"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
-Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Harrow School, October 1941
As those of you who know me are already aware (and those that don’t might easily surmise), the above is one of my favorite historical quotations. I can honestly say repetition of the mantra, internally and vocally, has gotten me through some difficult times. And so it saddens me when I see those whom I believe would have benefited from the gnomic throw in the proverbial towel not to convictions of honor and good sense, but in spite of these virtues. Such is how I read Christopher Buckley’s grudging endorsement of Barack Obama.
To sum up Buckley’s sentiment, he states his once ardent desire to see a man “like John McCain” in the Whitehouse has been weathered by the harsh politics which have surrounded the final days of this (and every) presidential campaign. He feels this has turned the once sapient soldier “inauthentic”. In Obama, Buckley writes, he sees “a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect”, and qualifies his decision to endorse Obama on the tenant that said intellect will choose to abandon the very leftist ideals which define the man and contrast so starkly with Buckley’s own convictions and ideology.
In essence he has embraced the concept of “change for change's sake” that I believe has become an alluring distraction for many. He feels his beliefs, his mind, his own analysis of life, learning and personal experience that have over the course of time forged his worldview have come up lacking in these troubled times, and has so abandoned them for the notion that a “young well tempered intellectual” knows better and will guide him through it. I admit that I too have found the terrible fiscal policy of the last 8 years, subsequent interminable presidential campaign, garnished with a last minute economic upheaval, quite exhausting. I do not, however, close my eyes and wish it all away – it isn’t that easy.
Now is not a time to forsake the ideals which have allowed our people to make this country, and the rest of the world, a better place; to throw the reigns to the other guy because those who profess to represent us in Washington have disenfranchised us. Instead, this must be a time to stand up and reshape our government. The parties which rule us no longer hold our interests at heart, but have become their own beasts, fainéant and self serving. In this election, like the last, I find myself once again not voting for a candidate, but against an ideology I find dangerous and destructive. It is sad, but necessary. Mr. Buckley disagrees, and believes the way to punish those who have failed to represent his views to is to endorse those who don’t. That is folly. That is giving in.
We must face the harsh reality that we cannot find a perfect representation of our ideals in a candidate. Still, we are called to a common cause, conservatives, libertarians, independents, moderates, to make this year a referendum against an oppressive radical left ideology we know to be wrong. Defeatism has no place in America – if you find you cannot stand behind a man this election, stand behind your convictions, and stand against oppression.