Today is December 8, 2006, exactly one month since Americans learned the results of the critical 2006 elections. It's difficult to encapsulate an election with words, to express accurately why a nation voted the way it did. In the case of this election, there have been various suggestions as to the root cause behind the GOP loss, often conflicting ones. I've had a month to gather my thoughts, and there are several things that have stood out to me as I've watched Washington gear up for a change of hands yet again.
On November 8th, I journaled some of my thoughts regarding the national election results on my flight home from the pro-life campaign I'd been working on:
".....I am thoroughly chagrined at the November 7th results nationally. What happened to the values voters?? What happened to the new era of conservatism, the awakening that was supposed to be taking place in the hearts and minds of the American people? How can Democrats take control of the House, and maybe the Senate, by spouting anti-war rhetoric barely 5 years since September 11th?
How can Arizona refuse to accept that marriage is a union fit only for a one man/one woman partnership? How can the citizens of Arizona reject the sacred institution of marriage, an institution that has been the base of civilization since the world began? What did they think 'marriage' meant?
How can a good, God-fearing leader like Rick Santorum lose by such a wide margin in a state like Pennsylvania? How can the steady values of Jim Talent be traded for the wild-eyed liberal rants of a woman like Claire McCaskill?
How can Missourians approve an Amendment to the MO Constitution that enshrines blasphemous experimentation on human life in Missouri almost forever? How can they allow themselves to be blinded by the lies and slick deception of greedy financial geniuses who stand to gain at the cost of Missouri taxpayers?
How can Republicans have used their years in leadership so poorly? How can 12 years of majority status on Capitol Hill result in larger government, higher deficit, and greater attacks on traditional morality? How has the long arm of government extended its dreadful grasp over the citizenry while self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives crafted the budget and made the calls in Washington?
How can all this have crept up so subtly and quickly? Why is the next generation still being fed the liberal line in America's public schools?......"
Yes, there were questions after November 7th, some of which have been answered, many of which have not been. I read several political commentaries after the election, yet none stood out to me quite so much as this thought from commentator Jan Markell:
"Many Americans wanted change and 'a new direction'. For them, just about any change and/or new direction will do."
True, isn't it? So many voters, disappointed that the current leadership in Congress had not solved their problems, or perhaps disgusted with the present corruption, were ready to move on with whomever offered a fresh start.
It's tragic that we live in a generation who seems ready to follow anyone if they are loud and influential enough. Americans rightly wanted change in government, yet many didn't bother to consider the implications of the direction they were choosing when they took an abrupt u-turn on November 7th. When the facts are not thoroughly investigated, people can easily end up voting against their own interests. Many Americans allowed themselves to be blinded by the left's new face, and will most likely regret that decision in the near future.
Several months ago, I read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and gleaned some fascinating revelations on human nature and the way government works. Near the beginning of the play, Casca and Cassius discussed Caesar's recent abuses of power. Cassius says:
"And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws what trash is Rome...."
Few things have been said more truly. As long as there is law, there will be law-breakers, and as long as government exists, tyrants and immoral leaders will be attracted to it like flies to a picnic dinner. There is one prerequisite, however, for tyrants to exist: they must have followers. They need hoi polloi, the blind masses who will hang on their every word and worship them with the fervor due a god. Without the people, their very livelihood is gone.
"I know he would not be a wolf, but that he sees the Romans are but sheep...."
Passive sheep invite corrupt, unjust leaders. An apathetic, uninformed country lures those who would seek its destruction like little else can.
We cannot eliminate the world's tyrants and misguided leaders, but we can do something about their livelihood, the base on which they thrive. It is not possible for unjust governors to establish themselves in the wake of an informed, educated, active populace. If society is vigilant and wise, tyranny is nearly impossible.
The answers for America's problems are not found in a party, and never will be. The solution to governmental unrest is found in the people. The choices they make determine the course that society will take.
What lesson can America learn from the election results of 2006? Perhaps this: there are enough sheep in this country already. It's time for a new breed.