Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Storms



No matter how hard I try to keep this blog updated, it seems like life is determined to side-rail me.  First, I had that family emergency that dominated September and most of October, and then my area gets hit with a possible candidate for Storm of the Century!  But I must persevere, for in the words of the great Catholic G.K. Chesterton:

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." 

Having quoted that, Hurricane Sandy was certainly more than an "incovenience" (does that make it an epic adventure for the optimist?  Am I now Bilbo Baggins?).  This storm blew through my community like an iron fist, toppling countless trees, smashing roofs, smashing cars, and, of course, destroying the electrical grid.

Speaking of which:  for all of you weekend survivalists - you know, the ones who like to pretend they are starring in their own episode of The Walking Dead - being without power for an extended period of time is NOT FUN.  I recall back in '85 when cat 4 Hurricane Gloria hit the area - we were without power for five days.  I remember that experience seeming like a lifetime to me.  The ol' timers around here even whisper of a time in the '70s when an epic ice storm swept through, depriving the area of power for seven days, something I only dimly recollect.  But this time around proved far worse than anything I ever dared to imagine.  Try eleven days without power.  Yeah, not fun.



If someone would have told me that I would be without power for such a length of time, I probably would have fretted about losing access to my beloved PC, the television, my reading light, or some other convenience of the modern world.  Truth is, I didn't miss those thing at all...because I was just trying to survive (truthfully, I did miss my reading light.  It was the only exception as I need to read before going to bed).

When you are without power for eleven days, you lose a lot of important things:   food, heat, and medications that require refrigeration.  Hygiene begins to suffer due to a lack of hot water and cleaning appliances.  Gasoline becomes scarce because electricity is needed to power the pumps.  Even your cell phone stops working because the cell network needs power too.  This all happened to my family.  It was horrible, like a chapter ripped from William Forstchen's One Second After (or, yes, an episode of The Walking Dead).  Day after day this grind continued, and day after day the desperation grew.  I can honestly say I that I have never experienced such a dire situation before in my life.  It has left me...stunned.


And don't even get me started on the Nor'easter that blew through a week later....


I suppose one good thing about being without power for that period was - yes - the election results.  Being forced to listen to the results via a crackly radio - as if it was not Obama vs. Romney, but Roosevelt vs. Landon (a very appropos analogy seeing the similarity of the Obamacare & Social Security debates) - was a blessing as I didn't have to see Obama & Co.'s smug faces.  What is more, not being forced to watch the so-called "experts" (you know, the fellas that got it all wrong - people like Karl Rove and Bill Kristol) pretending like they saw this coming all along, and are now prepared to forecast the next election with continued accuracy, was another blessing....

I'll be honest: I am stunned by the results.  Not because I believed Romney was such a great pick - I think I have made that clear on this blog more than once - but because Obama managed to defy Political Science 101:

  • According to Poli Sci 101, the American people vote with their wallets.  That is, if people feel wealthier, they tend to support the incumbent; if poorer, the challenger.  Obama has presided over one of the worst economies in decades (U6 unemployment rate of over 14%)...yet he won re-election.
  • According to Poli Sci 101, if a majority of people believe the nation is on the "wrong track", the incumbent loses.  President Obama had a "wrong track" percentage of 57%...yet he won re-election.
  • Not according to Poli Sci 101 but past experience, if a president has a major foreign policy scandal before an election, that tends to doom his chances.  Obama has the growing Benghazi scandal...yet he won re-election.

So what are we to make of this?  I think there are three possibilities:

  1. This was a freak election of no great significance.  In other words, the American people voted in an unexpected fashion for a variety of reasons that lack any sort of coherent rationale.  
  2. The America people have rejected the Republican Party and have fully embraced the Democrat Party on ideological grounds.
  3. Romney failed to capture the base of the GOP and lost because of it.

Personally, I think it is a mix of 1 & 3.  I believe #1 to be the case because just two years ago the Democrat Party suffered one of the worst congressional defeats in decades.  Am I now to assume that a mere two years later, a period of time that contained no new revelations or achievements, that the American people have done an ideological 180?  Unless the American people are schizophrenic, I doubt it very much.  Political sentiment doesn't turn on a dime like that - well, not without severe political instability in the country, something that would herald an imminent collapse of the American political system, so lets not go there...for  now. As for #3, it is now known that 3 million registered Republicans did not turn out to vote.  Usually, a lack of interest in the nominee is to blame.

Seeing that I find two out of three choices credible, I reject #2, the choice that the majority of GOP political pundits are seizing upon.  And this is what distresses me the most.

You see, I actually admire the Leftist political mindset.  The Left understands that it is not about the battle, but about the war.  This is why the Democrats in Congress were so unrelenting in pushing ObamaCare through - they knew full well that they would pay a price in the next election, but they didn't care.  For the Left, it is okay to take casualties as long as you win the objective (Republicans play single player, while Democrats play multiplayer).

The GOP, on the other hand, never would have had the stomach to launch D-Day.  As soon as the first infantryman got shot, the GOP leadership would have sounded the retreat.  And this is exactly what I am seeing post-election.  I mean, we have Charles Krauthammer advocating for amnesty, Bill Kristol calling for higher taxes, and ACU president Al Cardenas saying that the GOP is "too old and too white and too male".  In other words, the GOP, after losing an election by the slimmest of margins (3,447, 000 votes), is in full retreat.  Worse than retreat, in fact, as at least a retreating army can reform itself.  Here, we have a party in full route, as demonstrated by Krauthammer & Co. calling for us to turn our colors (i.e., if you can't beat them, join them on amnesty and taxes), while Rove & Co. are doing what they do best: shooting their conservative cohorts in the back of the head as if it is our fault that these guys fell in love with yet another GOP moderate who, they promised us, was a sure thing and much better than that wacky Gingrich and icky Santorum.  And don't even get me started on the profoundly spineless Speaker of the House John Boehner, a man so devoid of backbone that bona fide invertebrates stare at him with awe.   Weep for me, John.

This is the real tragedy of the election: not that we lost - loses will come in any war - but that the GOP has proven to have a glass jaw easily shattered by a single set-back.  Yes, we lost a very important election, one that may prove as profound in its effects as the election of 1860, but there will be other ones.  As long as the party holds together and sticks to the principles that not only have served to undergird it for generations, but also served to make  America a free and prosperous nation, we can come back from this defeat and undo the damage of the next four years.  But if we give into establishment defeatism, well...then all hope is truly lost.   At that point the Grand Old Party will become the Sad Old Party, and fighting conservatives will only have one choice: to leave and start afresh, free of the mushy-minded logic and timidity of the Republican elite.

Choose wisely, GOP.  Your future is in your hands.

So that is my two cents.  I am downcast by the election, and fearful of the future under the leadership of this incompetent Marxist cadre, but there is always hope for a better tomorrow (remember, to despair is to sin!).  This loss was unexpected, and even bizarre, but not unthinkable, nor unsurvivable.  As long as the conservative underground continues to fight the good fight against our political foes - both outside and within the party - we can live to see another dawn.  As George Elliot wisely remarked:

"Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat."


Someone please tell Karl Rove & Co.


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