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The Path Forward

I share the deep sense of loss that engulfs millions of Americans this morning, in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s reelection and the continued Democratic dominance of the United States Senate. Nevertheless, I have another sentiment that I would like to share with my fellow conservatives: that all is not lost, and the future of America is not bleak. The pathway back for those of us who believe in limited government, free-market capitalism and the protection of life and marriage will be a long, tough road; however, it is a road we must walk together. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must not give up or go quietly into the dark night of secular socialism in this country.

Last evening, President Obama certainly won a second term, but he did not win a major mandate. The popular vote indicates a deeply divided nation, largely along partisan lines, that is more polarized now than when the President won in 2008. Republicans retained control of the United States House of Representatives, indicating that Americans aren’t all-out abandoning the concepts of fiscal sanity and economic liberty, or even social issues en masse. Instead, what we woke up to this morning is an America as confused about her identity as when we went to bed. I suppose this should be expected for, as Proverbs teaches us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” For decades now, America has been slipping toward moral relativism and economic collectivism, while still desiring the blessings that come from moral character and fiscal discipline. Obviously, Americans cannot have both, though we seem content to try for now.

The harsh reality of our present course will manifest itself, though, and that will be the unraveling of the liberal worldview. Our present fiscal course is simply unsustainable; it is not mathematically possible to run $ trillion annual deficits, accumulate a $16 trillion in national debt, and still expect to remain free and prosperous. The band-aid of quantitative easing (printing money) and government stimulus is going to come off eventually, and it will pull the scab off of our economic wounds when it does. When this happens, not if, but when, it will shatter the self-constructed confidence of millions of Americans who believe that America is impervious to the pain associated with a debt crisis.

As stagflation sets in, which is when prices skyrocket as wages fall, Americans will become increasingly disillusioned about the President’s economic policies. The President campaigned on the theme that recovery was on its way, but that he needed more time to deliver it. Now, time is not on his side, and the economy is absolutely his own. The millions of college students who will continue to work part time jobs with advanced degrees will grow more agitated, families will be forced to live off of less than they’re already scraping by on, and the pain will force Americans into a conversation about the principles that can make us prosperous again.

When Americans start looking for answers, conservatives in general, Christ-following conservatives in particular, must be prepared to answer their concerns. We must be prepared to prescribe a real pathway to prosperity, one that is paved with moral principles such as hard work, commitment to family, faith in God and belief in the value of every human life. It is not over for America, but the conservative movement must seek to win new converts, not just preach to the choir. The day of counting on one traditional constituency, namely white male voters, is over, and we need to get to work building an opportunity society of moral absolutes across racial and socio-economic lines. Conservative values are based on natural law, and these laws apply to all people, in all places, at all times. Those of us who adhere to these principles should be supremely confident in their appeal to all people, so long as we can make the case winsomely and with enthusiasm.

America has been in these dark places before, and she has always pulled back from the brink. I believe that our nation can be restored this time as well, but we will have to get to work rebuilding the cultural fundamentals that will make this recovery possible. Our economic crisis is a mere symptom of the real and unfolding cultural crisis that is radically redefining our country. We are now locked in a battle for the soul of America, not just our economy, but our very culture.

Keep the faith, and do not tire in the fight for freedom

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