Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning Brings Reflection

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.


Anonymous said...

A culture that embraces Obama and all that he represents while mocking Sarah Palin as some kind of freak is in serious trouble. My only hope is your charitable interpretation that people are stupid and uninformed and were hypnotized by a notion of "change" without thinking about what this change would be. The popular vote was not a landslide after all. We have a solid group that knew which side to vote for. We must pray that a good portion of the other side can be turned around. Thank you, Red, for all your well-written and thoughtful posts.

j. christian said...

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.

Yes! I think that's exactly right. Abortion is downstream from "sex with no consequences." The sexual revolution has completely hoodwinked everybody, and as deeply entrenched as it is in our culture now, I think it might hold more traction in the culture wars than the anti-abortion aspect.

Maybe the sexual revolution has to run through its logical conclusion before everyone wakes up and realizes just how morally bankrupt we've become. Something inside has to rebel at the dehumanization of it all. Somehow, women need to wake up and realize that their "liberation" is actually enslavement by men via another route. Somehow we need to reject consumerism in all its forms, realizing that "sex with no consequences" is just another consumerist lie...

Red, you're on to something.

Anonymous said...

I heard on the radio today that if he complete this term, presidency, this will be the longest he has been at one job. I wonder if that is true.

Jennifer F. said...

Wow, you're on fire! I love this post and your last one. I think that one of the things I've found most disheartening is the attitude from fellow conservatives of, "Oh, well, let's all unite and sing kumbaya and congratulate President Obama." I just don't understand how any conservative, especially a Catholic, could accept the outcome of this election nonchalantly.

"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.


Anonymous said...

I admit I voted (one time) for Clinton. At the time I had no real idea what abortion was. It was all couched in "right to choose" verbage.

For me, the revelation came while having difficulty conceiving. Reading all those pregnancy books really hit home for me what abortion actually was.

Red, what we need is an "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Something that is accessible to all and can move people to actually THINK about what abortion really is. Show how it affects people's lives and the horror of what is happening to the baby. We have to personalize it for everyone so they can identify with either the suffering mother or baby. People have to vescerally reject abortion the same way they rejected slavery.

Does that make sense?

Deirdre Mundy said...

I still can't believe my country has elected a man who thinks it's OK to leave babies to die, alone and unloved, in trashcans and closets.

I have to tell myself that they didn't know... that they didn't pay enough attention, that they didn't see the ads or read the papers.

Because if people DID know that about him, and voted for him anyway.... well.... then I want to take my whole family and move to a commune somewhere in the mountains and raise goats and never deal with the rest of the world again.

In the end, I guess this election is just another reminder.. we must be in the world, but not of it.. and if you think the world's improved, and that you CAN be of it... you're just deluding yourself...

But I just want to cry, when I think of some of the seemingly kind people I know who voted for infanticide..... And I can't bear to talk to them right now.... because it just seems so....ucky....

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. I have been quiet at work all day. There is so much joy all around me (excpet for the dispappointment that gay marriage lost) that I realize how utterly disconnected I feel from my coworkers. Just know that you are not alone. It is truly heartbreaking.

trina said...

Red, you are clearly speaking from a sense of great disappointment. I definitely understand that. But the way you have characterized Obama supporters is not worthy of a thinking blogger. To say that they voted for him because they are lazy and sexually irresponsible idiots is far too simplistic. It's also not very charitable. I know you can reach into your heart and try to understand what is good about Obama supporters.

Red Cardigan said...

Trina, I didn't actually say that about Obama supporters. I said that about our culture. Our culture produces many kinds of voters, but right now our culture produces hardly anyone capable of understanding such things as philosophy, moral theology, virtue, the eternal verities, etc. It's all about instant gratification, no rules, and covetousness transformed into some kind of ideal.

CrimsonCatholic said...

Abortion is downstream from "sex with no consequences."

Not that I would attribute anything remotely like this intention to you, but I wonder if even the "sex with no consequences" is buying into Obama's "punished with a baby" language game. Having a child is not a "consequence." It is a blessing, a purpose. Contracepted sex is sex devoid of purpose, both in the unitive AND the procreative aspects. A better description of it would be "loveless sex" or "meaningless sex" or "mindless (or moronic) sex."

In particular, that last one seems to carry the right amount of pejorative meaning, since people tend to have a gushy, sentimental notion of love and even revel in the meaningless action as whimsical. But if you call someone a moron, an idiot, a stupid child who can't even be trusted to take care of himself, then I think it is a gutshot for these people who pride themselves on their autonomy. For some reason, I think if we beat on the fact that anyone who has premarital sex is stupid (which is true, maybe not generally, but with respect to this subject), it might actually get the point across.

"Sex without consequences," by contrast, implies that the negative outcome is something that smart people should not want to experience, even if they deserve to do so. Consequently, someone who avoids them is clever or cunning; he has "gotten away with it." Particularly when most people are conditioned to think "no harm, no foul" with respect to things like drunk driving or speeding, the notion of avoiding consequences may be viewed positively.

Rebecca said...


I had never thought about the "sex w/o consequences" thing in that way, though I have been vaguely uncomfortable with that emphasis without knowing why. I think you are right on; you've pierced to the heart of it.