming anyone for needing a father. I need one. You need one. We all need one. And that includes both earthly fathers and a heavenly Father. I just think that the federal government will be a lousy substitute for a father, and shouldn’t try to be.

      Subjugation of the poor: By “the wrong kind of rich,” I meant rich people who don’t support progressive policies. 8 of the 10 richest counties in the US voted for President Obama. Hollywood, media, and higher education (where there’s plenty of wealth floating around) overwhelmingly support the President. But the President doesn’t want to end the Hollywood tax cuts, or confiscate university endowments, because those are the good kind of rich people, the kind that support the president’s policies.

      On abortion: I know that it’s popular to think that abortion is a complicated moral issue, but murdering unborn children isn’t. We look back on Christians of generations past and wonder how they could possibly support race-based slavery or subjugation of indigenous peoples. Future generations of Christians will wonder how it was possible for Christians to support politicians who vocally and persistently endorse child-killing.

      Thanks for the comment :)

    • Joe,

      I am truly sorry I let my passions cloud the issues. I didn’t mean to myself sound cruel. U am so upset that issues like this are twisted with Christ, something hat you did NOT address.

      Also, abortion is a complex issue especially when there is no vote to give impoverished children who are saved from being aborted the proper things they need to be successful in this world. Your dismissing my proposals because I may have not been “civil” enough to you is not an excuse. We know we are all sinners and I in no way claim to be perfect, but I do also do not shy away from the cross of Christ even if it puts me in the cross hairs. You avoiding the topics I presented in favor of quoting my lack of civility (I thought I was quite civil) does nothing to add to the discussion. That is like discussing the fonts used in Shakespeare’s texts and think that in some way we are discussing the text themselves. The emphasis is in the wrong place.

      Now, would you care to address the points I’m trying to make. I really would like to hear your thoughts. Forgive me if my words were not Christ like, if they were, however, you have no right to dismiss them.

    • Oh and one aspect of the love of Christ is telling the truth even when it’s hard to hear. And for the record, I supported Romney since 2008; in the efforts of full disclosure.

    • And on point 16, I must add for clarity that you definitely cannot claim to be a Christian if Obama and others supposedly burning in hell is a “terrifying CONSOLATION”. Really? Losing a political election can be consolidated by imagining someone’s eternal separation from God? Didn’t Christ abandon the 99 sheep to go after he one? I hope all of your students read this so that you can be held to account for your words. If you were yet another pundit I would ignore this entirely; but you claim, through the pulpit, to be speaking for almighty God. Again I say, how dare you twist my Lords message? Tell me how you can do that? Please, I beg you, respond to what I am saying. I need to understand.

  8. R.A.

    Actually I wasn’t bothered by the tone (thus the smiley face). I was more amused by the irony of calling for civil discourse by calling someone hypocritical and arrogant. And I’m all for more robust debate and truth-telling, provided we’re not trying to tie the hands of one side by condemning them for being judgmental.

    In terms of disclosure, I actually opposed Romney in the primaries and voted for him as the lesser of two evils in the general election. I think he was a decent and generous man who would have at least attempted to deal with the debts and deficit (given his selection of Paul Ryan as running mate) and who would oppose expansion of child-killing.

    Judging by your first post, I’m guessing there’s a fairly large disagreement about economics. I think that trillion dollar deficits are bad, that passing a budget is good, and that pitting people against each other on the basis of how much money they make is driven by envy. It doesn’t matter what policies or promises one makes if you’re doing it with money that doesn’t exist. At some point, the bill will come due. Things that can’t go on forever (like exploding debt) won’t.

    On abortion, let me try to understand your position. Children born into poverty will find it difficult to succeed in life. The solution to this is to kill some of the children before they’re born, so that they don’t have to have a hard life. In the spirit of speaking the truth in love, that’s crazy. The possible difficulties of a child’s life doesn’t justify executing them. And the President, along with entire Democratic Party, not only justifies the execution but does so openly. God will not be mocked by that sort of brazen evil, no matter how many promises Washington makes about the good things they’ll provide people.

    • Joe,

      Again, I agree with your thinking on abortion; I am not saying that welfare negates a child’s life; I am only saying that it is quite easy today you are “pro life” and then not give any monies for the child or mother to survive on. Cutting education programs, welfare and health care is not something I see synonymous with “pro life”, thus I find it an easy scare sell to people who want to protect life with hour understanding the true party platform all together.

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