“…[American Conservativism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism … American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition … Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom … The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip.”
I am afraid that the current tea party movement has the vim and vigor that it has because the radicals grew too fat and lazy in their chairs of authority and did not have the desire nor the inclination to keep the unprincipled conservatives properly satiated. But now the House has turned and the radicals must work to get themselves into shape so they can find the lowest price at which this brand of conservativism will prostitute itself. When that price is found, I am afraid that the backbone of the tea party will be found to be something akin to freshly kneaded dough. I hope I am wrong.
If you want to know what a person’s religion is, find out what they worship and give it a good wobble. If you want to watch a “non-religious” person have a “religious” reaction, find out their functional religion and say something bad about it. Any guy who has ever stood up for his momma’s good name on the playground knows what this is all about. Leroy says, “Your Momma wears combat boots!” And soon you and Leroy are rolling in the dirt with you cursing his entire family lineage. You got all wrapped around the axle because your mother provided your physical needs and cared for you and showed you affection and so forth. Leroy had challenged your chief provider and your source of security and therefore he obviously needed a good right-hook.
Now fast-forward to election day and watch the “religious” reactions when people’s idols get wobbled and/or toppled. In 2008, when Obama was elected as our President, you’d have thought many conservatives had just learned the earth had slipped out of orbit and was hurtling away from the sun. This reaction reveals to all who care to notice their functional savior. They viewed a conservative (conserving what?) approach to government as the thing that provided their security and hope for the future. Now, when we look at all the posturing by the political pundits and election pontificators, we see shadows of the same thing. They, both right-leaning and left-leaning agitators, are defending their functional saviors, and they have countless numbers of people who faithfully follow their commentary on the political state of affairs. If the left doesn’t lose 39 seats in the house then we will see celebrations because their functional savior has been preserved. If the right captures the 39 seats it needs there will be celebrations galore because their functional savior is one step closer to being back on his throne.
So tomorrow, don’t watch the news for the information they intend to give. Watch the news to see the reactions. Watch the news to see where people place their hope. But then check your own reaction to see if there is any politolatry there. And if your side doesn’t achieve their political goals and it ruins your whole day or you are tempted to despair, then you are worshiping a god whose throne wobbles every November. May I suggest you trade in this politolatry for a God whose throne has been secure since before the foundations of the world were laid. Sure, he died on a cross 2000 years ago, but that couldn’t stop Him either. Happy Election Day!