web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



J.E. Dyer: America – This time, it’s personal

American flag

Photo Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90

Share Button

The point here is not that it doesn’t matter who the president is; the point is that in sending saviors to Washington, the people have effectively minimized and relinquished their own role in the stewardship of America.  We have come to think of our main obligation as electing a president, who will then do all the important work while Congress roils around being, incorrigibly, Congress: annoying, posturing, legislatively incontinent.

The Founding Fathers didn’t see it that way – and indeed, it hasn’t turned out to be a very good idea.  Now the political turning point in 2012 rests squarely with the people.  There is no “champion” – no savior – running for president in either party.  It’s down to us now.

What is our character?  Can we see through demagoguery and even outright lies?  Do we acknowledge our responsibility for a government that today sees us alternately as lab rats and pack mules, and is currently spending our great-great-grandchildren’s earnings?  Are we willing to take responsibility for ourselves and our families?  Are we willing to help those in need ourselves, rather than handing the government an open-ended charter to remake us all?

What is our view of government?  What is government supposed to do?  What does it mean to elect someone to public office?  What are our responsibilities for self-government?  How well do we understand the competing philosophical justifications for small government and big?  What do we really think of them?

I see two ways for conservatives to view the vote in November.  One involves a pragmatic view of government as something to be handled, as much as possible, through prudent tactics.  This view emphasizes method and calculation over philosophy.  The other involves a view of government that makes the choice of president a form of positive affirmation of what we believe in.  With this view, philosophy is paramount; if philosophical sympathy is absent in the leading candidate(s), no mere method of politics is a way of correcting the deficiency.

Neither perspective stands alone.  In most election years, campaigning entails a combination of these perspectives, and a candidate is chosen who seems to marry them as effectively as possible for electoral politics.  In 2012, however, conservatives simply can’t make of Romney a “what we believe in” choice.  He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

The only strategically significant point of having a placeholder is so that the people themselves can regroup.  Romney cannot be a savior, and in policy terms, he is not the answer to our problems.  In the foreseeable future, we have to do the heavy lifting.

What I would like to suggest is that it has been unrealistic all along for American voters to imagine that we can find, every four years, a political avatar of all our hopes and dreams.  That is an unrealistic view of politics, and a dangerous view of the role government should play in our lives.  It is essentially the role defined by the left for its favorite sons.

It is also unrealistic to suppose that we can delegate to government, or to a particular president, the responsibility of standing up to bad ideas and trends in our society.  We ourselves have to stand up to them, in school board meetings and local zoning hearings, in state legislatures and the House of Representatives.  We have to stand up to them in our family lives and our personal lives, our lives as citizens, employers, employees, volunteers, philanthropists, and believers.

Even on the political right, we have come to assign government and particular politicians too large a role in correcting the problems around us.  Most of us believe in “government” too much now; instead of believing in the smallness of government and the benefits of our own liberty, too many of us have been induced to simply believe in the American government itself, whatever its size.

Our Founders were profoundly – and properly – skeptical of government.  They stated repeatedly that their reliance was ultimately on the good sense and character of the people.  In 2012, it’s all about the people: who we are and the clarity with which we see our predicament and our options.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

2 Responses to “J.E. Dyer: America – This time, it’s personal”

  1. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Oh please, Romney comes across as a very rich man without a clue about the needs of the majority of American, as well as a man who will happily contradict himself in order to win the election. He's been a very decent Governor of Massachusetts who implemented a worthy health program in his state. He now is willing to scrap the same program from the whole nation for a chance at becoming president. Ask yourself the question: what else will he be scrapping according to expediency? Maybe his support of Israel, if it become cumbersome? I'm no fan of Obama, but I have no choice and I'll vote for him. Better a devil you know….

  2. Anonymous says:

    re Muriel: Your "better a devil you know…" is illogical and unethical. It is better to vote for a potential devil than a proven one.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Mahmoud Abbas, acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah. July 28, 2013.

Oslo’s moment of unchallenged American supremacy and the illusion of unforced global stasis, passed.

USA-FRANCE-OBAMA

Could the Obamas be any more “let ‘em eat cake”?

The Obama administration wants to take over the short-term financial services industry.

The topics are “The Reagan Strategy,” and the “Iran Time Bomb.”

Maybe it’s a tad undiplomatic to announce it publicly before telling Israel’s prime minister about it?

Nobody wants a wind turbine in his back yard.

Monday, November 11, Russia’s Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag pulled into Alexandria for the Russian navy’s first port visit in Egypt since 1992.

There may no longer be a unifying “center” to hold the GOP together.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-america-this-time-its-personal/2012/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: