Message from England: Chill

English Christian blogger John H. writes a post that all conservatives need to read these days. A taste:

[I]t is distressing and alarming to witness the way in which the United States seems to be losing one of the most important traits of democracy – the ability to undergo peaceful transitions of power in which the losing side recognises the legitimacy of the winner.

If Obama wins the election, then it seems that for substantial number of people he will be an illegitimate usurper: a Muslim fifth-columnist, friend of terrorists, America-hating “Kenyan-Indonesian-Hawaiian, or whatever he is” (as Mark Steyn so charmingly put it). For many more besides, these allegations will at the very least cast a shadow over Obama’s legitimacy.

Similarly, in the currently-unlikely event that McCain wins, it is hard to believe that fervent Democrats would simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh well, better luck next time.” No: it’ll be the Third Stolen Election, in which the democratic (or Democratic) will of the American people has once again been subverted by a combination of racism, anti-Obama insinuations, lies and rigged electronic voting machines.

But at the moment it’s the increasingly hysterical attacks on Obama – “He is a terrorist!”, “Off with his head!”, “Kill him!” – that pose the greatest threat. I agree with the commenter on The Scylding’s blog who said he has “never seen an election filled with so much venom as this one”.*

So as a plea to all concerned, but especially to those who are dismayed by the thought of an Obama presidency: by all means spend the next three weeks arguing against Obama, attacking his record, questioning his claims to represent “change” and “hope,” and all the rest of it. And then spend the next four years arguing you were right about him.

But at the same time, ask yourself whether the manner and tone in which you are doing so could be contributing to a rhetorical climate in which some nutjob with a hunting rifle decides that he is the one to whom it falls to save America by putting Joe Biden in the White House.

As I read conservative blogs or listen to talk radio (a rare occurrence) these days, so many of them appear unhinged at the prospect of Barack Obama in the White House. I can’t believe we are really discussing William Ayers and “closet Aye-rab terrorist” allegations again. Doesn’t anybody remember how well that worked for Hillary Clinton? Was NRO really debating whether Obama was more Maoist or Stalinist the other day? Making fun for him for pronouncing foreign words correctly? At least David Frum was sane?

Thank God for people like Daniel Larison, Ross Douthat, and most of the folks at the new Culture11, who show that one can keep a level head and still be conservative. They are the kind of people who will lead the rebuilding efforts after the election.

* Apparently the commenter is too young to remember 1968.

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One response to “Message from England: Chill

  1. Pingback: Three Debates « Olde Frothingblog

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