I was pretty angry last night, as I'm sure you can tell from the post below this one. It seemed to me a cruel and ugly thing that so many of my fellow citizens could so blindly select a man who is so great a partisan of the evil that is abortion to be our leader; truth be told, it still does, but in keeping with my desire to put as charitable an interpretation on yesterday's election as possible I've come to the conclusion that the vast majority of those who voted for Obama do not necessarily accept this evil in its fullest, but are instead lamentably unintelligent, easily deluded, seriously and negligently misinformed, or, most likely, some combination of all of these things.
I remember feeling much the same way when Bill Clinton was first elected president. How could Americans have been so utterly thoughtless as to elect a supremely unprincipled pro-abortion crooked politician as Mr. Clinton to lead the nation? But they had; there was no getting over it.
I was in college at the time, and my fellow pro-life Catholic classmates were, most of them, as stunned and horrified as I was. But there wasn't any of the leftist nonsense that proclaimed "He's not my president!" It would have been easier then if we could say that; it would be easier now, too.
I was studying English literature at the time, and I couldn't help but think of The Tempest, and Prospero's heartbreaking words about Caliban: "...this thing of darkness I/ Acknowledge mine." No, I wasn't calling Clinton a "thing of darkness," but I was recognizing that the cultural forces which had propelled him into office lay like a foul cancer at the roots of our nation: self-interest, class warfare, greed and envy, the ultimate act of murderous selfishness that is abortion, the desire to move beyond our common Christian values to a post-Christian secular materialist basis on which to build our completely material and individualistic existence, and so on.
And so, like it or not, Obama is our president, even if he reflects a deep chasm of immoral relativism and blind selfishness that has always been our nation's ame damne, in a manner of speaking. His emergence is proof that that "thing of darkness" which haunts us is still present: our worst natures, our ugliest realities, our most unprepossessing faces, our most unworthy ambitions, all of them conspiring together to create the stereotypical twenty-first century American: proud, selfish, greedy, materialistic, lazy, gluttonous and vain; and these faults are responsible for the election of a man who promises to take from the rich and give to you so long as you bow down, to make sure life is easy and pleasant for you, so long as you overlook the death of the unborn, to help you, so long as you don't mind surrendering more and more of your freedom to the nanny-state.
There's a youtube clip out there showing Obama laughing (as he speaks to Planned Parenthood) about how the culture war is "so nineties;" and we've all seen the "bitter--cling to God, guns, religion" statement repeated ad nauseum. Someone like Obama sees everything in terms of a power struggle: people fought the culture war not because they believed in objective good or evil, but because it was their way of lashing out at the people in power they disagreed with; people cling to religion not because they believe it's true, but because it gives them refuge at a time when their livelihoods are threatened by globalism and they are constantly reminded that they are racist oppressors--even if they've never personally been racists or oppressed anyone. Such a man is inherently a materialist, no matter what faith he claims to profess--and sadly, many, many Americans who call themselves Christian are just as much materialists; they go to church on a Sunday here and there, perhaps, but they believe they are responsible for their prosperity and that the single-minded and focused pursuit of wealth and material goods is a fitting occupation for a Christian. Such a Christian is quite likely to believe we can bring about heaven on earth by adopting this plan to end poverty and that program to end war; such a Christian is willing to take the devil's trade of "overlooking" abortion in pursuit of these seemingly-worthy goals--for after all, they reason, without any war or any poverty or any racism or any oppression who will want an abortion?
It is tragic, really, that they forget the Fall, that they forget that our greatest battles have never been fought in the realm of the material. It is tragic that they forget the Cross, that they forget that Jesus disappointed many of His followers by not overthrowing the Roman government and filling the homes of the faithful with endless miracle-bread that cost them nothing, so that they could enjoy an earthy paradise of ease and pleasure. It is tragic that they are still looking for such an earthly savior--it is tragic, too, that so many think they have found one.
We will always have war so long as one man wants what another has. We will always have poverty so long as one man cheats another out of what is rightfully his. We are likely to have more of both when we are led by people who forget these things, who forget that the evils that lurk within men's souls are not solved by a five-point plan or addressed by a socialist world-view. We will always be capable of being in the grip of evil, so long as we are willing to compromise with evil or accept evil instead of remaining resolute in our fight against it; we can't trade the mirage of a "solution" for poverty or war for the reality of the evil of the slaughter of the innocent unborn.
But the fatal weakness that lies at the heart of America has been this belief that a utopia is possible--if only we accept this evil or overlook that one. For our ancestors, the evil was slavery, and every effort was made to work with it, overlook it, restrict it, permit it to spread, and so on, until the abolitionists began to touch the hearts of their fellow-men and enlighten them to the cruel and unjust reality that slavery was, awakening in their better natures the desire to do away with this great wrong. For us, today, that evil is abortion, with its associated evils of contraception, divorce, and sex outside of marriage--the poison fruits of the sexual revolution that have made our nation weak and our families' security precarious. So banal and omnipresent is this evil that we expect our children to be corrupted by the very adults who should protect their innocence; so ugly are the consequences of this evil that we speak and act as though virtue and chastity are impossible and idealistic goals with no basis in reality, instead of the signs of a truly healthy and free culture.
The evil that permeates our culture has chosen Obama to be its fitting representative. He is everything they want in a president, and his involvement in and acceptance of the Culture of Death is, at at the heart of it, the very thing they want. Because what they want, in addition to easy living and free goodies provided by the work of others, is sex without consequences--and Obama has promised them that above all.
When Bill Clinton was elected, some of my college professors held an informal seminar for the students to discuss the question on everyone's minds: What now? I recall that one professor spoke movingly about our need for prayer, for getting down on our knees and turning to God. The next professor to speak applauded his colleague's sentiments, but added, "Sure, we've got to get down on our knees. But when we get back up again, we've got to do something." I think that this professor was right.
We do have to do something. We have to target this evil at the heart of American culture, this evil that will destroy us. We have to fight it in our families, our churches, our communities, our towns and cities, and so on. We have to shine the light of truth on the lie that is the sexual revolution, and show it for the sick and hopeless evil that it is. The culture war is not a thing of the past; it's only just beginning. And the election of our Abortion President illustrates as almost nothing else could just how right and just and necessary this battle is.