As we enter the New Year we also enter a profoundly changed administration, perhaps reflecting a profoundly changed population - even more changed than most people can imagine.
Anatomy of Victory
President Bush is the first incumbent president since 1936 to help his party gain seats in both the House and the Senate. President Bush is the first presidential candidate since 1988 to receive more than 50 percent of the total vote, and he also got more popular votes than any previous president (almost 6 million more than Ronald Reagan received in his 1984 landslide victory).
In fact, Bush picked up more votes from women, seniors, African-Americans and Hispanics than he did in 2000. Among married white women, Bush's support went from 49% in 2000 to 55% in 2004. His support from Hispanics went from 35% in 2000 to 44% in 2004. There was an 80% increase in the number of evangelical voters over the 2000 election, and President Bush received 78% of them, a major determinant in this election.
But there is far more lurking beneath the statistics than traditional politics and the struggle for power. The marriage amendments were even more popular than the president. In all but one of the 11 states where marriage amendments appeared on the ballot, the amendments received a greater percentage of the total vote than President Bush, a clear indication that many Kerry voters joined Bush voters in approving the measures.
Although the mainstream media failed to report on the more than 40 major speeches that President Bush delivered on the marriage issue, voters still learned of those speeches and spoke definitively on election day. Even the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (who voted against the National Right to Life Committee's position on bills 75 out of 83 times during his 18-year career) was voted out. Twenty-five percent of his home state (South Dakota) said moral issues topped their concerns. This was the first time in 52 years that a Senate party leader had lost a re-election bid.
This appears to be an election won for the right reasons. George W. Bush and John Kerry weren't on trial: you and I were. America was. Elections aren't about candidates, or conventions, or strategists, or advertising, or even issues. Elections are a mirror of the voters, and 120 million Americans reflected on, and then acted on, their beliefs.
We'd Rather Not
Perhaps one of the biggest revelations was the unveiling of the duplicitous mainline media. More than simple bias, it was a media caught in treasonous prostitution: deliberate and knowledgeable promotion of false information in a blatant attempt to topple a sitting president in time of war.1
With the welcome exception of Fox News, virtually all of the "mainline" media were caught, in varying degrees, with their standards down.
Unabashedly taking pride in their ability to form public opinion rather than inform the electorate - which is the ostensible mandate for the media in a democracy - their ethical bankruptcy was unmasked before a public which chose to vote values rather than specious hype.
A Mandate for Values
Much as the subversive "liberals" (sic)2 might attempt to deny it, this election seems to have yielded a surprising mandate: to block same-sex marriages, to protect the unborn, and to appoint conservative judges committed to interpreting our founding documents rather than to instigate social changes of their own design. The appointment of more appropriate judges would repair the governing structure of this country more than most people can imagine. The long-term impact could strategically benefit our children and grandchildren.
Repair of Social Security
Another of the pressing challenges now facing the administration is the impending bankruptcy of Social Security. The retiring "baby boomers" are leaving a workforce excessively burdened to support the committed benefits of the past. (The current system is what is classically called a Ponzi scheme, based on the "greater fool" theory. Last one out loses.)
(It is interesting to note that if the 46 million Americans who have been murdered since Roe vs. Wade had been allowed to enter the labor force, and build families, there apparently would be no fix required.)
However, there appears to be a truly marvelous opportunity on the horizon: the Private Retirement Accounts (PRAs). The concept is to divert a portion of current payroll deductions into private investment funds (from a government approved list) to provide an alternative to the unfunded liabilities being accrued by the current system. The earnings from these conservative investments would quickly eclipse the non-earnings of present practice and would ultimately provide three strategic changes:
1) the repair of the national retirement system;
2) the conversion of a large portion of wage-earners into investor/owners; and
3) the availability of investment capital dwarfing all the present mutual funds put together.
The challenge will be to bridge the interim without significantly altering the benefits to the current beneficiaries. But if solved, the strategic changes to the fundamental structure of the country could be astonishing. In addition to providing enormous capital for growth,3 the conversion of dependent wage-earners to investors could significantly alter the demographics of the electorate. Devoutly to be wished.
The Closet of Victory
Many attribute the recent election to the victory of the prayer closet even more than that of the ballot box. But the lesson here is that it is just as important to continue to pray for our leadership - whether or not you agree with their views!
If you care at all for your children and grandchildren, it is "for such a time as this" that each of us need to be committed to serious prayer for our country and our communities.
There are serious challenges ahead and we need serious people, committed to serious prayer. It is presented as the climactic element - the heavy artillery - in Paul's list of armor.4
* * *