Too much of this election cycle has been driven by fear rather than ideas. If there is ever to be any restoration of Constitutional limits on the federal government, constitutional conservatives need to speak with one voice and be unafraid. We cannot panic.
How many times have you heard someone say that if Hillary wins, it means the end of the Republic? That has been one of the top reason people have given to me for why they are voting for Donald Trump. Voting for Trump because you see Hillary as a bigger threat is not an unreasonable motive as Dan McLaughlin and Patterico have pointed out today. Voting for Trump because “he alone” can save America is not reasonable in the slightest.
It’s often very tempting to believe that the time in which we live is wholly unique in history, but it is rarely true. People have a tendency to see their lifetime as the pivotal moment that all history has been building toward. It does not help when you are immersed in a media culture that portrays every election or political debate as an existential crisis. Honestly, how many consecutive “most important elections in history” can we have?
I’ve said to many friends and relatives if America is so close to being destroyed that it cannot survive Hillary winning this election then Trump is certainly not the man to rescue it. If this election truly is an existential crisis, electing Trump is at best a last ditch, Hail Mary pass in the waning seconds of the game. There is a reason Doug Flutie became famous for completing one of those—they are seldom successful. If we are that close to oblivion, I would prefer to forget about debating politics and make the most of whatever time I have left before the minions of Big Brother come to install my viewscreen.
Histrionics and hyperbole are great for getting ratings on TV and radio or traffic on a blog, but they don’t help people make good decisions. I was someone who really got caught up in that sort of rhetoric for a time. It doesn’t affect me anymore. I don’t claim any special intellectual insight or anything like that. I think I just ran out of energy. Being afraid and outraged is tiring. Faced with a Republican nominee who I could not defend and a Democrat who in a sane world would have disappeared from political relevance decades ago, I simply had to stop. I couldn’t support either of these people in good conscience. Once I had made that decision, the fear was gone. My mind had moved on to pondering what we do next—how do we fix this?
The first step is to stop letting politicians and media personalities stampede us like a herd of frightened cattle. We need to take to heart the biblical challenge used by a newly elected Polish Pope at the height of the Cold War, “Be not afraid.” We should also take to heart the admonition from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy published a couple of years later. “Don’t panic.” Someone will win the election and whoever it is will be neither a savior nor an executioner for America. The next President’s time will come and go just as it did for the 44 previous ones. If not, I’ll see you at morning calisthenics.