Reflections on the Election and America’s Future
Reflections on the Election and America’s Future

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by  Daniel M. Boland, PhD

As I see it, this election of a pro-abortion/gay marriage/tax-and-spend President is (as is life itself) a potential blessing and a livable struggle, neither of which can be changed, both of which can be used for our betterment as individuals and as a nation. For those who retain some depth of religious “feeling” or, better, who possess true religious fervor and belief, this election is only a reinforcement of what we should have already comprehended: that America has drastically devolved and radically changed in the last decade.

The 2012 election results indicate that our country is now a vastly secularized, intently self-gratifying country. We are weighed down by many people dissatisfied with mindfulness, thought and introspection; many people who are gullible and easily impressed with merit-less celebrities; people too easily swayed by cultural trends and fashionable personalities, too easily captured by leaders of shallow character whose easy duplicity should alarm us all to the depth of our souls.

Most Americans live well and safely, and that is a blessing and a good. But, so many of us are also in thrall to the ease of living and to the perpetuation of comfort which surrounds us. We do not experience much that truly costs us anything, at least not too much that we are unable to compensate ourselves in a myriad of soothing ways for our inconveniences.

But, as usually happens to people gifted with the lack of want, many Americans have, I fear, lost touch with the First Principles, the virtues and fundamental moral demands of the Judeo-Christian life from which our Republic first sprang.

Even for the unbelievers amongst us, religion is crucial to our nation and to our collective understanding of the American ideal and the historic American idiom which served as the founding ethos of our nation. Our foundations as a distinct people are clear: the Judeo-Christian tradition is at the very core of our American identity.

From Judeo-Christian thought we learn that our rights are not given us by the State but by God. God truly matters in, and to, America and to the American way of life. The further we move from that principle, the greater the control we allow the State — in this case, the Obama Administration — to determine for us what we are entitled to and how we shall live our lives and worship our God. The idea that we as a Republic (and as individuals possessed of profound human freedoms) would elevate the State to the role of God is a dreadful prospect, but it is one which, as I see it, more than half of the American people are willingly undertaking.

Thus, one of the ascendant problems our country faces is the expansion of our increasingly amoral, anti-religious, often atheistic culture. It is a culture which has become so bereft of thoughtful and informed persons as to constitute a massive population of incurious, uninterested, intellectually parched, morally moribund citizens. Religion — particularly Judeo-Christian religion — is a critical factor in our national strength and identity. The decline or loss of religion in America is a clear indication of our nation’s demise, because sanity demands we acknowledge objective values which exist beyond our own limited cleverness. The health of our nation rests with the absolute necessity of respecting moral standards beyond our own urges.

Authentic faith — even the faith of patriots which once defined and sustained America — has taken a beating from many who claim to be among the secularized New Faithful. The New Faithful use the convenient patois of religious sentiment but are actually blind to the degrees of self-restraint, courage and principled consistency which, in daily practice, authentic faith demands of us. In truth, our culture spins cocoons of avoidance; we indulge ourselves in profuse activities which really serve as distractions by which we avoid the inner life of the Spirit to which all enduring faith should draw us. We substitute “doing” and a variety of outside activities for the slow and painful inner process of fidelity to our constitutional First Principles. We shun thoughtful silence and when we do speak, we abuse words and cheapen the meaning of language, so that eventually the laws we pass — and even the Commandments God has given us — have no legal urgency, no ethical impact or moral edge.

Fad and faith collide, and faith is often diminished in the confrontation.

Most of us do not read good things which enrich our souls, nor do we do our homework about the issues which determine the course of our own history. We regularly avoid the hard work of contemplation and yet we think we actually deserve the bounty and largess with which God has blessed us and our nation. We take it for granted that we (or our profoundly secularized government) are in control of our lives, our fortunes and our futures.

The philosopher Ernst Renan once wrote that “a nation is a soul, a spiritual principle.” It strikes me that my country, my America, and many of its people and its agencies have slowly devolved into a de-spirited culture of avoidance and denial and a race for instant delights, satisfied to exist in that soulless, self-deluded state of life which Renan called the “lawfulness of falsehood.”

Today our nation’s troubles rest in the fact that so many of us are so poorly informed, so vincibly ignorant about the foundations of our very lives and our identity as Americans and the array of options for good which pass daily before us. In addition, countless millions of us did not show up to vote, did not respond with the pragmatic clarity which our sagging economics demands, did not summon up the moral urgency which our utterly secularist leadership should have provoked.

So much information and data which are disseminated by schools and “liberal” church persons and the media and entertainment industries are politically one-sided and morally destructive. Public education has become a center of unionized anti-intellectualism and morally offensive curricula, shunting parental control aside, drawing attention away from the basics of traditional American schooling in the areas of math, language skills, solid reading, writing and self-expression, the hard and social sciences and history. The so-called mainstream media have become organs for unilateral political propaganda. Our culture feeds upon the most demeaning forms of “entertainment,” such as one finds on MTV or the dreadful “Two and a Half Men” which makes utterly reckless sex a jolly undertaking and praises the immorality of modern man as an enviable, laughable lifestyle for us all, including for our youth. But the sad truth is that the “stars” of this sort of tripe are perennially among the highest-paid persons in our nation.

Our culture draws us by the millions to the most brutish level of disenfranchised humanity and makes of us a morally-deficient race of ignorant, inarticulate and boorish watchers. We are become a nation in which many persons are dedicated to extraordinary shallowness; a nation in which many persons plod mindlessly through the day without a care for the future of our Republic or a desire to learn what we must do to protect ourselves from the natural consequences of our own laxity.

If we would but read history, we would see where we are headed and where our predecessors in Western Europe have already drastically arrived. But many people seem content to continue to write our nation’s epitaph even as we surf through our televisions in search of more to distract us from the glorious, yet disintegrating, reality in front of our eyes.

John Adams famously said that the fate of our Republic depends upon an informed populace. Given the agonizingly poor response of so many eligible voters to the recent challenges we still face, some defeatists say that American exceptionalism has died. Yet there are many Americans who appreciate what we still have in this glorious ongoing experiment which is our Republic. Many Americans are now even more willing and more moved to attend to the tasks at hand. But good will does not banish the hovering penumbra of history which repeatedly tells us what to expect if we — as a nation and as individuals — are not attentive to the irreplaceable gifts we possess and to the extraordinary, but all too fragile, values which make us exceptional among nations.

Let us both pray and exert sufficient efforts so that we Americans preserve, protect and defend our original God-given, constitutional values. May we abide despite these bad times which, unwelcome but upon us, cast precarious shadows over our abundant blessings and becloud the precious identity of our America.

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