web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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

American flag

Photo Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Current Top Story
Anti-Semitic Briitsh MP George Galloway poses with a lump on his head after being assaulted.
British Man Beats Up Anti-Semite George ‘Hitler’ Galloway
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

TorahScroll AoT17

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Troodler-082914

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
ZIM Piraeus in happier days. (Image: ShipSpotting.com user b47b56)

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Hellfire-300x194

Obama is transparent, if you read his oracular signs with the right key.

ISIS has no intention of “marching on” Baghdad. The Sunni affiliates of ISIS are going to disrupt life there.

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

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?

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: