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UPDATE: Fixed typo in 3rd paragraph - reversed to correctly read "center-right to center-left". Wishful thinking, I suppose
I’m an optimist, and I have faith in my fellow man. And despite the occasional exception, I believe that people do the right thing most of the time. Americans are mostly industrious people who love to work and play and help each other – they receive God’s love and share it with their fellow man. We invite our neighbors over on Saturday afternoon to splash in the pool and have a beer and grill a steak. We get up Monday morning, and despite our grousing about it, we love our work and would be bored silly without it. We do our best to raise our kids to be productive, happy, and loving people. We’re pretty homogeneous in terms of the positive, congenial way we live our lives.
At the end of the day, Americans all have similar goals – we generally wish for everyone to have the freedom to lead the lives they desire and to pursue happiness in privacy. And most of us wish to see everyone prosper and earn a good living so we can improve our quality of life. I believe that people generally support the notion of capitalism and wish for taxes to remain low so they can maximize their income in order to support their families and friends. And capitalism is indeed an economic model in which people support themselves. They innovate, they work hard, they earn money, and they take care of themselves and their families. In the archetypal perfect capitalist society, everyone successfully supports themselves so they don’t have to be supported by others at all. And that ideal is the goal of nearly all Americans, or so I thought.
Tuesday evening, I became educated. I was blindsided. I learned something about Americans that I did not know before. I found out that a majority of voting Americans prefer that people be supported more by government than by themselves. I had presumed that this was not the case prior. I presumed that more Americans preferred capitalism over socialism. This led me to the same conclusion that was reached by most other right-of-center pundits – that the D+8 partisan split enjoyed by President Obama in 2008 was an anomaly – that the “real” America was the neutral or R-plus country. And perhaps historically this was true. But I found out on Tuesday that we pundits were wrong. Nate Silver was right. Our country has changed, and more’s the pity. It emerges that America has shifted from center-right to center-left, at least based upon the voting in our election. I suspect that there’s some distortion introduced by electoral politics, but there’s no question in my mind now that a consequentially large segment of the US population believes some form of the notion that government should be a key or even principal provider to the people.
For most of a year and a half I have brought you a daily diet of information that led me and numerous experts to conclude that history would repeat itself again; an incumbent president who angered much of American by breaking many key campaign promises, exacerbating a bad economy, and spending titanic amounts of borrowed money on questionable purposes would be defeated at the ballot box. The economy is in a shambles, true unemployment is at Great Depression levels, and we were all told that we “didn’t build that”. I will stand by my assertion that anyone with two brain cells to rub together would give this president long odds, based on these facts.
But alas, I was wrong, and if you feel like I misled you, I apologize. But I will also defend myself to the extent that I followed well-established historical trends, some inaccurate polling data, and my optimistic heart. I’m digging a little deeper into my heart to find optimism now, but I know there’s still a lot of it down in there somewhere. And I’ll keep pouring out optimism to you every day on Sharpe In The Morning, hopefully helping you find yours.
I congratulate the Democrats on their win – they managed to beat the Ham Sandwich. But I would remind the Obama administration that the momentary support of low-information voters motivated by the greedy desire for government handouts does not prove that redistributionism is the best economic model for our country . . . only the most popular as of November 6th, 2012, among those who felt compelled to vote. I’ll leave it to you to debate why the Republicans failed to excite voters as effectively as the Democrats (and why we all thought the reverse was true up until Tuesday late).
Socialists have slowly transformed our electorate by appealing to two of the most loathsome human emotions – greed and envy. Greed motivates people to vote for a government that will, on their behalf, steal from the ambitious to support the dependent. And envy fuels this desire as well. Democrats know that some people can be strongly motivated by the hate that accompanies envy. These are effective motivators, but they’re evil. And if your party’s political successes are based on evil, all is lost for you, and good will eventually prevail against you. I read this in some big book somewhere – and in that book, the good guys win at the end.
Going forward, we need to become familiar with the word “resist”. We must resist the statist agenda of President Obama, we must resist the temptation to stray from the singular goal of ending the assault on capitalism, and finally, we must resist fatigue. I give you the words of a man who appeared to have consumed more than a few Ham Sandwiches during his lifetime, Sir Winston Churchill . . .
"This is the lesson: 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 honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
I thank you for indulging my absurd exercise in political analysis. I got it wrong, but America can still get it right. I, for one, will keep up the good fight, and I invite you to join me. And I hope you enjoyed sitting with me for this one last Ham Sandwich . . .
Thanks So Much!
(special thanks to Roger Strosky for our graphic!)